Windows boss Steven Sinofsky said on the company's newly-launched Building Windows 8 blog that the company has an "App Store" team. Though he neglected to specify the exact duties of the team, the reveal serves as evidence that the software giant has taken notice of Apple's successes with the App Store and the Mac App Store.
Earlier this week, the Redmond, Wash., company said it was finally ready to begin talking at length about Windows 8 on its new blog.
Rumors of a Microsoft Windows application store built into the next version of the OS have existed for some time, gaining credence when a June preview of the software showed a Store tile with the Windows logo.
CEO Steve Ballmer got the company off to a bit of a false start with its next-gen OS in May when he publicly used the name "Windows 8" for the first time, noting that the "next generation of Windows systems" would arrive next year. Microsoft subsequently retracted his statements, calling them a misstatement.
"To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows," a spokesperson said.
Leaks of an early build of Windows 8 have suggested that Microsoft hopes to make the OS scalable across a range of devices and form factors, possibly including smartphones and tablets. A company executive confirmed its tablet strategy last month when he said, "We view tablet as a PC."
Source: Within Windows
It has also been suggested that Microsoft will replace its Windows Phone 7 mobile OS with Windows 8 as part of its mission to bring Windows "everywhere on every device without compromise."
The existence of a Windows 8 App Store team could also explain Microsoft's strong opposition to Apple's "App Store" trademark. The company has been Apple's most vociferous opponent of the mark, calling it too generic to be fairly registered.