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“Old School” Office Add-ins: Windows Store versus Office Store

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I just completed ProModel’s end of year technology review with the product owners and Keith Vadas, the CEO of ProModel.  There was some reflection on the year past, but the primary focus was on the roadmap for next year for ProModel’s portfolio of decision support tools.

  Web Based Office Add-In Custom COTS
Portfolio Simulator X
Enterprise Portfolio Simulator X X
Process Simulator Visio X
ProModel X
Enterprise ProModel X X
Clinical Trial Simulator X
Project Simulator MS Project X
Army Synchronization Toolset X X
Lead Materiel Integrator – Decision Support Tool X X
Custom DOD Application3 X X

Notice that 2 of the products are Microsoft Office Add-ins.  During the end of year meeting, I found myself struggling to communicate the impact the release of Windows 8 RT and Pro have on the 2 add-ins, specifically the introduction of “App” stores.   Unlike Apple and Google’s model of a single App Store, Microsoft has many stores.  For Office Add-ins, the 2 primary stores of interest are the Windows Store and the Office Store.

App stores will have an impact on old school Office Add-ins.  Just how much remains to be seen.  Check this article out, “Microsoft Office 2013: Goodbye to adds-in, bring on the apps”.  Another good article here: “Add Apps To Office 2013 on Windows 8/RT

My first question centered on the discovery process and revenue differences.

Store

Min.

Price

Max. Price

Royalty

Categories

Windows

$1.49

$999.00

30%**

Spotlight, Games, Social, Entertainment, Photo, Music and Video, Sports, Books and References, News & Weather, Health and Fitness, Food & Dining, Lifestyle, Shopping, Travel, Finance, Productivity, Tools, Security, Business, Education, Government

Office

?*

$999.00

20%

Featured Apps, Apps for Excel, Apps for Outlook, Apps for Project, Apps for SharePoint, Apps for WordCommunication, Content Management, Customer + Contact Management, Data Visualization + BI, Education, File Converters + Viewers, Financial Management, Human Resources & Recruiting, IT/Admin, News + Weather, Productivity, Project Management, Public-Facing Websites, Reference, Sales + Marketing, Social, Travel + Navigation, Workflow + Process Management

*I think it is $1.49 as well but could not find this answer anywhere. 

**Drops to 20% after $25,000 revenue

 

The categories that I felt relevant to ProModel I put in red font.  Below in question/answer format I summarize my other findings.  Hope you find this valuable.

 

Q:  Now that Office Marketplace is gone, I’m having a hard time understanding the story for “old school” Office add-ins (COM or VBA based), particularly for those Office programs (Viso for example) that don’t support the new-style Office Apps yet. 

A:  While the Office Store doesn’t support add-ins, add-ins are still supported in Office, and you can still get to the list of add-ins from the old Office Marketplace found here.

 

Q:  Will “old school” Office add-ins (COM or VBA based) work on Windows 8 RT?

A:  No, Office add-ins will NOT work on Windows 8 RT.

 

Q:  Can I list my “old school” Office add-ins (COM or VBA based) on the Windows Store and Office Store?

A:  Nope, Office Add-ins are not listed or sold in the Windows Store or Office Store.

 

Q:  Can I list or buy Office Apps at the Windows Store?

A:  Nope, Office Apps are not listed or sold in the Windows Store.

 

Q:  How do I find and add an Office App? 

A:  As you can see in the screenshot below, clicking on the “Apps for Office” button found in the “Insert” tab of the Ribbon launches the Office Store.  The Office Store allows user to search by categories (see table above), sort by top reviewed, etc.

OfficeStore

 

Q:  Why sell through the Office Store licensing service?  How do you know how well your app is doing?  What are the various different business models for Office Apps?

A:  This link has a thorough explanation: “Which Business Model is right for you?”

 

Q: What are the Supported distribution points for apps for Office

A:  See the text below taken from the following link.  Overview of apps for Office 2013

“After an app for Office is created by a developer, the developer can decide how to publish it so that it is available to the users within your organization. In Office 2013, the following distribution points are supported for publishing apps for Office:

Office Store Hosted and regulated by Microsoft, the Office Store is where developers around the world can publish and sell their custom Office solutions. End users and IT professionals can download these custom Office solutions for personal or corporate use. Office Store handles the consumer download experience from discovery to purchase, upgrades, and updates.

SharePoint App Catalog   For task pane and content apps, IT departments can deploy private app catalogs to provide the same app acquisition experience that the Office Store provides. This new catalog and development platform enables IT departments to use a streamlined method to distribute apps for Office and SharePoint to managed users from a central location.

App Catalog is available to all SharePoint customers (including Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises). App Catalog enables publishing and administration of both internally created apps and apps that are available in the Office Store and licensed for corporate use. For more information, see Manage the App Catalog in SharePoint 2013.

Exchange catalog   This is a private catalog that is managed by an Exchange administrator for mail apps that are available to users of the Exchange Server on which it resides. It enables publication and administration of corporate mail apps, such as internally created apps and apps that are available in the Office Store and licensed for corporate use.

File-based app catalog   IT departments and developers can deploy task pane and content apps to a central file share, where the manifest files will be stored and managed. Users can then obtain apps by specifying this file share as a trusted catalog, or an IT administrator can configure this file share as a trusted catalog by using Group Policy.”

Please reply if you have additional questions.  I will try and research for the answer and put into this post.

Other valuable links:

The Office Store is Now Open

http://blog.markedup.com/2012/10/win8-developers-dont-make-the-terrible-mistake-of-treating-the-windows-store-like-the-ios-app-store/

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Author: Dan Hickman

Chief Technology Officer ProModel Corporation

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