The latest batch of alleged Windows 8 screenshots leaked onto the Web shows that a long-rumored Windows app store will appear in the next version of Microsoft's OS.
The new images and information were published yesterday by Chinese tech news site CNBeta.com. Reportedly taken from a current pre-beta build of Windows 8, the screenshots reveal a dedicated window geared toward downloading and managing apps with links to both Microsoft software and third-party programs, such as Internet Explorer, Office 2010, Firefox, Opera, FreeCell, and Angry Birds.
Citing information from its sources, CNBeta also is claiming that internal testing of the store has been completed and that Microsoft will soon release it as a beta.
Rumors and reports about an upcoming Windows app store have been around for almost a year. Based on a series of Windows 8 documents leaked last June, Microsoft has reportedly been eager to match Apple at its own game by offering its own dedicated app store.
CNET sister site ZDNet, which also has published screenshots of the app store, said that Microsoft has been trying to ramp up the store since Apple unveiled its Mac App Store, which opened its virtual doors in January.
The screenshots in English point to the name of the store as Windows App Store. If it sticks, that name is likely to upset Apple, which is suing Amazon for trademark violation over its use of the term "app store" for its new Android Appstore. Apple has also been pleading its case to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, asking to be granted an official trademark of the term "app store." Microsoft and other companies have argued that the term is too generic to be trademarked.
But Microsoft may still be playing it on the safe side in naming its Windows app store. An English translation of the Chinese name of the store on the CNBeta.com page displays the name as App Mall and not App Store. Meanwhile, Windows enthusiast site Windows 8 Center said the term can also be translated as App Marketplace.
This latest batch of screenshots follow earlier images taken from a Windows 8 pre-beta build pointing to such new features as an expansion of the Ribbon interface, a new welcome screen, a built-in PDF reader, and a revamped version of IE that looks like its Windows Phone counterpart.