As early as March this year, there were speculations that Microsoft might close Microsoft’s business and education stores soon. According to the company’s statement, users will not have access to purchase applications. There have been rumors that this move will start in June 2020, but the pandemic has affected these plans. Today, Microsoft has clearly confirmed that Windows 11 will not support Microsoft’s business and education stores. However, and a new generation of Windows 11 systems is currently in the works. If all goes according to plan, it will arrive later this year.
Starting in the first half of 2022, customers will be able to use Microsoft Intune or its unified terminal management (UEM) solution to find and deploy applications to the devices they manage. For devices they don’t manage, users can deploy the application through the WinGet tool in the Windows Package Manager. This will apply to all existing and new application types entering the redesigned Microsoft Store experience.
In view of the above situation, the Microsoft Commercial Store and Education Store will be closed in the first quarter of 2023. Windows 11 will not support these portals, but administrators can still use UEM solutions to control the connection to their respective portals and use it to deploy applications to manage Windows 11 devices until the store is completely retired in 2023.
Windows Package Manager works for querying and centrally deploying a private and public application to Windows 10 devices. Also, the same features will also appear on Windows 11. The UEM solution can be used to manage the repository. The preview version of these features will be released in the first half of 2022. The goal is for it to be fully available in the second half of 2022.
The overall timeline (in its simple form) for this evolution in the commercial application deployment process is as follows:
- Windows Package Manager v1.0: Generally available
- Intune integration with Windows Package Manager service, your private application library, and the new Microsoft Store: In public preview (to arrive in the first half of 2022)
- Integration of Intune with the Windows Package Manager service, your private application library, and the new Microsoft Store: Generally available (to arrive in the second half of 2022)
Retirement of Microsoft Business and Education Stores on Windows 10: First quarter of 2023
Windows users who make use of the Microsoft Commercial Store and Education Store need to look at this timeline. They can stay with Win10 until the other alternatives are fully active. The Microsoft Intune will not be available until H1 2022