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Microsoft Updates Windows Store With New Cohesive Vision

On Tuesday Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc updated the Windows Experience Blog with news that Microsoft has updated the Windows Store to make it easier for customers to find the apps they want. The news follows the release of Windows 8.1 Update (1), which allows the user to pin Microsoft Store and Start screen apps to the taskbar.

“Today, we are rolling out a new update which focuses on enhancements to the Windows Store that addresses customer feedback and makes it a lot easier to find the apps you want for your Windows PC or Tablet,” he writes.

For starters, Microsoft has added a persistent navigation bar. Previously users were required to swipe in from the right or right-click for the navigation bar to appear. However consumer feedback indicated that customers want to quickly browse through the chart toppers, the categories they’re interested in, and browse through collection. Thus the navigation bar features app groups including Top Charts, Categories and Collections.

LeBlanc says that the Collections groupings will also be on the main landing page when customers launch Windows Store.

“We have an entire team of experts who curate Collections to help you discover new apps,” he writes. “For example, we have a Getting Started Collection that pulls together some of the most downloaded and highest rated apps that new devices owners are likely to enjoy. We also have theme-based Collections – think music, travel, sports, and so on.”

Customers looking for bargains will never miss a sale again, as the original pricetag will have a strike-through and a discounted price written in red. The landing and Category pages will also now include groups of apps representing some of the top, new, trending, and “rising stars”.

Finally, publishers will now be able to link their free Windows and Windows Phone apps. Publishers can also link their paid apps so that when a customer purchases an app, it’s accessible across all Windows devices. That means customers won’t need to buy multiple versions of the same app for different devices. Apps taking this multi-device route will be branded with a screen/smartphone screen icon.

“Microsoft Studios, for example, is now publishing Halo: Spartan Assault in this way, meaning no matter whether you buy from the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store first, you can get the app for your other compatible Windows devices without having to pay again,” Leblanc writes.

Customers who installed Windows 8.1 Update will see the Windows Store upgrades soon in Windows Update. However the majority of customers will receive the update automatically, he writes.