Microsoft removes blog post on 'BootyBay' sideloading project

Technically, it's possible for businesses to release their own apps for Windows 8 to employees outside of the public Windows Store. In practice, sideloading apps for small and medium-sized companies has turned out to be cost prohibitive and as a result, there's been little activity on that front.

A Microsoft team in China has apparently been working on a better way to sideload Windows 8 apps, but as ZDNet reports, those efforts have now been publicly silenced, at least for now. Earlier this week, the Microsoft Lighthouse blog posted up details on what the Chinese team called "BootyBay", a reference to a town in the massively multiplayer game World of Warcraft.

The blog post said that this proof of concept was designed for businesses who cannot access the current sideloading solutions Microsoft offers via System Center or Windows Intune. The team even uploaded an alpha version of "BootyBay" to Codeplex, which included a Windows 8 app that acts as a private Windows Store, a desktop application that serves as a "Store Agent" and an ASP.Net MVC app that's made to be a store server.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Apparently it was too good for Microsoft as both the blog post and the Codeplex alpha code have now both been removed. A spokesperson repeated the current Windows 8 app sideloading solutions to ZDNet but would not comment if the company has plans to make those features easier, and cheaper, to access. Perhaps more information will be revealed at BUILD 2014 in April.

Source: ZDNet

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16 Comments

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One of the reasons that Metro apps have struggled to catch on is because Microsoft requires them to be distributed via their Store. That means that Microsoft gets a large cut of every Metro app sold. Companies like Adobe have no incentive to support it when they can sell direct to consumers and keep the money themselves.

Microsoft's arrogance has cost it dearly this cycle.

theyarecomingforyou said,
One of the reasons that Metro apps have struggled to catch on is because Microsoft requires them to be distributed via their Store. That means that Microsoft gets a large cut of every Metro app sold. Companies like Adobe have no incentive to support it when they can sell direct to consumers and keep the money themselves.

Microsoft's arrogance has cost it dearly this cycle.

This is no different from the Apple App Store. Seems to have caught on fine there. This is for businesses that use their own custom apps, not for consumers.

Eric said,
This is no different from the Apple App Store. Seems to have caught on fine there. This is for businesses that use their own custom apps, not for consumers.

The difference is that Windows has always been an open platform; that isn't true of iOS.

Why should businesses be the only ones allowed to sideload apps?
What Microsoft needs is an Android style toggle somewhere in system preferences to allow users to install apps from binary packages from any source, as opposed to only those signed by Microsoft.
It's not like Windows 8/Metro is being so successful it doesn't need any support it can get - heck, Valve created Steam OS because Microsoft refuses to allow users to sideload.

So instead of giving business better and less costly ways to sideloading apps, they kill it with fire.
I have a few clients that would LOVE to build apps to use internally on their Surfaces; too bad that it's so damn complicated and costly that those same clients are gonna switch this year to Android because the apps model is pretty much painless.

Any proof they killed it? Lots of people including me are hoping they just didn't want an unauthorized release of alpha or beta code being misused or creating a bad impression, and will release it soon once they've finished polishing it. Clearly they realize it's required which is why they have people working on it.

its really bad for Microsoft because MS stupidly want companies to upload their private programs to the windows store, yeah right.

But such program like 'BootyBay' definitely are awesome for business companies.

This is one of the reasons my company switched to Android. We have internal apps that were originally developed on Windows Mobile (up to 6.x). When Windows Phone 7 came out and wasn't compatible we started to rewrite them but didn't finish before Windows Phone 8 was announced. Due to incompatibilities and the restrictions on side loading we ended up switching to Android only mobile development, despite being a primarily MS shop on Desktops and Servers. Now with rumors that Windows Phone 9 may again use a new set of APIs (compatible with RT?) it looks like we made the right call. I think there are a fair amount of people here that would still like to use MS on mobile but as long as we can't side load easily that isn't going to happen. I doubt we're alone in that.

I don't think you understand API vs Kernel. WP 7 was CE based and WP 8 is NT based, APIs don't change that and therefore WP 9 will be compatible with WP 8 ore Microsoft would be shooting itself in the foot badly.

Bertch said,
This is for Windows 8 not for Windows Phone 7/8/9.

Wow, can't believe I missed that. That would be an epic fail in reading comprehension on my part.

ians18 said,
I don't think you understand API vs Kernel. WP 7 was CE based and WP 8 is NT based, APIs don't change that and therefore WP 9 will be compatible with WP 8 ore Microsoft would be shooting itself in the foot badly.

I absolutely do understand the difference between API vs Kernel. Going from Windows Mobile 6.x to Windows Phone 7 broke everything and it had to be rewritten. From Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 was nowhere near as bad but it was just a few new APIs added on there were several breaking changes, much more than any move between versions of Android. Now the rumor is (and it IS just rumor) that Windows Phone 9 will merge with the RT API which is NOT the same the Windows Phone 8 API even though they look similar to users. Now sure MS will almost certainly continue to support the Windows Phone 8 API on the Windows Phone 9 devices for legacy support but who wants to keep having their apps just supported on legacy APIs instead of on the current one. Android on the other hand very rare causes breaking changes. Most of the changes occur by simply ADDING APIs to what already exists or changing how the API works under the hood but keeping the same interface. Android 2.x apps primarily use a subset of the same APIs Android 4.x apps, they obviously don't use any of the newer features added after 2.0 but they share a common core. That's how Win32 programming worked, that's how Windows Mobile programming worked, but MS keeps rebooting things with Windows Phone instead of gradually building off a primarily stable core.

They better make them easier.

We have a few internal apps that would make excellent W8 Metro apps, but I don't want to pay more for the sideloading license than the $250 tablet I planned to run it on.