Microsoft is under no illusions that it is playing catch up to Google (Play Store) and Apple (App Store) in terms of delivering apps in a rich app ecosystem. The company's push to a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) will help address the balance, but it is also the finer details that will make a difference long term.
Content subscriptions are one such fine detail, a feature that was announced for the Windows 10 Store last year and seems to be slowly coming to end users. The Google Play Store has a similar feature, and Microsoft's content subscriptions would work in the same way by allowing users to subscribe to receive app content (news for example) through the store.
Redmond actually promised this feature way back last year before the Windows 10 platform had even been launched to PC.
“In-app purchase capabilities will be expanded with Windows 10 to include a recurring billing, or subscription, option that will enable the Windows Store to sell subscription-based content using Store billing systems. Useful for content and productivity services, among others, this subscription capability will support the Windows Store consumer payment methods in most markets with developer-configurable time periods. Watch for more information in this blog as we get closer to launch.”
The company has been quiet on the matter since but now preview builds of the Windows Store are showing that the content subscription feature has not been forgotten. Those rocking the latest Windows 10 preview builds on the Windows Insider Program are spotting an option for subscriptions within search filters.
At the moment the feature is only a show, basically meaning it is there for a future release but cannot be used yet. Microsoft hasn't even officially announced subscriptions yet, but it looks like the company is close to releasing the feature for Insiders at least.