Microsoft's store for Metro-style applications will play a big role in Windows 8, so it's no surprise that the company is planning a first-party ad platform for app developers. At a session on the Windows 8 app store at Microsoft's Build conference, Partner Director Ted Dworkin teased the company's plans.
"Microsoft will have a first-party offering that is significant," Dworkin said, explaining to developers that the choice to advertise with Microsoft would be theirs.
"We will strongly encourage you to use that first-party offering," he said. "It will be industry-competitive, industry-leading in certain dimensions. But you don't have to use it. You get to make that choice."
Dworkin offered no other details. Microsoft is already in the advertising business on other platforms, including Windows Phones and the Xbox 360, but I believe this is the first confirmation of an ad platform for Windows 8.
Dworkin outlined several other noteworthy Windows 8 app store features during the session:
- Windows 8 apps will be search engine optimized. Clicking a link to an app in the Web browser will take Windows 8 users directly into the app store, and will send other users to a Web page.
- Websites that offer native Windows 8 apps can show an icon in the browser's navigation bar, linking directly to the store. If the user already has the app, the icon will link directly to that app instead.
- Purchases will be tied to the user, not to the device. Microsoft will put restrictions on the number of machines that can install an app, but Dworkin wouldn't say what those limits will be. The limitations are meant to prevent mass installations at, say, a college dorm.
- Featured apps in the Windows 8 store will be based solely on quality and popularity. Microsoft will not accept money in exchange for preferential placement on the app store home screen.