IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

Microsoft Store for Business

The Microsoft Store for Business (MSfB) is an interface intended to provide a useful, safe experience to get applications for Microsoft platforms for enterprise customers. MSfB is slightly different from the commercial Microsoft Store in that an enterprise controls what is “published” and there are a few other points of integration with our Microsoft 365 services. It is worth noting that there two ways to get to the MSfB:

  1. a Windows native application called “Microsoft Store”
  2. a website https://educationstore.microsoft.com/en-us/store/

Both get at the same capabilities. Your Windows administrator may have blocked access via #1, but it would be more difficult for them to block #2.

UW Microsoft Store for Business

UW-IT manages the UW Microsoft Store for Business. We have chosen to intentionally limit what is done with the MSfB. There are a variety of reasons this is the case:

If you have local admin permissions, you don’t actually need us to publish an application in order to get an application from the MSfB. Here’s how:

  1. User goes to MS Store for Business (https://businessstore.microsoft.com/en-us/store), signs in with UW account, and doesn’t see the app they want published in the “private store”  (aka https://educationstore.microsoft.com/en-us/store/private-store)
  2. User does a search in the ‘Search the store’ field for “App name here” which takes them to https://educationstore.microsoft.com/en-us/store/search?q=App%20Name%20Here
  3. User selects the app, chooses install, and gets the app

There are a variety of other issues around MS Store for Business:

  • Single interface for a distributed enterprise with widely differing needs that doesn’t have a governance body to guide decision making. If we “publish” an app, but someone doesn’t like that app being present, who decides what should be done?
  • Early on, there were significant licensing/legal issues … those mostly seem better , but there has not been an intentional exploration of licensing and legal issues
  • No cost-recovery for this, so any time must come out of infrastructure funding margins & be prioritized against other activities
  • Microsoft may be poised to kill the Store for Business https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-is-planning-to-phase-out-the-windows-10-store-for-business/

Known/Expected Uses of UW Microsoft Store for Business

Here are the known or expected uses:

  • To get the Microsoft Surface or Microsoft Whiteboard apps. The MSfB is the only way to get those apps. We published them to make it quicker to find.
  • To search for some other application which can only be obtained via Microsoft Store
  • For computer vendors to enroll UW purchased devices in Autopilot

If you feel strongly that you need an application published in the “private” section of the UW MSfB, please send an email to help@uw.edu. Our practice is to only publish applications which can only be installed via the Microsoft Store, when they require local admin privileges to be installed.

Last reviewed June 26, 2020