While new devices are always welcome and exciting to technophiles, Microsoft's recent discussion of its plans to beef up its app platform may be the most significant announcement to come out of the company in some time. Microsoft announced that it is unveiling a new range of devices including a laptop, Xbox controller and phone, but the app platform stole the spotlight as the item that will probably provide the greatest boost to the company's efforts to gain traction in the mobile marketplace.
Microsoft has been laboring under a general Catch-22 in the mobile field for some time: because the company lacked a strong app performance, developers were not interested in spending their time beefing up the company's app library, while Microsoft needed more apps in order to grow in the mobile market.
Because of the "if you do or if you don't" problem, Microsoft has elected to take an approach to app building that will cross device boundaries with universal apps. These apps can be purchased once and downloaded on all types of devices. Built-in programming will make the apps useful across device types and platforms.
According to Microsoft, there have been 1.25 billion visits to the Windows 10 app store in the past two and a half months. While this is not necessarily indicative of wholesale buy-in to Windows apps, the number obviously represents a significant share of the market, no matter what types of devices these apps eventually reach. It may be that universal apps provide the flexibility that businesses have been craving and will allow them to download the apps on both in-the-field mobile devices as well as stay-at-work desktops or laptops.
Perhaps even more significant, major players such as Instagram and Facebook are building out universal apps specifically designed for the Windows 10 platform. This is a huge step for these companies in terms of allocation of resources; most likely, it indicates a confidence that Windows 10 apps will be around for some time to come.
Right now, Windows is comparatively hobbled by its small size. The Windows Store contains only 670,000 apps compared to App Store's 1.5 million and Google Play's 1.6 million. However, the universal app adoption could be the key to raising Windows to the level of Android and Apple, particularly if businesses begin using it.
If you have questions about integrating Windows apps into your business's technology profile, contact C3IT for help.