Microsoft retires two Stores in May 2023 that barely anyone used
Microsoft plans to remove the Microsoft Store for Business and the Microsoft Store for Education in May 2023. The company announced the decision in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center this week.
Announced in 2015 as a way for organizations to use a special version of Microsoft Store in business and education environments, it was designed for IT administrators as a "flexible way to find, acquire, manage, and distribute free and paid apps" to Windows 10 and 11 devices in volume.
Microsoft stopped development of the Stores in 2020 already, and rumors suggested that Microsoft would retire the Stores in the future. Microsoft announced in April 2021 that it would remove the ability to purchase apps in the Stores, but did not announce the end of the Stores at that time.
Then, in July 2021 came the announcement that Microsoft would retire both Microsoft Stores in the first quarter of 2023. Microsoft postponed the retirement of the Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Store for Education then, so that the few organizations that used it could continue doing so for the time being.
Now comes the announcement that the Stores will be retired in May 2023.
Organizations may use other Microsoft products to push Microsoft Store applications to managed devices. Microsoft has been working on Endpoint Manager integration with the Microsoft Store on Windows.
The company published an overview of how the integration works on its Tech Community website in July 2022. Another support article describes how IT administrators may add Microsoft Store apps to Microsoft Intune.
Intune provides the following improvements according to Microsoft:
- Browse and search Store apps within Intune.
- Install and uninstall apps with required app deployments.
- Monitor the installation progress and results for Store apps.
- Win32 Store apps are supported.
- System context and user context are supported for UWP apps.
The removal of both Microsoft Stores affects a small number of organizations only. Microsoft did not release usage information about its Stores, but it is clear that the Stores were not used as widely as Microsoft had hoped.
Organizations do retain abilities to install Microsoft Store applications to user devices using management solutions though.