Microsoft Copies Apple

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It's not every day you see Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) copy Apple (NAS: AAPL) . Last week had one of those days as Microsoft detailed its Windows Store policies.

The company's official Windows Store will be the exclusive distribution outlet for new "Metro" styled apps, similar to Apple's iOS App Store. The reasons behind the decision align with Apple's interest in providing a safe environment with certain quality standards -- cue fart-app comments now -- regarding what content is available on the platform, although Apple's self-appointed curator role has drawn its own criticisms. Similarly, Microsoft plans on taking an Apple-esque 30% cut of Metro app sales, while desktop apps avoid the fee.

Traditional desktop-app dissemination will remain unchanged, while Metro apps will require Microsoft's approval stamp before seeing the light of day. As a longtime user of iOS, I think the overall benefits of security outweigh the costs of Cupertino's sometimes-fickle rules over what does or doesn't fly, which typically only affects a relatively small fraction of apps.

Microsoft would differ from Google's (NAS: GOOG) approach with the Android Market, whose openness provides an inlet for malware as well as extracurricular distribution methods. This is how Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) has swooped in with its own Android Appstore, presumably in preparation for its own Android Tablet that I happen to think will decimate its Android brethren. There was even some talk that Best Buy (NYS: BBY) might set up shop too, although nothing has materialized yet.

Apple's tried-and-tested approach has been largely successful, especially for developers. A recent study conducted by Piper Jaffray's longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster concluded that iOS users buy more apps and are willing to pay more for apps than their Android counterparts are. Although Munster doesn't attribute the difference directly to Apple's policies, it's no stretch of the imagination to venture that consumers are more willing to open up their wallets if they feel that they're in a safe environment.

Microsoft is making the right move by following in Apple's footsteps here. Android has had plenty of criticism over fragmentation, with multiple storefronts only adding fodder to the argument. By providing a single channel for developers to congregate and sell their digital wares for Windows 8, Microsoft is setting them up for success, and any platform's fate rests squarely in the hands of its developers.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Apple and Amazon.com, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy, Microsoft, Google, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, Amazon.com, and Apple and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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