This article was published 9 years ago

Microsoft waves the white flag

Microsoft Build conference
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft Build conference – Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft made a big announcement at its developer conference today. The next version of Windows – Windows 10 – will support apps written in Android and iOS. Many developers loudly cheer in the audience when this was announced because we’re almost at code once, run everywhere environment (Android being the lone wolf) and it was the surprise item announced today. However this signals that Microsoft is done adding new features to Windows from here on out.

Microsoft had no choice but to add Java/C++/Objective C to Windows because the app store was bare and apps that were supported on Windows Phone were not full versions compared to the same app on Android and iOS. This should increase Microsoft App catalog and should satisfy the small-yet-vocal minority that demand that an app be ported to Windows but the developer(s) refuse to make a version for Windows.

The only option that would cause a developer to release a Windows Phone version of its app if Microsoft did all the heavy-lifting or would receive payment from Microsoft to make a Windows Phone version.

With developers demanding either payment or doing the re-writing, Microsoft had to find a way to get more apps in the App directory. With the next version of Windows Phone to support code written for Android or iOS, this kills the pay us to port our apps to Windows movement. Microsoft is happy to end that movement; developers probably don’t.

While it may sound great for developers, this is bad for Microsoft. If the majority apps are ported from other mobile devices, does it benefit Microsoft to continue development on future versions of Windows?


If Microsoft want to achieve its lofty goals of 1 billion devices, this is what they have to do: support your enemies.

Why bother add new APIs if the majority of the apps won’t support them?

Windows expert Paul Thurrott also wonders what this means for developers that stuck around since the beginning:

For developers who have invested a lifetime of learning and mastering Microsoft’s platforms, Android compatibility is a slap in the face. This sends the message that they have wasted their time and that it’s time to move on to a more successful platform since, after all, the apps you create for Android will now work on Android and Windows/Windows Phone. This completely usurps the presumed value of universal apps, which I assume Microsoft will also spend a lot of time promoting this week. It will not sit well with the developers who go to Build.

Microsoft should tell those developers the truth: We give up!