The awards highlight the best apps available in the Microsoft Store as voted by Windows users and Store editors. Microsoft is wooing developers to distribute traditional desktop apps targeting the Win32 standard interface in the Store after its Windows 11-aligned revamp. Previously, it only supported UWP, PWA and MISX-packaged apps.   The most popular utilities were ShareX and Speedtest by Ookla. Most people who’ve checked their broadband speed would be familiar with Speedtest, while ShareX lets users capture or record a screen snippet or full screen and quickly share it. Runners up were BitTorrent client Torrex Lite and Fluent Screen Recorder.  SEE: Microsoft says Windows 11 has hit this major milestone The File Management winners are the file manager Files App and Rufus, a tool that helps users format and create bootable USB flash drives. Runners up were 8 Zip and One Commander.  Open Platform winners were Auto Dark Mode, an app that lets users schedule times for dark or light mode; EarTrumpet, a volume control app, and ModernFlyouts, which replaces Windows built audio, airplane, and brightness flyouts. Runners up were Lively Wallpaper and TranslucentTB.  Microsoft Store Editor’s picked Disney+, Hulu and Tubi for the best video app. For audio and music, editors picked Spotify, FluentCast and Grover Pro. The best creativity app award went to Canva, The winner for the audio and video creativity category was video editing app Wondershare Filmora. For social, Microsoft editors picked Discord. 

Getting dev-friendly

Microsoft announced a shortlist of dozens of apps in May, allowing Windows 10 and Windows 11 users to vote for their favorites across categories including Utility, File Management, and Open Platform. The Microsoft Store Editor’s Choice categories included Creativity, Entertainment, Productivity, Social, and a special recognition award.  In recent months, Microsoft has announced friendlier terms for developers to use its ‘open’ store; the arrival of major apps from Adobe, Disney, Zoom, Microsoft and more; and this week it launched Microsoft Store Ads – taking a leaf from Apple’s App Store ads to help developers reach users. SEE: Working hard or hardly working? Employees don’t trust their colleagues to be productive while working from home Notably, Microsoft excluded games from this year’s awards. That’s somewhat surprising given the breadth of Windows games, but perhaps not so surprising given that regulators are still reviewing its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.  “Although gaming is always incredibly important to us and our customers, for these awards, we’re focused on apps,” said Microsoft Store general manager, Giorgio Sardo.