Listing your desktop app in the Store

Last week we announced that we’ve begun accepting desktop apps for listing in the Store, and you'll see these apps in the Store very soon. Currently, we've limited who can submit desktop apps to a small number of partners. As we approach the final version of Windows 8, we'll increase developer access to the Store, so we want to take a few minutes to talk about how we list desktop apps, and what the submission process is like. Carla Di Franco, a Program Manager on the Application and Device Compatibility team, authored this post.

-- Antoine

When we described the design principles for the Windows Store, we explained how easy it is to discover both Metro style and desktop apps. In this blog post, I’ll explain how desktop apps will appear in the Windows Store to customers, how the submission process works for developers, and how submitting a desktop app differs from submitting a Metro style app.

In a nutshell, desktop apps are apps that run on the Windows desktop and don’t follow the Metro style. Now that the Windows Store shows listings for desktop apps, customers can search for them, browse through descriptive information about them, and acquire them from the developer’s website using a link provided in the product description page in the Windows Store.

Jonathan Garrigues already provided a great blog post about submitting Metro style apps to the Windows Store. He explained the basics of the submission process, and the design decisions that went into creating it. I’ll use his information as a starting point and focus on the differences that you’ll see when submitting desktop apps to the Windows Store.

What do desktop apps look like in the Windows Store?

If you’ve seen Metro style app tiles in the Windows Store, you have an idea of how they look and how you can click one to access an app's product description page for more information. Desktop apps listed in the Windows Store are also accessible through tiles, but the tiles look a bit different. For one thing, you’ll notice that the app price isn't listed. We don't include the price because the Windows Store doesn’t handle the acquisition process for desktop apps. (In fact, desktop apps aren’t available for download from the Windows Store—they’re simply listings.) The tile also makes it clear that the app is a desktop app.

Desktop apps show up in search results along with Metro style apps.

When customers click the tile for a desktop app, they see a product description page with information about the desktop app, very similar to the Metro style app description page. The main difference is that in order to acquire the desktop app, the customer clicks a link that takes them outside of the Windows Store—the developer is in charge of the (paid or free) acquisition experience.

An example of a desktop app listing in the Windows Store.

The desktop app submission process

When you submit a desktop app to the Windows Store, you don't upload the app itself. Instead, the first thing you need to do is run the Windows App Certification Kit. Next you send the results generated by the kit to us. After we've approved this results file, you can submit the app listing to the Store. This listing contains:

  • Descriptive information about your app (what we call your app listing data)
  • A URL to a site where customers can acquire the app

In general, here's what you do to get a desktop app listed in the Store:

  1. Sign up for a Hardware/Desktop Dashboard Company Account.
  2. Using this account, submit the results of the Windows App Certification Kit.
  3. After we approve the results, submit the app to the Windows Store.
  4. Sign up as a company for a Windows Store developer account, using the same account as in step 1.
  5. Approved apps that have passed the Windows App Certification Kit will show up in the desktop dashboard and are ready to submit to the Windows Store.
  6. Create listing information for the Windows Store, and submit it for Windows Store Certification.
  7. Once the app has passed Windows Store Certification, it will be listed in the Windows Store.

Let's go into a couple of these steps in more detail.

Sign up for a company account

When you register for a developer account with the Windows Store, you can choose to create either an individual account or a company account. While Metro style app developers can select either option, desktop app developers must create a company account to be eligible to list desktop apps in the Windows Store.

Submit the results of the Windows App Certification Kit

When submitting a desktop app, you must first submit the results of the Windows App Certification Kit. After we've confirmed these results, your app will show up on the dashboard page. From there, you can submit the app listing to the Windows Store.

A view of the Windows Store developer dashboard showing desktop apps

We use some of the data that was included with these results in the Windows Store portal dashboard page. However, because you don't upload desktop apps to the Windows Store, you need to supply us with additional information about them. (For developers of Metro style apps, we get this information directly from the package manifest.) The Windows Store dashboard helps explain what information we need, but I’ll go over some of this information here, and explain some of the more complex areas.

App price

One of the most important things about an app is the price. As I mentioned before, the Windows Store won’t handle the commerce for desktop apps. Still, we do require that desktop app developers select a price (free or paid) during submission. This way, we can ensure that the app shows up correctly when users sort and filter via price in the Windows Store UI.

Setting the right price can be tricky if you already sell your app at different prices in different markets. The Windows Store automatically performs a direct currency conversion for Metro style and desktop apps, but this doesn’t account for different actual prices for the app. In situations like this, we recommend that you choose the price tier that most accurately reflects the median price for your app, across all markets where that app is sold. This ensures it shows up as a paid app in the Windows Store, and that it shows up in search results with other apps that are in the same or similar price tiers.

Markets and languages

Windows is a global product with a tremendous market opportunity for developers. In the Store, we give you the choice to offer to list your desktop app in a number of different markets and languages. (In the Windows Store, markets refer to the geographic areas in the world where you can sell an app to a Windows 8 user, and languages are those used to describe the app to customers.) There are separate check boxes provided to select markets and languages during the submission process. The boxes you select here affect who can see your app listing in the Windows Store. A good rule to follow is that for any market you select, the customers in that market can see the app listing. As a result, you need to choose markets carefully and with an eye to how you are selling your app on your company website for that specific local market.

At any time after you publish an app in the Windows Store, you can choose to add or remove a market for your app listing, or to delist it entirely. To remove your app listing from the Store, simply de-select all the markets for it. After this is complete and submitted, you will still be able to see your app listing in the Windows Store dashboard, but it won't be visible to customers. To list the app again, reselect the appropriate markets and resubmit. After certification, your app listing will show up again in the Windows Store.

You can also choose the languages your app supports, separate from the market availability. For each language you pick, you’ll need to fill out a language-specific description page for your app listing. On this language-specific description page, you’ll also provide the links to the acquisition page, so customers can directly acquire your app. For example, if you chose English and German from the language list, you have to complete two description pages, one for each language. With description pages in different languages, not only is there is a higher likelihood that customers will be able to read about an app in their own language, but they can also get the app from a site designed for their language or market.

A listing of many of the languages you can select when submitting a desktop app.

After you select the languages for your app listing, you must complete these description pages before you can complete the submission process. We recommend that you fill out at least one language-specific description page for each market that you choose. Another way to do this is to fill out a language-specific description page for each language that the app is localized into, so users can acquire the right language version of that app.

App purchase page

As part of the submission process, you must supply a purchase page URL for your app. This URL is a link that sends the user directly to the page where a customer can acquire your app with the fewest clicks possible. This is a great feature for customers; if you provide them with a clean and easy way to acquire your app, you’re already making a great impression by giving them a simple and clear acquisition experience.

When you submit a desktop app, you must supply a purchase URL for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. This URL can be the same for both.

During the app submission process, we request that you supply a URL for users who need the x86 version of an app and one for those who need the x64 version. For Release Preview, both URL fields are required, and should correspond to the version of Windows that a user is running. If the acquisition page is the same for both, we recommend that you use the same URL in both fields. The Windows Store detects whether a user is running the x86 or x64 version of Windows, and users can only see apps that correspond to this version.

App description

We understand that, in most cases, you might already have an acquisition experience available for your apps outside the Windows Store, which includes specific product and marketing information. It improves the user experience if this content is balanced and consistent between your acquisition page and your app listing page in the Store. Obviously, we recommend that you design your app listing to entice users to get your app, and there are many ways to do this in the Windows Store, while maintaining the details on your acquisition page. We also have a lot of great guidelines provided in the Metro style app developer center for describing apps in the Windows Store. We encourage you to use these resources as you get ready to list your app.

We’re excited to provide this promotional tool to desktop developers. We look forward to your feedback and great results as you submit desktop apps for listing in the Windows Store.


Comments (21)

  1. Great Win8 Ecosystem!

  2. Don says:

    Why is Microsoft so keen on destroying independent desktop development?  Why do I need to create a corporate account to submit a desktop app?

  3. dlvg says:

    This sounds all great, except the required Hardware/Desktop Dashboard Company Account. It seems to makes things a lot more expensive and complicated. Also the requirement of a company account instead of individual creates a lot of problems. I'm currently signed up in WP7 app hub as an individual. I think this account will be migrated over to Windows 8 in the future, and it seems to be impossible to change the account type to "Company". So I'm already out of luck because of the signup I've made 2 years ago.

    I'm selling my desktop application for 10+ years, but it looks like I'm not able to list it in the Windows Store. I have a Comodo code signing certificate, which is not accepted by the Hardware/Desktop Dashboard Company Account signup (expensive VeriSign is required). I really wish you would make this easier for small developer / companies. Now you probably will see only the big players (Adobe, etc.)

  4. Matt says:

    I hope the Windows store doesn't get cluttered up with these programs. When I go to the Windows store to get new Windows 8 apps it better be easy to filter out all of this garbage. If the store is overrun with crappy old/expensive Windows legacy programs it will become difficult to find good new apps.

  5. xpclient says:

    Just let us know when we can submit open source desktop apps if we're not a Microsoft partner but an ISV.

  6. Chris says:

    Please allow code signing certificates other than Verisign – you've discounted the first year, however it is still $500 per year!  Which is just crazy for a code signing certificate.

  7. Maitreya Vyas says:

    Why to go developer site why cannot we download from store

  8. Gfx says:

    I'm with Don and dlvg, a Company Account and VeriSign only code signing certificates aren't the right way. If Windows is where it is now it's because off all the (free) software available for it. Cutting off indipendent desktop developers from the store isn't a great idea, I hope Microsoft's heads do not believe that the day Win 8 will be available for everyone, the desktop and millions of software made for it will magically became un-cool and slowly vanish from everyone's mind. What you need is a separate section of the store or a different store, a desktop store, for all the people that will be using Windows where it belongs, on a PC.

  9. martindta says:

    Balancing the secure and verified software vendors, from the malicious or shareware developers is important.  I would err on the side of caution, but perhaps a choice of code signing companies which make it easier for independent developers to get their app recognised, would be preferable to a free for all, or a store full of expensive "famous" programs and developers.

  10. Peter says:

    Company Account and VeriSign ???

    Why submit desktop app can't use individual account ???

    I think many small developers can't submit their desktop app to store.

  11. xsoliman says:

    WIll desktop apps need to be signed?

    Does this definietely confirm there will be no 3rd party Windows RT (ARM) desktop apps ?

  12. xsoliman says:

    WIll desktop apps need to be signed? – Yes, the sign up for the Hardware/Desktop Dashboard Company Account needs an existing code signing certificate

  13. Pseudocode says:

    I am a certified Windows Phone Developer.

    Must i prove mi ID again?

  14. ARMDeveloper says:

    Could you please explain how the marketplace is going to expose desktop apps to WOA devices ie ARM tablets running Windows 8 ? Are they just going to be filtered out and never be shown on those devices or will there be some indication on the desktop app's profile page that it cannot be installed ?


  15. haydnguy says:

    I am excited about the prospect of selling apps indirectly throught the Windows Store. As others do, however, I'm shocked at a $500.00/year price tag for the Verisign certificate. My feeling is that when that price was established, they weren't thinking about a small ISV. Just an idea, but maybe you could work out a deal with Verisign and include one with a MSDN subscription.

  16. xpclient says:

    What about open source desktop apps?

  17. John says:

    A certificate monopol for VeriSign isn't a good idea. Guess it is up for the EU to stop this.

  18. Bahadir Arslan says:

    I wonder something, is there any problem with store? Download and rating statistics don't update anymore. It is very strage because, regarding to statistics, no one download anything from store because, not only my app's statistics same, subcategory's statistics same and 0, too.

    And one more thing, i see 3 different rating count. Dashboard, Store web link, Store web link with added /m/row to end.

  19. Bernardo says:

    It sounds like the Marketplace with the rent space is for serious apps… which takes you to another website to purchase and install?

    So to me this means any site can be used to distribute your app.. just pay 500.00 if you want it on MS Marketplace!!

    If Im not correct , I dont understand this Verisign thing.. nor do I understand how to we instal our own apps?

  20. Ben P says:

    So let me get this straight – XNA will be desktop only. Therefore company account only. And to get a company account, you need to a verisign ID to the tune of about $500… so basically indie devs are getting shafted – "pay the cash or relearn all your skills"… FAIL.

  21. Michael Hansen says:

    allso No metro directx apps

    all directx apps run in desktop,, but microsoft is pevending you from develop a game

    all xbox live games are desktop apps,, even if they start from with in a metro interface

    or are microsoft running a defferent sdk than the public ,, how are we gonna sell our games if you prevent us from developing them

    can i see a directx metro sample 3d game,, please

Skip to main content