We just mentioned this past weekend that the Windows Store Now Contains More than 1000 Apps Post RTM and how it is growing.  Well did you know that was just an invited/authorized group of developers/businesses that had that early access to the store?

Well I mentioned in that story that I thought the store would reach 3,000 apps by the time Windows 8 reaches general availability in late October and my confidence level in that prediction went up a few notches today.

Microsoft announced that they have opened up the Windows Store, which makes its debut in Windows 8, to all developers now.  This comes almost a year to the day when Microsoft announced the Windows Store and its inclusion in Windows 8 at last years Build Conference.

According to a spokesperson at Microsoft this is the last significant milestone for the Windows Store before Windows 8 hits GA on 26 October 2012.

Some of the highlights of today’s news includes:

  • More markets added: The Windows Store added 82 app submission markets, bringing the total number to 120. When Windows 8 is generally available, customers in over 200 countries and regions around the world will be able to shop for apps in over 100 languages through the Windows Store.
  • Windows Store subscription programs: All paid MSDN subscribers will receive a Windows Store subscription at no cost, as will students participating in the DreamSpark program. There is also an offer for businesses participating in the BizSpark program.

The offer of a free subscription for developers who already have MSDN subscriptions is a huge added benefit that would have normally cost $99 per year separately.

Along with the store opening up to all developers a few partners were announced that plan to add their unique services to the Windows Store via apps for Windows 8:

  • Flurry Analytics: "We have observed great adoption of our Windows Phone 7 analytics service by developers, and are excited to expand our offering to the Windows 8 platform. Flurry developers will be able to use analytics to measure user behavior around their apps and continuously improve them."
  • NASA: “In collaboration with Microsoft, Corp., NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has recently released a number of free experiences on PCs, Windows Phone and Xbox geared for inspiration and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA’s Mars Exploration Program is also planning a series of free Mars-related apps for the upcoming Windows 8 PCs.”
  • Viddy: “By working closely with the Windows 8 team, Viddy will help turn everyone using the new platform into filmmakers and give them the power to shoot, beautify and share short form videos from their mobile phones. The application’s sleek and intuitive design has spawned a thriving community and captured the attention of Hollywood, where 15-second Viddys are the new ‘140 characters’ of video for Justin Bieber and Britney Spears alike. From lifecasters to dancers, singers, athletes, models and even behind the scenes with brands at events like New York Fashion Week and MTV’s Video Music Awards, Viddy creates a feed that lets people enjoy all kinds of content at once.”

I think we may be looking at 3,500 to 4,000 apps in the Windows Store by GA because I know many developers have been working on their apps and just waiting for the door to open.  I think this means our friend Denny at McAkins Online will be tracking a significant uptick in additions to the store very soon.