When we first launched Windows 8, we allowed customers to install an app from the Windows Store onto up to five devices. This was similar to other app stores at the time, but personally I quickly found the limit was a challenge. For example, if I was trying out a range of different devices (as an education IT team might do) I found myself authorising & de-authorising devices to keep within my five device limit. It also could potentially create problems for education customers – for example, if users were roaming across different devices (for example, if students shared a trolley full of laptops in a classroom, and used a different one from the set of 30 some days).
Up until Friday the answer to the question “How many devices can you install a Windows 8 app on?” was five. And that applied whether it was a paid-for app, or a free app.
So I paid attention when I saw the announcement last Friday on the “Windows App Builder Blog” that the limit has now been increased to 81 devices. As they said:
|In response to that feedback, and as we announced at the Build conference in June, we’re increasing the app roaming limit to remove friction from the app installation process. Starting on October 9, Windows Store apps can be installed on up to 81 devices associated with a single Microsoft account. This will apply to all apps in the Store, for both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.|
The 81 devices limit is the default, although app developers can set a different if they clearly state it in the app description on the Windows Store (that seems completely fair to me, as an ex-developer, because if you are making a living selling apps, then it’s important to have control over some of those decisions. I can imagine that there are some apps where the developer may set a much lower limit. I could also imagine scenarios where they may set a higher limit too, especially for free apps focused on education).
For education customers, this is a big step that means you can still allow users to roam across different computers and use apps on different Windows 8 computers, whilst still having users login to their own accounts (rather than the alternative of not having a user login).