Microsoft has a team of engineers hard at work on an app store for Windows 8, the next iteration of the company's operating system due out in 2012.

The revelation comes via a recent blog post by Steven Sinofsy, Microsoft's president of Windows and Windows Live, in the company's newly launched Building Windows 8 blog. Sinofsky included in his inaugural blog post a list of all the engineering teams working on Windows 8.

At the top of that list (it was organised alphabetically) an app store team is listed. While it's possible the term 'app store' could have a different connotation for Microsoft's Windows 8 effort, chances are Microsoft is hoping to emulate in Windows 8 Apple's recent success with the OS X Mac App Store introduced in June, not to be confused with Apple's iTunes App Store.

Speculation that Microsoft would include an app store in Windows 8 has been circulating for some time. When Sinofsky gave a sneak peek at Windows 8 in June, a screenshot from the new OS showed a 'Store' tile as part of Windows 8's Phone 7-inspired user interface. It's not clear if that Store panel was meant to be a future app store or just a link to the Microsoft Store, the software giant's online outlet for computers, software, games and phones.

Several weeks earlier, in June, a Chinese blog posted what it claimed were leaked screenshots of the Windows 8 app store. The leaked shots show an app store embedded into Windows Explorer alongside your documents and other folders instead of a standalone app such as Apple uses for its app store in OS X.

This would not be the first time that Microsoft has experimented with integrating an app store into Windows. In Vista, Microsoft included a link to the now defunct Windows Marketplace accessible via your system's default browser. Microsoft first announced Marketplace in 2004, but with the current trend of integrating app stores into the operating system, it's more likely the Windows 8 app store will either be a standalone application or integrated into Windows Explorer, as previous rumours have suggested.

Here is the complete list of engineering teams working on Windows 8:

  • App Compatibility and Device Compatibility
  • App Store
  • Applications and Media Experience
  • App Experience
  • Core Experience Evolved
  • Device Connectivity
  • Devices & Networking Experience
  • Ecosystem Fundamentals
  • Engineer Desktop
  • Engineering System
  • Enterprise Networking
  • Global Experience
  • Graphics Platform
  • Hardware Developer Experience
  • Human Interaction Platform
  • Hyper-V
  • In Control of Your PC
  • Kernel Platform
  • Licensing and Deployment
  • Media Platform
  • Networking Core
  • Performance
  • Presentation and Composition
  • Reliability, Security and Privacy
  • Runtime Experience
  • Search, View and Command
  • Security & Identity
  • Storage & Files Systems
  • Sustained Engineering
  • Telemetry
  • User-Centred Experience
  • Windows Online
  • Windows Update
  • Wireless and Networking services
  • XAML