A Microsoft account was mandatory up until now if you wanted to install apps or games from the build in Store app on Windows 8 or 10.
The only other option to get apps on the device was to sideload them.
All Windows users without a Microsoft account, and those who did not want to use the account to install apps, could not do so.M
The account is not only used to link downloads and purchases, but also for synchronization and other things.
It appears that Microsoft has had a change of heart in regards to the requirement. If you have opened the Store recently on a device with Windows 10 Pro installed on it, you may have noticed that you can install the majority of apps and games just fine without an account.
The screenshot above highlights this. As you can see on it, no user is logged in the Store app as indicated by the people icon next to search in the top row.
A click on the "get" button on the page starts the download and installation of the selected application or game. This was restricted to Microsoft accounts previously but is no longer on Windows 10 Pro devices.
Note: I had no chance to test this on Enterprise or Education versions of Windows 10. I'd guess that this is the case for those editions of Windows as well.
There are two major restrictions in regards to the new behavior:
The downside to this is that you need to download all apps again when you install Windows 10 anew. Some applications may also require a Microsoft account or another account to work properly or at all.
Good news is that you don't need a Microsoft account anymore to install free apps or games on Windows 10 Pro devices. This is especially useful for privacy conscious users who prefer to reveal as little as possible to companies.
This is also useful if a computer is used by a community and not by individuals. (via Windows Area)
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