An app store is officially among the features Microsoft is working to include in Windows 8, much like Apple's App Store for OS X.
The revelation, which confirmed months of rumors, came today from Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky in a Building Windows 8 blog titled "Introducing the team." Among a list of teams associated with building the forthcoming operating system was "App Store."
Sinofsky said that work on the new OS is organized by feature teams, of which there are about 35, each containing 25 to 40 developers.
"Many of the teams listed below describe features or areas that you are familiar with or that you can probably figure out based on the name," he said. "As we post more, team members will identify themselves as part of these teams."
Microsoft representatives did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Rumors that Microsoft was developing an app store for Windows have been around for more than a year. Based on a series of Windows 8 documents leaked June 2010, Microsoft has reportedly been eager to match Apple at its own game by offering its own dedicated app store.
An app store appeared in a demonstration of Windows 8 that Sinofsky gave at the All Things Digital D9 conference in late June. Included in the start-up menu tiles was a direct link to a Microsoft Store, suggesting that Microsoft was working it own version of an online application store, similar to Apple's App Store.
The company has also been working hard to keep Apple from winning a U.S. trademark for the phrase App Store. Microsoft argues the phrase is too generic to register and would restrict competitors' ability to use of the term to describe their own services.
Microsoft has not officially announced when the new OS would be released, but CEO Steve Ballmer said in May that the new OS would reach consumers in 2012, although the company later said Ballmer misspoke. In June, Vice President Dan'l Lewin hinted that Windows 8 would launch during the fall of 2012.