While the Microsoft Store could previously be accessed over the web, the new version has a fresh style and categories that mirror the Windows 11 version, making it easier to browse programmes and download web extensions.
It has the same style as other Windows 11 apps like Paint and Windows Media Player, and having a familiar-looking Microsoft Store on the web makes finding apps much easier when you can’t get to your laptop or PC.
This also emphasises Apple’s long-overdue need to do the same for remotely accessing the App Store via a web browser, which is an area where Apple lags behind Microsoft and Google.
Analysis: Microsoft has made another solid move; now it’s Apple’s turn
On a MacBook, browsing the Microsoft Store using Safari is a simple process: you can search and explore the categories on the left-hand sidebar, and when you select an app, you can check its description, user reviews, and even see some screenshots.
It’s another commendable effort by Microsoft, especially given how the previous version of the Microsoft Store was filled with spam programmes and a search bar that didn’t work.
While the ability to remotely download apps from this web version (as Google does with the Google Play Store) would be nice, it’s a decent start nonetheless, and it also demonstrates how Apple could learn from Microsoft’s App Store.
Take, for example, the TikTok app page on the App Store. While it looks like the App Store when viewed on an iPhone or iPad, there’s no way to access the Store’s homepage or see the charts of what’s been purchased and downloaded for free.
You could go to this Categories page, but it’s been abandoned for so long that the top of the page still says ‘iTunes.’ Given that Apple hasn’t used the moniker “iTunes” since the launch of the Music app in macOS Big Sur in 2019, it’s past time for the page to be updated.
Many people may find the ability to browse the App Store from a web browser interesting, especially if you can queue up a download for your Mac or iPhone.
But, at the very least, Apple should make it possible to browse the App Store from a web browser, providing a similar experience to what customers would get when using an Apple device.