Lack of apps was the death of Windows Phone OS. Lack of apps was the death of Windows RT. Now, Microsoft is set to rescue Windows 10 S from a fate worse than death, by wrapping Android apps in a Windows container in the Microsoft Store.
Death of a platform
Like so many deaths at a funeral, Microsoft had a history of killing great ideas.
"Long" is the simple way to define the history of dead platforms at Microsoft. DOS, Windows for WorkGroups, Windows 2000, Windows ME (thank goodness), Danger, Kin, Zune, Windows RT, [insert name here: the project that was after Windows RT but before Xbox One], the great Nokia experiment, followed by the complete death of Windows Phone OS.
My favourite was the Squircle, the squared-off circle button on the Zune music player.
Life of a platform
Windows 10 and its iterations have been the stand-out success story to come out Redmond in a very long time. While we can largely thank Satya Nadella for leading that charge, some credit must also go to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.
Windows Azure and the 'cloud' teams inside Microsoft have been another stand-out success, again led by Satya Nadella before he became CEO.
Other successes include Surface, led by Panos Panay, and Xbox, led by various luminaries on a solid road to success, before being forced to intersect with WIndows Core.
Windows 10 S, may or may not succeed. Everyone wants to forget about Windows RT. While some aspects of 10 S appear to have similar lock-ins to those of RT, there's an escape hatch in the form of an easy upgrade to full Windows 10 Pro, with the caveat of not being able to run 32bit apps.
The death of all previous Microsoft platforms came down to apps. Windows RT died due to lack of apps. Windows Phone OS died due to lack of apps (and Windows Phone 7 customers not being able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 without buying a new phone).
Windows 10 S has a similar problem.
All the containers, wrappers, bridges, drawbridges, canals, moats, and other obstacles/work-arounds/limitations/incompatibilities/no-you-can't/yes-you-still-can't roadblocks form a series of swings and roundabouts that even the most seasoned Microsoft professionals would consider 'excessive'.
Oh the joy of installing Windows 3.1 from eight 3.5" floppy disks.
OneStore for All
Now we see the answer. OneStore for all.
In the same vein as OneDrive, OneNote, OneNote 2 and OneNote 3, and OneCore, OneStore is heralded as the answer to the app gap.
Kill all the bridges and drawbridges, buy Xamarin, add some special sauce, and simply wrap Android apps in a Microsoft container and put them on the WIndows Store. Make them compatible with everything, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 S and Windows on ARM. Better yet, make everything work with Windows Core and eliminate the problem before solving it.
Until next time,
Xavier ZymantasXYZtech XYZ Media Group
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