It appears that Microsoft has silently changed the name of its Windows Phone Marketplace to the Windows Phone Store. This sudden name change was first used at the recently launched Windows Phone Dev Center on Tuesday. However, Microsoft has yet to officially release a statement announcing this change.

The decision to switch from Marketplace to the Windows Phone Store was likely an effort to simplify the company’s branding for Windows 8, which has a Windows Store of its own.

We’re pretty sure the name change is official and not an error, due to the fact that several pages on the Windows Phone Dev Center site refers to the “Store” on multiple occasions:

The new Windows Phone Dev Center has everything you need to create great apps and add them to the Windows Phone Store for the world to see, try, and buy. You can start creating apps anytime. When you’re ready to offer them in the Store, you’ll need a subscription to the Dev Center where you can start the process of adding them to the Store catalog.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen mobile app stores change names: Google’s Android Market became Google Play.

Microsoft seems to be focusing on unifying its platforms and broadening its ecosystem. While the name change may be subtle, it simplifies the user experience by keeping things on the same page. Most importantly, it signals that Microsoft is committed to creating a better experience for its users.

[via: WMPowerUser, Windows Phone Dev Center]