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article imageiTunes is coming to Microsoft's Windows Store in surprise reveal

By James Walker     May 11, 2017 in Technology
Apple and Microsoft have announced that iTunes is coming to the Windows Store in a surprise reveal today. The addition will give the Store a much-needed boost, increasing its visibility. iTunes is one of the world's most popular Windows desktop apps.
Microsoft has been proactively working to improve the quality and volume of apps available in the Windows Store over the past few months. The company's Desktop Bridge technology has led to many more developers releasing their existing apps for the store, enabling current "classic" Windows apps to be ported to the sandbox of the Universal Windows Platform.
During the Day 1 keynote of its BUILD developers conference in Seattle yesterday, Microsoft said that there are now over 1,000 converted desktop apps in the store. Today, it revealed Apple is working on bringing iTunes to the store, officially converting its desktop app and giving it a store listing.
The surprise announcement was entirely unexpected. Apple is known for its reluctance to launch its products on third-party platforms. Aside from the Windows version of iTunes and the Apple Music Android app, the company's presence outside of its own ecosystem is virtually non-existent.
Apple placing its trust in the developing walled garden of the Windows Store is a significant win for Microsoft. With scepticism from users still high, the debut of big-name apps will help convince users to abandon their installers and head to the store instead.
READ MORE: Microsoft's new UI offers an array of interesting options for Windows 10
Apple's motivations in bringing iTunes to the store haven't been confirmed but the decision is likely to be related to the recent launch of Windows 10 S. This education-focused edition of Windows only runs Store apps. It's possible Apple is converting iTunes so it can continue to attract student users who may now be forced to source their downloads from the Windows Store.
iTunes won't be able to singlehandedly change the fortunes of the Windows Store but it could go some way to encouraging users to give it a try. Its one-click installation procedure and sandboxed apps offer a simpler way to install apps while lowering the risk of infection. The Store is still let down by its poor design and downloading issues though, problems which frequently turn people away from the Store.
Microsoft is already working on the latter issue and improvements have been delivered in the recent Windows 10 Creators Update. Apps now differentially update so only the parts that have changed are downloaded. The Store's progress bars now actually work too, an advantage for an app built solely to encourage downloads.
The former weakness will be addressed by Microsoft's new Fluent Design Language, one of the headline features of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Update set to be launched later this year. Microsoft is working on an all-encompassing upgrade of the Windows 10 look and feel that should finally give the Store app a lick of paint. It's going to take a lot of work before true desktop apps are the reserve of power users but frontend improvements and the support of Apple will put Microsoft in a much better place to execute its future plans.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Apple, Itunes
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