Ryan, a member of the LockerGnome community, asks:

“How important is it for an OS to have an app store? I know that it has, and will continue to be a good thing for Apple. Would it help Windows?”

There’s certainly something to be said for the convenience of being able to click on an app from within an operating system and magically be taken away to an online store that can be searched for any number of useful applications for the device that sits at one’s eager fingertips. People think nothing of dropping 99 cents here and there to download individual songs and applications through the iTunes interface — the process has been designed to be so easy that it’s hard to resist when the instant gratification bug bites, and Apple’s made a killing because of it.

There should be an image here!It’s not out of line to say that Microsoft’s been taking its lumps lately in comparison to some of its competitors in the industry. Windows 7 still hasn’t completely washed the bitterness of Vista away for many — more than a few Windows enthusiasts made very public migrations to OS X in anger at a company it felt was out of touch when Vista was still new and shiny. And no matter how much money Microsoft throws at it, it doesn’t seem possible that Bing will ever oust Google as the king of search engines.

But I do think it’s safe to say that a good chunk of the computing population is looking forward to the features that Windows 8 will bring our way, and having a Windows app store that’s as intuitive and easy to search as Apple’s would be a smart move for Microsoft. Sure, Apple fans will invariably shout that “Microsoft is a big, fat copycat!” But they’re going to say that about any step that Microsoft makes, anyway. Unless Microsoft really screws up and makes a Windows app store that’s clunky, hard to navigate, and/or expensive, then I don’t see how it could do anything but help the company. Here’s what Chris Pirillo has to say about it:

What do you think? Could you see a Windows app store as something you’d use regularly? What suggestions would you have to make it stand out above the other app stores out there? Drop us a comment!