Microsoft just removed the ability for Windows 10 Pro admins to remove access to the Windows Store using the Group Policy Editor. This change only applies to Windows 10 Pro, as admins on Windows 10 Enterprise and Education still have this option.
This decision may not be well-received by admins, as blocking access to the Windows Store is a security policy of many businesses. There are some rumors that this will even force some companies to upgrade to a different version of Windows 10 — perhaps Windows 10 Enterprise — which still gives admins more freedom in managing the system.
In a statement to ZDNet, Microsoft said:
“Microsoft is focused on helping enterprises manage their environment while giving people choice in the apps and devices they use to be productive across work and life. Windows 10 Enterprise is our offering that provides IT pros with the most granular control over company devices. Windows 10 Pro offers a subset of those capabilities and is recommended for small and mid-size businesses looking for some management controls, but not the full suite necessary for IT pros at larger enterprises. The ability to block access to the Windows Store is typically for organizations who want more control over corporate-owned devices. This fits into the value of Windows 10 Enterprise.”
Admins see this decision as a mistake bhy Microsoft, but the company works in its own interest; namely, exposing the Windows Store and UWP platform to as many users as possible.
Microsoft forces users to use the Windows Store?
A lot of people interpreted this Microsoft’s move as the way of forcing more people to download apps from the Windows Store. This makes perfect sense if we keep in mind Microsoft’s late efforts to promote the Windows Store and its content.
Microsoft promised that more apps will arrive in the Store soon since the Store lacks some popular apps. Next, the company promised integration with the Xbox Store with the aim of bringing more games and users to the Store. And finally, Project Centennial, a tool which allows developers to transform their traditional Win32 apps to UWP, was premiered recently.
All these announcements, features, and tools imply to Microsoft’s desire to make the Windows Store a competitive distribution platform. However, as Microsoft didn’t confirm any of these claims, we cannot say for sure that all these efforts aim to boost the popularity of the Store, but all facts simply point out to that scenario.
What do you think? Is the decision to remove the ability to disable Windows Store access Microsoft’s way of forcing users to use the Store, or is it just another conspiracy theory? Tell us your opinion in the comments.
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