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Microsoft today previewed the Windows Store, the new app marketplace that will be included in Windows 8, the next version of the company’s operating system, bringing to traditional PCs a distribution model popularized on phones.

The app store is slated to be previewed with the Windows 8 beta, which will be in late February 2012, the company said — a key piece of news about the next operating system’s timing.

Rather than the standard practice of sharing with developers a straight 70% of revenue from apps sold through the Windows Store, the company introduced a twist. Apps will start out at the standard 70% but once they reach $25,000 in total revenue, the split will increase to 80 percent for the developer for the lifetime of the app.

Apple, which already offers a Mac App Store on its computers, offers the traditional 70 percent cut.

Introducing the Windows Store at a developer event in San Francisco, Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond called the Windows Store “the most significant developer opportunity ever.” He pointed to Gartner’s estimates that 400 million x86-based machines will ship in the next 12 months.

“This is where Windows shines, and where the opportunity for you as a developer is completely unprecedented,” he said. “Every iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet and Mac sold in the last two years, I could combine all of these numbers together — it doesn’t match what Windows has sold.”

More details in this Microsoft blog post.

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