Microsoft clarifies why Snipp3t is iOS only, breaking existing development molds

Microsoft released an app, not too long ago, called Snipp3t and this app takes celebrity news from Bing and curates it into an easy to read format. In short, it makes following your favorite celebrity news even easier. But, one of the odd aspects of this application is that it is only available on iOS, leaving behind Windows Phone and even Android.

In an effort to clarify why this app is only on iOS, Donald Soon, a program manager who worked on the app, took to Reddit for an AMA where he said that this app came out of a hackathon that was held by Bing. Don't get this confused with the company wide hackathon that was held in late July, the Bing hackathon was a separate event.

If you are wondering why it is only on iOS, Soon stated the following:

Soon said that if the app gets some momentum, they would love to bring it to all platforms but said that the iPhone was the best platform to test market reception for the concept. 

As noted by Soon, Nadella is changing the culture inside of Microsoft and we should expect to see more of these projects surfacing in the near future. So, being on iOS before Windows Phone for small experiments, may not be a one-off experience.

We are still waiting to see too, if Microsoft will show off any of the projects that came out of the company-wide hackathon in July that had over 10,000 participants.

Source: Reddit

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So doing their part to increase the value proposition of choosing Windows Phone is not important to them anymore? That's ... disappointing ...

"the target user (celebrity fans) was taken into account for the initial platform we chose"

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of iOS users there.

Why not develop with Visual Studio using the new cross-platform options they keep highlighting and release it on all platforms at once as a model of how it can be done.

I think I am done with Windows Phone. I understand why MS has to bring certain titles to IOS and Android, but to ignore Windows and treat it like a second class citizen. You can give all the reasons you like, but those same reason why MS is going to IOS and Android first (not just this app), is why I will be going to Android.

Sorry, but they should at least bring it out on Windows Phone AT THE SAME TIME. They need to make sure their OWN FREAKIN' PLATFORM is never second-fiddle. To do otherwise is not only stupid, it sends really wrong and bad messages... to their own customers as well as to developers. "If even MICROSOFT doesn't care about Windows Phone..."

Ugh. Just really STUPID. What the heck is WRONG with Microsoft sometimes?

What I think gets lost in this discussion is that MS' goal here is to provide software wherever its needed. So instead of just catering to their own platforms, they want to cater to all platforms.

That means there will be software that targets a single platform from time to time.

That does not mean its an attack on Windows platforms or its users. Windows Phone, Windows, etc, are getting plenty of attention at the same time. Their own app stores are growing and MS itself creates apps that take advantage of their platforms, providing experiences that they don't on other platforms. They are also aggressively working to update their platforms to create a better environment for developers and users.

Everyone just needs to get use to the fact that MS wants to make software across any platform out there. It does not mean they re giving up on their own platforms or switching priorities. MS has a history of supporting competing platforms with software, this just an extension of that.

They don't have to cater to JUST their own platforms, but they shouldn't be releasing stuff on other platforms FIRST. Before releasing this, they should have made up a Windows Phone version and released them simultaneously. They're actively HARMING their own platform with their current attitude.

pmbAustin said,
They don't have to cater to JUST their own platforms, but they shouldn't be releasing stuff on other platforms FIRST. Before releasing this, they should have made up a Windows Phone version and released them simultaneously. They're actively HARMING their own platform with their current attitude.


Not every app is going to make sense on every platform at the same time. Remember, there are apps on WP that do not exist on other platforms too, but no one mentions that.

This is also about a beta app, something in testing. Plus, this is an app that came out of a contest, not some internal MS project. The first tests are being done on iOS and the developer admits that they are just testing it first there.

Again, as long as MS keeps showing real support for its own platforms, its easier to accept things like this. Yes, its risky to anything first on another platform, but I don't feel cheated in regards to this particular app as a WP user. I have felt the whole app situation improve greatly over the last year with more and more apps releasing simultaneously, MS' own OS updates, and their own first party apps.

trooper11 said,
What I think gets lost in this discussion is that MS' goal here is to provide software wherever its needed. So instead of just catering to their own platforms, they want to cater to all platforms.

That means there will be software that targets a single platform from time to time.

That does not mean its an attack on Windows platforms or its users. Windows Phone, Windows, etc, are getting plenty of attention at the same time. Their own app stores are growing and MS itself creates apps that take advantage of their platforms, providing experiences that they don't on other platforms. They are also aggressively working to update their platforms to create a better environment for developers and users.

Everyone just needs to get use to the fact that MS wants to make software across any platform out there. It does not mean they re giving up on their own platforms or switching priorities. MS has a history of supporting competing platforms with software, this just an extension of that.

If their goal is to provide software wherever it's needed then where is the promised touch based version of Office that Surface users have been waiting for since the 1st gen Surface was released, oh right, it's on iOS and Android. So much for supporting their own platforms.

What MS has shown is that they mostly have an iOS-first strategy. If you want the best of MS services on mobile MS is telling you to buy an iPhone.

I quite like this new drive to be not so windows-centric. Biggest impact for me has been the new free OneNote OS X and iOS apps.

Satya is doing great things already.

DeltaXray said,
I quite like this new drive to be not so windows-centric. Biggest impact for me has been the new free OneNote OS X and iOS apps.

Satya is doing great things already.

Which already have more features than any of the versions for Windows!!!!

Then I just begs the question, why is Microsoft even bothering with WP at all? If its so inconsequential they should just can it and concentrate on IOS, like they obviously want to.

This is exactly the message they're sending, and it's exactly the WRONG message to send, which is why this is exactly the WRONG strategy for them.

It's one thing to not be 'windows centric'... it's quite another to just ignore their own platform and treat it as a second-class citizen at best.

They should have released a Windows Phone version ALONG SIDE the iOS version. Even if they had to hold back the iOS version a few weeks. (It's not like getting this particular app out was time-critical or anything)

pmbAustin said,
This is exactly the message they're sending, and it's exactly the WRONG message to send, which is why this is exactly the WRONG strategy for them.

It's one thing to not be 'windows centric'... it's quite another to just ignore their own platform and treat it as a second-class citizen at best.

They should have released a Windows Phone version ALONG SIDE the iOS version. Even if they had to hold back the iOS version a few weeks. (It's not like getting this particular app out was time-critical or anything)

Absolutely correct, it's saying to developers "we have no faith in our own platforms so we don't expect you to have faith in our platforms either". When are Microsoft going to learn that you support you own platforms FIRST then look at others.

neo158 said,

Absolutely correct, it's saying to developers "we have no faith in our own platforms so we don't expect you to have faith in our platforms either". When are Microsoft going to learn that you support you own platforms FIRST then look at others.


Their own platform is a complete dud. Why continue to pour resources into it? WP has less than a 1% business adoption rate and the little market share it does has is declining in both the U.S. and Europe. Now that it has no license fee attached to it, thus little to no profit, investing further into it would make no sense.

It was launched the same time as the iPad and look how different, in terms of success and adoption, they both are. Satya is doing the right thing.

So what?
We know very well that Microsoft is in the middle of aligning it's OS and Office structure...
Office Touch? Windows 9? Phone OS merge with RT?
2014 is a weird year, it would always be with all this stuff "about to happen" but knowing the above it makes sense that multiple departments of Microsoft won't wait for all the strategy to be in place.
I'll be shock is if when all above are released and available and stuff like this happens every week...

Digitalfox said,
So what?
We know very well that Microsoft is in the middle of aligning it's OS and Office structure...
Office Touch? Windows 9? Phone OS merge with RT?
2014 is a weird year, it would always be with all this stuff "about to happen" but knowing the above it makes sense that multiple departments of Microsoft won't wait for all the strategy to be in place.
I'll be shock is if when all above are released and available and stuff like this happens every week...

Microsoft just aren't interested in supporting their own platforms. Lets look at what platforms Office Touch is on.... Android and iOS, not a Microsoft platform in sight and I seriously doubt that Windows Users will ever see a Touch based version of Office.

That claim doesn't really hold true when they've released several apps for ios or android ahead of WP in the past.

I read that as
"develop your apps for the widest market possible, which is IOS and Android. Then if they are wildly successful consider developing them for WP. Alternatively skip windows phone and develop a different app for IOS and Android"

I am not really sure that is the message MS wants to send to developers or users for that matter.

While it is probably true, the right move for MS to make here is to release apps for WP and IOS/Android. Apps like this one will likely have a few die hard fans, but never be particularly widely used.

I am f*****g tired of listening to retards claiming Windows Phone is struggling with apps. WP is NOT struggling with goddamn apps!

Bashing Microsoft will achieve nothing, instead bash the developers who are lazy and disinterested in actually making the effort. They should all be ashamed of themselves and look up to people like Rudy Huyn; if you know who the man is, you'll know why.

Stop with these despicably idiotic articles Neowin.

How is the OP bashing MS? Where does the OP say that WP is struggling?

And devs go where the money is an what platform is most popular first. Always been this way. It is up to MS to bring incentive and to entice devs to develop for the platform.

Before the jump:

"Microsoft has released an app that uses Bing to curate celebrity news but the app is only available on iOS which is quite odd considering that Windows Phone is struggling with apps"

Ahh, well...so? They are struggling with apps compared to the other stores. Yes yes, quality over quantity but most do not think that way. Many apps, even crap apps, show that the platform is getting more and more popular. Android dealt with it as well. As soon as WP popularity increases, the devs will come.

Gornot said,
I am f*****g tired of listening to retards claiming Windows Phone is struggling with apps. WP is NOT struggling with goddamn apps! Stop with these despicably idiotic articles Neowin.

Looks like someone forgot to take their chill pill this morning LOL.

To claim WP isn't struggling with 1. Getting apps, 2. Keeping them updated, and 3. Achieving feature parity, is frankly an exercise in reality distortion. But I guess ignorance is bliss :)

Gornot said,

Instead bash the developers who are lazy and disinterested in actually making the effort.

And who can blame them? WP has 2% marketshare these days and falling. Where's the incentive to invest development time and money into that? WP doesn't support Java or Objective C, so code can't even be reused. Devs have to completely rewrite their apps in Microsoft's proprietary, patent encumbered, and unpopular C# / dotnet platform. Not exactly an attractive prospect.

simplezz said,
WP doesn't support Java or Objective C, so code can't even be reused. Devs have to completely rewrite their apps in Microsoft's proprietary, patent encumbered, and unpopular C# / dotnet platform. Not exactly an attractive prospect.

Not going to argue market share as that's an obvious given, but Java and Objective C are patented products... seem to recall Oracle going after third parties specifically about Java.. hardly a "safe" bet either. Also ignoring some pretty big things are done in it, some of which is very cross-platform, even consoles. Writing one code base for all platforms.. if I were a "principles over productivity" type I can see your point, but from a "getting it done" perspective, looks pretty attractive.

simplezz said,
And who can blame them? WP has 2% marketshare these days and falling. Where's the incentive to invest development time and money into that? WP doesn't support Java or Objective C, so code can't even be reused. Devs have to completely rewrite their apps in Microsoft's proprietary, patent encumbered, and unpopular C# / dotnet platform. Not exactly an attractive prospect.

What's to say this isn't written in C# using Xamarin?

I for one love the unpopular C# platform more than any dev env out there. Learning that covers all screens with the help of Xamarin, so anyone who wants to be on all screens could go C# only.

Maybe if Microsoft treated developers better and not like ###### on the bottom of their shoes then more people would develop for them. I wouldn't mind but stopped when I found the App Hub such a catastrophe and requests for support were deleted from their forums.

simplezz said,

WP doesn't support Java or Objective C, so code can't even be reused. Devs have to completely rewrite their apps in Microsoft's proprietary, patent encumbered, and unpopular C# / dotnet platform. Not exactly an attractive prospect.

windows phone development support c,c++,c#,javascript and html5.

deadonthefloor said,

What's to say this isn't written in C# using Xamarin?

The fact that it isn't says a lot about the viability of C# as a cross platform development language. Do you know of any major developers that write their code in C# and use Xamarin? Thought not.

deadonthefloor said,

I for one love the unpopular C# platform more than any dev env out there. Learning that covers all screens with the help of Xamarin, so anyone who wants to be on all screens could go C# only.

Let's be realistic here, there's only two screens that count. iOS and Android. Both of which can run Java. If even Microsoft, the C# language vendor, doesn't write its Android and iOS apps in C#, then it's clearly a dead-end.

Edited by simplezz, Aug 12 2014, 7:20pm :

vcfan said,

windows phone development support c,c++,c#,javascript and html5.

None of which are Java or Objective C. Besides, it's not even that, it's the god awful API's and Microsoft's C lib implementation that are the problem. I wouldn't touch them with ten foot barge pole.

I can write Java Android and iOS applications, so why bother with C#?

simplezz said,
The fact that it isn't says a lot about the viability of C# as cross platform development language. Do you know of any major developers that write their code in C# and use Xamarin? Thought not.

I'll just leave this here.
http://xamarin.com/customers

simplezz said,
Both of which can run Java. If even Microsoft, the language vendor, doesn't write its Android and iOS apps in C#, then it's clearly a dead-end.

I love how you like to ridicule "patent heavy" C#... and then try and advocate something even worse. I thought having choices was a good thing, yet at every turn you want to limit peoples choices as much as possible. Quite a contradictory position.

simplezz said,
I can write Java Android and iOS applications, so why bother with C#?

Because you can target a lot more than Android and iOS ;) You also get a gazillion Windows systems, Linux, gaming consoles.. everything. And God awful API's?? You seriously want to say Java has the better APIs?? Oh my. Java is a f'ing train wreck in slow motion.

Max Norris said,

I'll just leave this here.
http://xamarin.com/customers

Microsoft is listed there, yet it doesn't use C# when it writes its Android and iOS apps. Unless you can provide examples where it does? So basically that list is meaningless.

Max Norris said,

I love how you like to ridicule "patent heavy" C#... and then try and advocate something even worse. I thought having choices was a good thing, yet at every turn you want to limit peoples choices as much as possible. Quite a contradictory position.

I call C# patent encumbered because it is. And Microsoft is infamous for its aggressive licensing and patent lawsuits. That's enough to drive anyone away.

Max Norris said,

Because it runs on a lot more than Android and iOS ;) You also get a gazillion Windows systems, Linux, gaming consoles.. everything.

Java runs on Windows, Linux, etc as well. And we aren't dependent on the whims of Microsoft to do it. We also have a cross-platform UI (Swing). Does Microsoft provide Windows forms on Linux? Thought not. That's because it's proprietary, like much of dotnet's components.

Is Java ideal? No. Oracle has some patents, but they were thrown out of the Google case. That gives me hope about its future. Ideally, we want a patent free cross platform development system, and one that's not controlled by a single vendor. Python for instance would be good.

I'd still rather develop with Java than C# though. It's the native SDK for Android, the biggest mobile market.

simplezz said,
The fact that it isn't says a lot about the viability of C# as a cross platform development language.

How do you know the original source isn't C#?

simplezz said,
Let's be realistic here, there's only two screens that count. iOS and Android.

Well I guess we should all take your word and move our hundreds of thousands of lines of pre-existing C# code to Java.

Or wait, nah, I'll just use Xamarin and reduce my time to market when targeting the only screens tha matter.

simplezz said,
Microsoft is listed there, yet it doesn't use C# when it writes its Android and iOS apps. Unless you can provide examples where it does? So basically that list is meaningless.

It does give an example right on that page.. but this was in response to "Do you know of any major developers that write their code in C# and use Xamarin? Thought not." And there's your major developers.

simplezz said,
I call C# patent encumbered because it is. And Microsoft is infamous for its aggressive licensing and patent lawsuits. That's enough to drive anyone away.

And yet you're advocating the one that actually has sued third parties (Java) versus the one that hasn't. (C#) Microsoft even published there "promise" not too.. take it with a grain of salt of course, but it's still 100% better than the alternative, namely the one that has a solid history of lawsuits.

simplezz said,
Java runs on Windows, Linux, etc as well. And we aren't dependent on the whims of Microsoft to do it. We also have a cross-platform UI (Swing). Does Microsoft provide Windows forms on Linux? Thought not. That's because it's proprietary, like much of dotnet's components.

No they don't provide WINForms for Linux.. you know, because it's Windows specific. That's why there's other third party libraries to use instead.. Gtk#, multiple Qt toolkits, oh look even "Windows.Forms" by the Mono developers. (And pssst, many of the dotNET components are open source. Just saying.)

simplezz said,
Is Java ideal? No. Oracle has some patents, but they were thrown out of the Google case.

Ahh well that makes it ok then. ;) Let's all just hope they never win a lawsuit.

simplezz said,
I'd still rather develop with Java than C# though. It's the native SDK for Android, the biggest mobile market.

Ugh, Java's on the decline, sorry, it's an awful language to work with. I'd personally rather use a much more productive toolset and still target that same biggest mobile market, thanks.

simplezz said,

Microsoft is listed there, yet it doesn't use C# when it writes its Android and iOS apps. Unless you can provide examples where it does? So basically that list is meaningless..

How do you know they don't?
Do you know how Xamarin works?

deadonthefloor said,

How do you know the original source isn't C#?

Well Microsoft's Android apps aren't from what I can tell. They look like regular Android apps. Unless you have source to prove otherwise, I'm assuming they are native.

deadonthefloor said,

Well I guess we should all take your word and move our hundreds of thousands of lines of pre-existing C# code to Java.

That's your mistake then for using C# in the first place ;) There are probably converters out there anyway.

deadonthefloor said,

Or wait, nah, I'll just use Xamarin and reduce my time to market when targeting the only screens tha matter.

You sound like you write adverts for Xamarin and Microsoft lol. Good luck with that :D

simplezz said,

Well Microsoft's Android apps aren't from what I can tell. They look like regular Android apps.

That's how Xamarin works.
I maintain C# code, Xamarin compiles platform specific java / objective-c.
Xamarin wraps every Obj-C API in the iOS SDK and every Java API in Android SDK in C#.
When Xamarin compiler runs, it removes the abstraction to compile native for the platform.

So, no, you wouldn't know as an end user tearing apart the APK.

deadonthefloor said,

That's how Xamarin works.
I maintain C# code, Xamarin compiles platform specific java / objective-c.
Xamarin wraps every Obj-C API in the iOS SDK and every Java API in Android SDK in C#.
When Xamarin compiler runs, it removes the abstraction to compile native for the platform.
So, no, you wouldn't know as an end user tearing apart the APK.

You could be right, I don't know the details of Xamarin or the conversion process . However, It still doesn't mean this app or the others Microsoft produces are written in C#.

I have little interest in it because I write my code in Java or C.

simplezz said,
However, It still doesn't mean this app or the others Microsoft produces are written in C#.

Doesn't exclude the possibility either.

simplezz said,
I have little interest in it because I write my code in Java or C.

*slow clap*
Well that's fantastic for you. Don't call out another language as garbage if you don't intend to use it. Those of us who do use it enjoy a rich language with features and constructs missing from Java and C.

simplezz said,

None of which are Java or Objective C.

you spread misinformation, I corrected you on it.

simplezz said,

Besides, it's not even that, it's the god awful API's and Microsoft's C lib implementation that are the problem. I wouldn't touch them with ten foot barge pole.

that's hardcore.

simplezz said,

I can write Java Android and iOS applications, so why bother with C#?

I can write javascript and html applications that run on windows/phone,ios,android,and the web, so why bother with java and objective c?

So, Microsoft will be targeting competing mobile platforms first and treating Windows Phone as an "after its made it elsewhere" sort of deal...

:/

LogicalApex said,
So, Microsoft will be targeting competing mobile platforms first and treating Windows Phone as an "after its made it elsewhere" sort of deal...
:/

Well it makes sense. iOS and Apple are seen as a cool brand. So if an app takes off there, it might warrant further investment and porting to other platforms.

No it doesn't mean that. it means Microsoft will target platforms with most users or in another word go where the money is which make sense to me. I think satya doing great job. meanwhile they have to make their platform as good, look at wp 8.1 update. its a damn good update compare to prev. GDR updates

trojan_market said,
No it doesn't mean that. it means Microsoft will target platforms with most users

Well then they picked the wrong platform there lol.

trojan_market said,

or in another word go where the money is which make sense to me.

Isn't the app free? Pretty sure this is just a testbed, not designed to make money from the get-go.

trojan_market said,

I think satya doing great job.

I have to admit, Satya seems like he knows his stuff. A good choice as CEO. That being said, he's got an uphill battle here trying to make Microsoft relevant again.

trojan_market said,

meanwhile they have to make their platform as good, look at wp 8.1 update. its a damn good update compare to prev. GDR updates

Feature parity isn't enough for a 2% marketshare OS.

simplezz said,

Well then they picked the wrong platform there lol.


Isn't the app free? Pretty sure this is just a testbed, not designed to make money from the get-go.


I have to admit, Satya seems like he knows his stuff. A good choice as CEO. That being said, he's got an uphill battle here trying to make Microsoft relevant again.


Feature parity isn't enough for a 2% marketshare OS.


as a matter of fact according to statistics iphone users spend more money buying stuff either app or in-app purchase stuff so they did pick the right platform. the app might be free but still they will benefir from it down the road somehow. Microsoft is still relevant in many areas. cloud business alone they have the best option (with most potential) . consumer business is not as stable as backend services business. backend is always there and will be but consumers swing around based on taste and fashion trend. one day samsung, one day apple, one day HTC and so on... but backend does stay

LogicalApex said,
...

After reading the response from MS, it feels to me more that Microsoft developers think iOS users are most likely to be interested in celebrity lifestyle over other phone users.

Not really a whose platform first deal, just an insult to iOS users.

simplezz said,

Well it makes sense. iOS and Apple are seen as a cool brand. So if an app takes off there, it might warrant further investment and porting to other platforms.

That is rubbish! The new policy doesn't make any sense! That is like Nadella saying to Microsoft customers and developers: don't target the Windows platform first, target the largest platforms instead. In other words, if MS builds a new platform or service, its customers should ignore it, and pursue its competitors platforms / services because they are bigger and more established. So why are we all here supporting Window Phone and Windows 8, when Microsoft expects us to ignore them, (just like Microsoft is ignoring them) and support its competitors platforms, because they are bigger? This is not free thinking: this is idiocy!

Developers! Ignore Azure as a development platform, because you should follow MS' example and go with AWS, because it is bigger and more established! I have never heard of such stupidity from a company!

trojan_market said,
No it doesn't mean that. it means Microsoft will target platforms with most users or in another word go where the money is which make sense to me. I think satya doing great job. meanwhile they have to make their platform as good, look at wp 8.1 update. its a damn good update compare to prev. GDR updates
Apple users monetize higher than Android or WP, but tha might not be relevant here. However, it could simply be that it was made for iOS, and since there's less hardware variation compared to Android it'll be easier to test than Android, plus there's more people than WP. I remember Quake 3 started its beta on Mac, for instance, because the hey could focus on a narrower hardware range first.

trojan_market said,

as a matter of fact according to statistics iphone users spend more money buying stuff either app or in-app purchase stuff so they did pick the right platform. the app might be free but still they will benefir from it down the road somehow. Microsoft is still relevant in many areas. cloud business alone they have the best option (with most potential) . consumer business is not as stable as backend services business. backend is always there and will be but consumers swing around based on taste and fashion trend. one day samsung, one day apple, one day HTC and so on... but backend does stay

45% more revenue per user than android, to be exact, and not to mention Windows Phone market share actually declined in Europe.

It's quite clear WP won't take off. It came out virtually the same time as the iPad, and look how different both are in terms of success. It was originally targeted as a high end platform but failed it that respect. Now they're stuck with selling cheap phones to poor people in the middle east (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28739680), and a few fanboys on Neowin.

It should have been Microsoft + Apple and not IBM in the new MobileFirst initiative (http://www.ibm.com/mobilefirst/us/en/), but they screwed up. Satya is doing to prudent thing now in order to recover ground; or maybe he's just an "iSheep"?

LogicalApex said,
So, Microsoft will be targeting competing mobile platforms first and treating Windows Phone as an "after its made it elsewhere" sort of deal...

:/

I don't mind that, as long the application for Windows Phone will follow fast and not take months or years to hit the store. Also would I love to see to see some exclusives features, in the way of; "Hey? You like this app but also love to see last known locations of the celebrities? Then get a Windows Phone!".