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Posting from Anaheim: On stage right now at Microsoft’s Build conference, Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky is previewing Windows 8 and demonstrating how to create apps in Microsoft’s new “Metro” style — full-screen, web-friendly PC programs that rely heavily on touch-oriented gestures and leverage new features of the upcoming operating system.

Sinofsky also just confirmed that Microsoft will include an app store (his words) for third-party software developers to distribute Metro apps. It’s a big step for Microsoft, following in the footsteps of Apple’s App Store for Mac OS X and mobile application stores.

Microsoft is currently opposing Apple’s attempt to trademark the “app store” phrase. Although Sinofsky used those words on stage, Microsoft actually calls it the Windows Store, and a test build of the operating system refers to it simply as the “store.”

Whatever it ends up being called, one interesting tidbit that I gleaned from talking with Sinofsky at a preview event yesterday is that the app store will be the exclusive method of distributing Metro apps to consumers. As with mobile app stores, there’s likely to be alternative options for in-house corporate apps and other private app deployments, but the Windows Store will be the way that Metro apps will be distributed to the masses.

Microsoft says the idea is to put these new types of Windows apps through a certification process similar to mobile app stores, ensuring that the apps will be safe, secure and high-quality. Microsoft says it will try to make the process as transparent as possible.

“It’s like ordering pizza,” Sinofsky assured the developers from the stage just now. “You know where your app is at all the steps along the way.”

Microsoft is now previewing the store, which itself is a Metro app, built in the web-native HTML5 and JavaScript languages. However, the store not slated to be active in the preview of Windows 8 distributed to Build attendees this week.

Classic Windows apps will also be able to get listings in the Windows Store.

Developers will be able to upload Metro apps to the store from the Visual Studio programming software. Microsoft isn’t sharing its Windows app store terms of service this week or talking about any type of financial cut that it might plan to taking from Metro app sales.

Previously: This is Windows 8: Hands-on with Microsoft’s radically different operating system

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