With the emergence of innumerable app marketplaces ranging from mobile to desktop offerings, it comes as no surprise that Windows 8 will reportedly feature a program outlet akin to Apple’s Mac App Store. Taken from an early build of the much-anticipated operating system, screenshots indicate the potential validity of such a claim.

Originally posted by the folks at WayBeta, the collection of screenshots capture a familiar, intuitive user-interface with many popular first and third party applications, such as Angry Birds and Microsoft Office. It appears as if the application portal, rumored to be called App Store, will be tightly integrated with the rest of Microsoft’s operating system. Upon further examination, the toolbars, sidebars, and settings look very similar if not identical to Windows Explorer.

Historically, app marketplaces have been incredibly successful, offering an easy way to purchase, download, and manage programs. Many features, such as the ability to rate your favorite applications and add customer reviews, streamline the user experience. Apple, Google, and Microsoft would all benefit from these models, as they are able to take a predetermined percentage of the software revenue from its digital store.

Half of the battle for Microsoft will be telling consumers that they need an app store. In the past, most programs have been available in physical stores or on highly-competitive web marketplaces. Convincing developers to jump on board with a deal that will make them lose money will be difficult, but Microsoft will claim that the App Store will help applications gain exposure.

It is likely that Apple will file a trademark claim against Microsoft for using the term “App Store,” which has been a disputing trademark since its launch. Microsoft claims that the name is too general to be trademarked and has already entered in legal debate with its counterpart.

Microsoft is expected to begin beta testing for their much-anticipated next-generation operating system in the near future. Rumored to have finished internal testing, Windows 8 will likely see a full release in 2012.

What do you, casual users and app connoisseurs alike, believe? Is it logical for Microsoft to enter the digital software distribution market with its own “App Store” in Windows 8? Would you be interested in using such a platform? Sound off in the comments below.

Until more rumors begin to pop up, take a look at all of the images in the gallery below. It turns out that the pictures have actually been on the Internet for over a month, but they were not found until CNBeta.com published an article featuring the images in Chinese.

[Source – WayBeta]