Microsoft Store is the primary means of distributing Windows Store apps to users. Although sideloading apps from outside the store is supported, out-of-box sideloading support on Windows 8 is only available on the Enterprise edition of Windows 8 running on computers that have joined a Windows domain. Sideloading on Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro, and on Windows 8 Enterprise computers without a domain affiliation, requires the purchase of additional licenses through volume licensing.
Windows 10 removes this requirement, allowing users to freely enable or disable sideloading. Initially, Microsoft took a 30% cut of app sales until it reached US$25,000 in revenue, after which the cut dropped to 20%. On January 1, 2015, the reduction in the cut at $25,000 was removed, and Microsoft takes a 30% cut of all app purchases, regardless of overall sales.
Third-party transactions are also allowed, of which Microsoft does not take a cut. In early 2019, Microsoft lets app developers get 95% of app revenues, while Microsoft will only take 5% but only if the user will download the app through a direct URL. Individual developers are able to register for US$19 and companies for US$99.
In 2015 over 669,000 apps were available on the store, including apps for Windows NT, Windows Phone, and UWP apps, which work on both platforms. Categories containing the largest number of apps are "Games", "Entertainment", "Books and Reference", and "Education". The majority of the app developers have one app. Both free and paid apps can be distributed through Microsoft Store, with paid apps ranging in cost from US$0.99 to $999.99. Developers from 120 countries can submit apps to Microsoft Store. Apps may support any of 109 languages, as long as they support one of 12 app certification languages.
On October 2, 2017, Microsoft announced that the sale of digital music on Microsoft Store would cease on December 31 after the discontinuation of Groove Music Pass. Users were able to transfer their music to Spotify until January 31, 2018. On April 2, 2019, Microsoft announced that the sale of e-books on Microsoft Store had ceased. Due to DRM licenses that would not be renewed, all books became inaccessible by July 2019, and Microsoft automatically refunded all users that had purchased books via the service.