Update to Endpoint Manager integration with the Microsoft Store on Windows

Published Jul 28 2022 01:01 PM 18.3K Views
Microsoft

Today, I bring you an update on Microsoft Store app integration with Microsoft Endpoint Manager, how it will work, the initial features available, and how it will evolve over time.

It has been almost a year since Microsoft announced the eventual retirement of the Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Store for Education. We have been hard at work optimizing the Store experience in Endpoint Manager, and we are excited to share with you an update on this effort:

We have also created a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ), which will be updated in the coming months.

 

What do things look like today?

The current integration between Microsoft Endpoint Manager and the Microsoft Store for Business is one in which you browse the Microsoft Store for applications, choose the ones you want to deploy through Endpoint Manager, and select those to be added to your Store for Business apps and software catalog. Through a connection with Endpoint Manager, those applications are synchronized with your app list in the Endpoint Manager admin console and available for you to deploy to your employees.

As with all apps in Endpoint Manager, you can add scope tags to implement role-based access control for app objects and deploy the applications, or assign them, to any number of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) groups. Once assigned, an employee will be able to get those apps installed on their device through a required app deployment or by locating the application in the Company Portal app, and installing the application for themselves. With the retirement of Microsoft Store for Business, we bring you these same capabilities to deploy Store apps to Windows devices, but with a more convenient, capable, and ultimately better experience for you as the admin.

 

How are things changing?

First, we are investing heavily in the Microsoft Store on Windows, enhancing the ability to bring rich, relevant, and capable apps to your employees using Endpoint Manager.

We are expanding app content available in the Microsoft Store on Windows. Not only will the Microsoft Store continue to offer modern Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and MSIX content, it also was recently expanded to include support for Win32-based applications. This means, .msi, setup.exe, and other Win32 package and installer types are supported. This ultimately will expand the available Microsoft and non-Microsoft software content in the Microsoft Store on Windows.

Secondly, a rich API layer based on Microsoft’s Windows Package Manager will front the catalog of apps and the ability to access those apps. Management tools, like Endpoint Manager, provide deeply integrated app search, discovery, acquisition, and deployment capabilities that were not available with Microsoft Store for Business. With Windows Package Manager, we can now provide richer app experiences directly within the Endpoint Manager console including app deployment and app update controls. This will bring a new set of enterprise-level capabilities that we believe organizations will love.

And finally, all the enterprise capabilities of Endpoint Manager continue to be fully integrated with the Store content. Assign scope tags to the applications you choose for role-based access controls. Assign these apps to any number of Azure AD based user and device groups. Choose your method of assignment, whether that be required, available, or uninstall. You will also be able to control access to Store content overall as you have in the past.

In addition, new scenarios will be enabled over time. Here is what we’re working on:

  • Providing access to an expanded catalog of applications above and beyond what is available in the curated Microsoft Store on Windows.
  • Supporting any number of Windows Package Manager repositories hosted internally (privately) for an organization. This kind of “bring your own repository” is something that is actively in design and that we are excited to bring to organizations in the future.

This simple diagram outlines our plans:

Basic diagram outlining how Windows Package Manager supports Microsoft Store and private repository appsBasic diagram outlining how Windows Package Manager supports Microsoft Store and private repository apps

 

When are these changes coming?

To ensure we deliver you a great experience, quality is our first priority. The new capabilities outlined in this post will be available in the coming months, so stay tuned for additional updates. Our first release will include the Microsoft Store repository, which will give you full access to search for and deploy all the apps that are available to you through the Microsoft Store on Windows. This release is scheduled for the second half of this calendar year (subject to change).

In early 2023, we look to continue to expand on the available feature set with organizational repositories by providing the ability to host and connect to a private repository of apps. We are also looking at a rich app updating capability that will give you a number of enterprise controls for keeping those apps up to date in your organization. Stay tuned for more information later this year.

In closing

The new Microsoft Store app integration with Endpoint Manager will be a welcome improvement from the previous Microsoft Store for Business. It will offer more available apps, richer and expanded content, and additional enterprise app management capabilities over time. We think you will be very pleased with the evolution of the Microsoft Store and its continued deep integration with Microsoft Endpoint Manager—and look forward to continuing to improve this experience based on your feedback.

 

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