Is This the Windows 8 App Store?

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Rumors of a Windows 8 app store have resurfaced, with a website posting what it claims are leaked screenshots.

The screenshots, posted by Chinese-language website CNBeta, show a store that looks awfully similar to the Mac App Store, which launched in January. There’s a big pane for a featured app on top, followed by a grid of rectangular slots, each with an app icon and other information.

Due to the blatant similarities to Apple’s Mac App Store, I’m not convinced that these screenshots are real. There are other red flags as well: The term “App Store,” shown at the top of the screen, is Apple’s trademark unless Microsoft can win itsĀ complaint to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Also, the screenshots show no evidence of the “Metro” user interface that will likely play a large part in Windows 8.

Still, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of an app store for Windows 8. Last year, a blog called Microsoft Kitchen leaked a load of Windows 8 planning documents, including one that described an app store. A slide from a Microsoft architectural summit in 2010 also mentioned an app store, and talked about how users would be able to sync all their apps and user data online for retrieval from any future Windows device.

So while the screenshots from CNBeta are on the right track, please gawk with a healthy dose of skepticism.