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One of the leaked images apparently showing Microsoft's Windows 8 App Store. (Via

Microsoft’s early planning documents for Windows 8, the next version of the PC operating system, suggested that the company was creating its own Windows App Store — a central place to find, buy, download, update and manage software.

The concept will be familiar to mobile phone and Mac users, and it clearly has some major appeal. Earlier today, a site that beat Microsoft to the punch with its own Windows app store,, announced that it has attracted 100,000 users in just three months.

Now, an apparent leak from a preliminary version of Windows 8 gives a sense for what Microsoft’s own Windows App Store might look like.

The screenshots on reveal a design similar, in some ways, to Apple’s App Store, within the framework of a Windows Explorer pane. The leaks are notable in part because they use the phrase “Windows App Store” — which could help explain why Microsoft is fighting Apple’s “App Store” trademark filing even though the Redmond company uses the phrase “marketplace” for its Windows Phone app store.

Also interesting is the appearance of Angry Birds, the hit mobile game, in one of the images. Earlier leaks have shown how Microsoft might be planning to bridge the world of Windows and Windows Phone with a shared library of apps.

For the record, a Microsoft representative declined to comment on the Windows App Store images. An official date hasn’t been announced, but Windows 8 is generally expected out sometime next year.

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