Windows Phone 8.1 supports Passbook, but will Apple put a halt to it?

The release today of the developer preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 doesn't include everything that will be put into the final release of the mobile OS, such as the lock screen themes app. However, it does include one unexpected addition: support for the Passbook mobile payment system that Apple developed for its iOS devices.

Passbook officially launched in 2012 when Apple released iOS 6. It uses bar codes to store coupons, tickets and boarding passes, among other things. The Verge's Tom Warren first posted up word that Windows Phone 8.1 supported Passbook on his Twitter accountAccording to WPCentral, Microsoft has taken the same Passbook data used to make a card on iOS devices and modified it to create the same card on a Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone via Microsoft Wallet.

While Passbook may work in the developer preview version of Windows Phone 8.1, it's not clear yet if Microsoft and Apple have worked together to add this feature or if Microsoft has put in Passbook support on its own, without the knowledge or approval from Apple. We have contacted both companies to see if they wish to comment on this matter.

Source: Tom Warren on Twitter and WPCentral

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Passbook files are incredibly easy to read even as a human, there's nothing special about them. There are tons of Android apps too that support Passbook files just fine. It's a good idea to implement it and there's little Apple can and should do. The more uses Passbook becomes the more services will start to offer it.

They are just using the same barcodes, what's Apple gonna do? Forbid Microsoft to make Windows Phone capable to scan bar codes? After all, this gives the system a wider reach, so it might get more popular.

Is this not just an extension to the Wallet feature. And are these something Apple syncs through iCloud. Because iCloud is supported now, maybe this comes with it?

Wait...why is this an Apple thing exactly?

There were apps well before Apple's passbook that did exactly the same thing. You entered the number or the barcode and it would generate a digital barcode and you could then store it. Then you just scan that instead of having to dig out the card. The only thing different between that third apps and Apple's passbook were the geolocation.

Apple didn't invent it and nor is it an Apple only thing. So stop acting like it is.

-Razorfold said,
Wait...why is this an Apple thing exactly?

There were apps well before Apple's passbook that did exactly the same thing. You entered the number or the barcode and it would generate a digital barcode and you could then store it. Then you just scan that instead of having to dig out the card. The only thing different between that third apps and Apple's passbook were the geolocation.

Apple didn't invent it and nor is it an Apple only thing. So stop acting like it is.


This story isn't about Apple trying to claim that they were the first to invent barcode-storing apps or that they have some sort of ownership over all barcodes and barcode-storing methods. This is about WP8.1 allowing users to add passes, which were intended specifically for Apple's Passbook iOS app, to the Microsoft Wallet app.

Edited by zhangm, Apr 14 2014, 11:20pm :

Those passbook passes aren't anything special. There are apps going all the back to 2009/2010 that did exactly the same thing and generated exactly the same code. And this was 2 years before Passbook was even announced.

It isn't anything revolutionary and it isn't something that Apple created, though the geolocation that passbook supports is a neat idea. Hence my post.

Edited by zhangm, Apr 14 2014, 11:00pm :

-Razorfold said,

Those passbook passes aren't anything special. There are apps going all the back to 2009/2010 that did exactly the same thing and generated exactly the same code. And this was 2 years before Passbook was even announced.

It isn't anything revolutionary and it isn't something that Apple created, though the geolocation that passbook supports is a neat idea. Hence my post.


the passes are special in that they are FORMATTED FOR PASSBOOK and now they can be read and stored on a WP device

Edited by zhangm, Apr 14 2014, 11:12pm :

Co_Co said,

the passes are special in that they are FORMATTED FOR PASSBOOK and now they can be read and stored on a WP device

So essentially it's a pass that is no different to the ones that existed before it...except that it has Apple's proprietary format. Alright then my bad but my post is still pretty accurate, they didn't invent the app just made their own format for something that already existed.

That said there are quite a lot of Android apps that already support Passbook too and even Samsung made their own copy. Apple didn't go after any of them, so why would they go after MS...a company they have a cross-licensing patent deal with.

-Razorfold said,

So essentially it's a pass that is no different to the ones that existed before it...except that it has Apple's blessing now.

There are quite a lot of Android apps that already support it too and Samsung made their own copy too. Apple didn't go after any of them, so why would they go after MS...a company they have a cross-licensing patent deal with.


not blessing please think about what you're trying to argue. its an file that contains html, javascript, css etc in way that the passbook app can interpret to show a "ticket" or card with specific look and feel and a barcode along with other location data if needed etc.

its not just barcode.gif , no one is saying apple invented the barcode but the standard packaging and file format used by the passbook app. big companies adopted it bc apple has a huge user base and it was standardized so it was more likely to be used by the masses than downloading 6 different ticketing, pass, giftcard apps

-Razorfold said,

Those passbook passes aren't anything special.

WP8.1 is generating passes for its own app by reading data meant for Apple's Passbook app, rather than any generic pass-storing app. It's irrelevant that you feel that said data isn't anything special or that there are apps that have similar functionality to Passbook and predate it.

Edited by zhangm, Apr 14 2014, 11:06pm :

not blessing please think about what you're trying to argue. its an file that contains html, javascript, css etc in way that the passbook app can interpret to show a "ticket" or card with specific look and feel and a barcode along with other location data if needed etc.

I edited my post 5 mins before yours.

"Apple made their own format for something that already existed"

It's still the exact same data that apps like Keyring and Cardstar use. It's just presented in a nicer format with geolocation.

Nope, still you. It's clear that you're incapable of understanding the reading material presented to you. I'll repeat one last time - WP8.1 is generating passes for its own app by reading data meant for Apple's Passbook app, rather than any generic pass-storing app. It's irrelevant that you feel that said data isn't anything special or that there are apps that have similar functionality to Passbook and predate it.

And just like I already mentioned there are already apps on Android (even one from Samsung) that do just that. Apple didn't go after them in 2 years, and they won't go after Microsoft...a company they have a cross licensing deal with.

Edited by zhangm, Apr 14 2014, 11:25pm :

-Razorfold said,

And just like I already mentioned there are already apps on Android (even one from Samsung) that do just that. Apple didn't go after them in 2 years, and they won't go after Microsoft...a company they have a cross licensing deal with.

Where did I say that Apple was planning to sue Microsoft or anyone else? You're the one who brought up the whole "Apple didn't invent X feature... it's been around for years" rhetoric. Go and look back at your original post and you'll see that you didn't know what you were talking about. It has been clarified to you that it's "an Apple thing", because it's a Passbook thing. Any other waffle that you've mentioned is largely irrelevant to that latter point.

Edited by zhangm, Apr 14 2014, 11:44pm :

Where did I say that Apple was planning to sue Microsoft or anyone else? You're the one who brought up the whole "Apple didn't invent X feature... it's been around for years" rhetoric. Go and look back at your original post and you'll see that you didn't know what you were talking about. It has been clarified to you that it's "an Apple thing", because it's a Passbook thing. Any other waffle that you've mentioned is largely irrelevant to that latter point.

I never said you did? The original article talks about how Apple might halt it which is utter rubbish.

And yet again Apple didn't invent it. The CODES ARE EXACTLY THE SAME. The only thing different is the format they are presented in, which like I already said is nicer than some of the other apps.

On a similar note, I've been wondering/waiting to see if Apple will allow Windows Phone to be cross-compatible with "FaceTime" calls... integrating FaceTime support into Skype perhaps, or at least having it as an option when making a call.

Microsoft and Apple have a cross-licensing agreement in place. I would be shocked if this was a concern to anyone at Apple. Actually I would expect that this is a welcomed development.

Microsoft, for the time being, is Apple's friend. They need Microsoft to up-end Google on the low-end side of the handset market, where Apple has very little interest. Microsoft making Windows free to OEMs for devices smaller than 8" is part of this strategy. Android now costs more for OEMs than Windows Phone does, since ironically, OEMs are paying Microsoft licensing fees for patents infringed on by Android.

I predict you see much more synergy between Microsoft and Apple in the future, not less, like the recent Office release. This helps Apple again, as another offering on their platform as an alternative to Google Docs.