With Windows 10 release, it would be perhaps the last chance for Microsoft to fill or reduce the app gap and attract more developers.
One more year is down the road, and Microsoft is likely to compete with the virtually invincible rivals. Although 2014 wasn’t that good year for Microsoft, but the company has not given up and has a few plans to attract more developers to close – more precisely “reduce” – the app gap problem.
According to the official stats for first nine months of 2014, both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store collectively have a total of 525,000 apps, but the Google Play and Apple’s App Store still exceed with more than 1.3 million apps individually. However, the Redmond Company offers almost all popular apps, and the number game plays for iOS and Android. Simply, more apps means more users and more users more profits for developers.
Todd Brix, Microsoft’s General Manager of its Windows Apps and Store Team, has shared some stats about Windows Store downloads and sales in a related blog post today, “We began the year with a commitment to create opportunities for developers with Windows Store. We made good progress by both attracting over 30% more active users and by exceeding a 110% year-over-year increase in app downloads and gross sales. In addition the ecosystem has grown, with an 80% increase in registered developers and 60% increase in app selection year-over-year.”
So, here is the Plan A. Encourage developers for the Windows platform. Developers can publish apps for both PCs and phones with a single account since November 2013. In April 2014, Microsoft also introduced the first of its kind ‘universal app’ to unify the two distinct platforms, which allows devs to ‘code once and run everywhere’ the app. However, the final step has yet to be taken with Windows 10 when Windows Store and Windows Phone Store will be turned into a singleton store.
Perhaps, Microsoft strongly believes that the number of apps is not the synonymous of the quality apps, but two stores collectively couldn’t beat the fact that their apps are not only severely lacking, but also dead apps.
According to rumors, there’s a Plan B too. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley claims, as per her unnamed trusted sources, Microsoft is still considering ‘sideloading’ Android apps in Windows 10, like BlackBerry 10 OS does.
Foley also posted an excerpt of an email sent to employees by Guggenheimer, the head of Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) that reads, “DX has built a global ISV management capability over the past 18 months and now we will extend that capability to manage top ISVs in the field. In partnership with WPG (Worldwide Partner Group), we will also develop a broad programmatic approach to reach and engage a broader set of ISVs that scales from higher touch programs and offers through to self-service with MPN (Microsoft Partner Network). We must be selective in how we look at ISVs to drive the greatest adoption of our cloud and mobile platforms. We will no longer define ISVs in the traditional sense.”
In short, in addition to traditional client/server ISVs, Microsoft now turns its focus to students, startups, and developers to push them towards their cloud and mobile platforms through co-marketing and promotions.