Microsoft has discreetly confirmed that Windows 8 will include an app store, in a waffling post about how it really does have a grip on its vast and fragmented development divisions.
It's the first official word that Microsoft will offer its own digital store, but of course, there was a brazen clue in an early Windows 8 screenshot, pictured above. Look, it's that huge shopping bag with a Microsoft logo on it, labeled 'store'.
It's hard to feign surprise, because we all knew Microsoft needed to launch something to compete with Apple's game-changing App Store. Common sense aside, Microsoft will be praying on a similar success to Apple's store, which brought it 1.5 billion downloads in the first year. No wonder all the tech giants want their own. It's just like Pokemon in 1998.
The only question now is what Microsoft will call it. We'd appreciate some originality, but earlier this year it specifically opposed Apple's wish to make the 'App Store' name a trademark, though if we had to predict a different name, we'd say Windows Store.
Windows 8 eschews the Microsoft convention of running apps in windows, once an idea so good it hung its name-hat on it. These days we're in the touch era, and Microsoft wants to save the hassle of developing multiple OSes to please both desktop and tablet users. That means big panes of colourful multi-platform joy, better known as boxes of useful information. It's a similar style to the one seen in Windows Phone, which in honesty makes the rows of unorganised iOS icons look so 2008.
You'll be able to sync desktop wallpapers, application settings and more to the cloud, according to WinRumors. Presumably that means developers can tap into some thunderous cloud power to store data for mobile apps. Every megabyte helps when you're trying to keep mobile storage and prices down.
Along a similar line is the 'Online ID' you'll use to log in to your Windows 8 computers. Yes, computers. The idea is, you'll roam across multiple machines like a gadget sailor with a device in every port, with your profile and settings following you across the tech seas.
The post by Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows Division at Microsoft, explains how he's running about 35 feature teams within the Windows 8 organisation. Each of these have between 25-40 developers, and that's before the testers and program management. But if he keeps a grip on it, Windows 8 could be a real treat.