Intel Will Shut Down AppUp PC App Store On March 11, Apps Will Stop Working By May 15, 2015

So much for Intel’s bid to get hip with our app-filled times: the company is shutting down its consumer-facing AppUp, its app store for Windows-based PC apps. “The world’s largest app store that nobody’s ever heard of,” in the words of AppUp boss Peter Biddle, a description that in hindsight may have been tempting fate.

The service will be closed for good on March 11, with the apps from the store that communicated with the AppUp client no longer working by May 15, 2015 — or earlier if you uninstall the store client. (The large, full list of affected apps is here.) Other apps that did not communicate with the client should still work, Intel says, although they will have to be launched separately.

Intel doesn’t provide much of an explanation for the closure on the now-redirected landing page for AppUp. “At Intel, we’re always thinking about the future, which often means making changes today. That’s why, on March 11th, 2014, Intel AppUp® center will come to a close as we focus on developing new and exciting PC innovations that will continue to shape your world,” Intel writes.

A spokesperson fills us in on a bit more detail: this is part of a shift towards offering more services for enterprises and less for consumers:

“When we started AppUp it was to cater to a unique need for consumers at the time. I think it served its purpose when were there new emerging devices [such as Ultrabooks] that needed apps, but now we see a change for consumer needs and so we’re directing our resources elsewhere. We have decided to realign and focus services on businesses — the needs of of enterprises and business users.”

There may be more app activity in the future, but in more of a B2B2C vein. “We are moving from directly providing apps to consumers to providing services to enterprise who will have an interface to consumers,” she adds. She did not disclose the number of apps or users in the AppUp store. “We have been communicating with the companies directly. They have very broad markets and are unlikely to be impacted by the change,” she says.

Intel also sent out a note to AppUp users describing the shut down and detailing refunds:

Dear valued Intel AppUp® user,

At Intel, we’re always thinking about tomorrow, which sometimes means making changes today. That’s why we’ll be closing Intel AppUp on March 11th, 2014 to focus on other groundbreaking platform innovations. As part of this closure your AppUp Center Customer Account Registration Agreement also will terminate effective March 11th, 2014.

Some apps you have downloaded may stop working on May 15th 2015, or earlier if you uninstall the store client, and you can confirm if any of your apps are affected here. You can claim a full refund of $4.99 through our AppUp refund program, for the amount you paid for apps. Your transaction history appears at the bottom of this email.

Closing Intel AppUp was a tough decision and we understand how important the service has become to our users so we’ve provided a detailed FAQ section with links to guided support to answer your questions as the program comes to a close.

Of course, Intel AppUp would not have been possible without loyal users like you. Thank you for participating in the experience. It’s been a fun ride.

Back in 2010, taking a leaf from the app explosion on mobile devices, Intel saw an opportunity to leverage its brand recognition with Windows device users, and build out its ecosystem of developers, by building out a store specifically to cater to new devices like Ultrabooks and netbooks, although AppUP worked on all PCs. In launching AppUp, Intel preceded Apple announcing a Mac App Store by some 10 months.

But whether it’s because Windows users were simply not as keen to use Intel’s AppUp, or whether it’s because Microsoft has stolen a march in this space with its own store, it’s not clear that AppUp ever really took off in terms of traffic and downloads.

Intel had been aiming for as global a reach as possible, with the store working in over 60 countries, with paid transactions in 45 countries and five languages. A year after launch, it announced a $100 million AppUp fund to encourage developers to create apps for the store and businesses that might encourage the wider ecosystem.

But geographical reach and paying money to encourage developers doesn’t equal loyal users. “Intel has put itself out of its own misery by shutting down the ill-fated “AppUp” app store,” is how one tipster described it to us.

Updated with comment from Intel.

(H/T Apu Kumar)