A new update has been added to the Office 365 Roadmap which tells us the delivery date of the new Office 365 Store. The released date for all tenants will be ‘late July’. Organisations having a First Release tenant will be getting the new store in the next couple of weeks.
When released the new Store will only show ‘free apps’, so I’m guessing the current Office / SharePoint Store will exist besided the new store for a while. The new store will probably get the same look and feel as the Outlook.com store which will be released around the same timeframe.
We learned a lot about the new Office 365 Store updates during the Build and Ignite conferences. Jim Epes did a session named “Making Money with Office 365” at Build were we learned about the coming improvements. He did a similar session at Ignite named “Everything You Need to Know about the Office Store”.
Here are some of the things we learned during these presentations:
- The store will get a more prominent location in Office 2016 ribbon and in the Office 365 App launcher
- The new icons will bring users to a special version of the Store, which will also show them all registered applications at the tenant level of Office 365 (via Azure Active Directory).
- You can hide Apps in the App Store (and only navigate to the app using a ‘code’)
- The streamline acquisition flow which allows you to install apps directly into a SharePoint site or Outlook inbox without having to leave the Store Experience.
The update I liked most:
- There will be a new option to present Web Apps in the store which extend Office 365 but live ‘outside of Office 365’. This can be apps which use Azure AD for authentication and use the Office 365 (Unified) APIs.
So what’s the goal of the new Office 365 Store updates?
The Office 365 store will make it easy for Office 365 users to acquire, manage and use third party applications directly from within their Office 365 web experience.
I’m sure these update will bring more Office 365 customers to the Office 365 Store (which currently has around 1500 apps). It might be enough to get App Sales in a lift, but more updates will be required to make it a really hot marketplace.