Microsoft is a different company from how it was five years ago. With open sourcing IP, a mobile phone platform that holds a small percentage of the market and a new business model for many of its products, nothing is surprising anymore.
The conversation around Android apps on Windows is not new - we have been hearing this for some time - but after poking the Microsoft fire in a few different spots, we are hearing again that the topic is still very much alive.
The current Windows Store development community is quite small, even if you include the Windows Phone devs, when compared to the iOS community and Android. Microsoft knows this and the Windows Store is still not filled with quality apps. Yes, there are large numbers of apps in there but there is also a lot of crap like an SNES emulator that is in no-way legal. But it’s a numbers game here for Microsoft - if they blow out all the crap apps, the store will be a barren desert as opposed to junkyard with a few gems sprinkled about.
You might say that’s a bit harsh but the reality of it is, the Windows Store community never developed like Microsoft expected, which is one of the reasons Windows RT did not explode in popularity despite having tangible benefits of its x86/x64 brother.
And what’s the benefit of building for the Windows Store? If you can build an app for Windows and sell it through your own channels, you don’t have to give the company a cut of the revenue but you do lose out discoverability aspects of being in the Windows Store but that’s likely a risk developers are willing to take.
How would the apps work and what’s the process? Well, this is where it gets a bit interesting as Microsoft would not tie in to the Google Play store but require Android apps to be ported to its environment then allow the apps to run on Windows. The porting process would bring the apps into Microsoft’s controlled world.
As many have said already, this move would be a huge boost for consumers and a big kick in the gut for Windows developers. To still encourage Windows app development, Microsoft would pitch the benefits of native code and by providing additional resources too.
While it seems easy to dismiss this idea as something that would be foolish for Microsoft, the decision-making process inside the company has changed radically in the last eight months. The company wants its software and apps everywhere and to give consumers the best experience possible. With the app gap on Windows and Windows Phone still an issue a couple years after launching, a change in strategy may be in the cards for Microsoft.