Yes it’s true, Microsoft has an app store (not to be confused with WP7 Marketplace). Well ok, it’s not official yet – or done- but the framework is starting to falling into place. Microsoft just updated their SkyDrive “cloud storage” offering. The update has made it more web friendly by replacing the Silverlight interface with a HTML5 version. The initial “away for the browser” test of SkyDrive will come from the upcoming Mango release for WP7 which will allow users to upload photos, videos and Office docs to SkyDrive. To me this seems like only the first step.
I believe that Microsoft has bigger plans for SkyDrive than a just narrow phone integration because Microsoft needs a response to Apple’s iCloud and Mac App Store offerings and what better way to respond, than to build a full integration into the next version of Windows. This is also exactly what people are digging up in the early access release of the Windows 8 Milestone Build 3 – hooks to a Windows Store. Since this is only Milestone 3 it is clearly unfinished, however I expect a better picture to emerge as we start seeing Release Candidates. And as we near release of Windows 8 I also expect to see a whole host of integration code to allow developers to easily write code that interacts with variety of Microsoft cloud services. This is key point – Microsoft has to engage the development community otherwise the store will become another ‘also ran’ offering. Microsoft may be late to this party too (as they were with WP7), but I can’t imagine them not responding to a changing competitive landscape and thus, it is only logical that would attempt to leverage their desktop dominance to facilitate growth by extending the platform into the cloud.