Just this past week big news came out of Microsoft’s annual company meeting that a unified app store was demoed for the employee’s in attendance.
Apparently this will give users in the Microsoft ecosystem a single point of access to both Windows and Windows Phone apps along with a possibility that Xbox One apps might also be combined someday.
I think it is a great and very logical idea to combine the app stores and the development flow. That way Windows devs can create an app and easily make it available to someone on Windows or on Windows Phone. That kind of common development process and tools makes a lot of sense and will help grow the number of Windows Store apps for both platforms.
You know what else makes sense to me? Making Modern Apps available to Windows 7 users.
Now when you stop laughing, I know you are, just give the idea a moment to sink in.
Remember when Windows 7 came out we had Windows XP Mode?
Microsoft pointed it towards business users who were staying on XP because they had programs that could only run on an Windows XP system. As we all know a lot of folks stayed on Windows XP for that reason amongst many others plus us everyday end users could benefit from Windows XP mode as well.
Here is their description:
It’s the best of both worlds: The new Windows XP Mode lets you run older Windows XP business software right on your Windows 7 desktop.
Designed primarily with small- and medium-sized businesses in mind, Windows XP Mode comes as a separate download and works only with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. Windows XP Mode also requires virtualization software such as Windows Virtual PC. Both are available free on the Microsoft website.
So what I am suggesting is a similar idea but in reverse.
Windows Modern App Mode, or call it whatever you want, should be created that would give Windows 7 users access to the Windows Store Modern Apps with the ability to purchase them using their Microsoft Account just like any user of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 can.
Now I am not a nuts and bolts guy when it comes to the underpinnings that would make this work but if they were able to do this in a virtual mode for Windows XP on a modern OS like Windows 7 then it must be feasible right?
Of course there will be some that dismiss this idea because there are not many Windows 7 based touch devices but modern apps do work with a mouse and keyboard just fine whether you accept that premise or not.
If Microsoft is willing to allow Windows Store apps to be installed on 81 different devices under the same Microsoft Account then this feature would easily fit under that roaming limit.
Don’t forget what Microsoft said about this app roaming increase and how it can be beneficial to developers:
The change we’re introducing will reduce the friction that most active customers have in being able to access their favorite apps from any device, and will give developers additional opportunities to monetize the incredible reach the Windows platform provides.
Well then lets see a Windows Modern App mode for Windows 7.