Skip to main content

Microsoft already has the tools it needs to address the Windows 'app gap'

Once upon a time, personal computing was virtually synonymous with Windows. The 16 million Win32 Windows programs that developers created over the life of Microsoft's desktop OS are a testament of this. But nothing lasts forever.

Microsoft's struggling UWP is strategically positioned to address the company's challenges in mobile and to modernize its desktop platform. Its "One Windows" vision creates a shared developer platform, Store and user experience (unlike rivals' multiple OSes for different device types) for all devices.

Microsoft's developer and ecosystem problems affect its entire device family, not just phones. Success or failure with building developer relationships will have a profound impact on Microsoft's personal computing future. It seems, however, that Microsoft isn't utilizing its available tools to their full capacity to address the issue.

Examining Xamarin

Microsoft's 2016 acquisition of Xamarin signaled Microsoft might integrate Xamarin's tools with its universal app development tools in a way not previously implemented.

Xamarin allows mobile app developers to use C# to target multiple platforms at once. With Visual Studio and UWP, Microsoft could potentially use Xamarin to position Microsoft as the platform for mobile app development. The ability to use a single tool to target all mobile platforms as a single mobile target positions Microsoft to affect the way developers think about mobile. Using Xamarin to develop for a single Windows-Android-iOS target elevates Windows (or UWP) to the same level as iOS and Android.

With Xamarin Microsoft is equipped to attempt to change developers' perception of mobile development from the current disparate iOS and Android duopoly view to a composite Windows-Android-iOS mobile platform perspective.

Why 'Xamarin' is the future of mobile for Microsoft

The Magic of Wand

Wand Labs, which Microsoft acquired in 2016, offers a messenger-based approach to app usage. Created by Vishal Sharma, an ex-Google employee, Wand's messenger-based technology potentially fits well within Microsoft's "Conversations as a Platform" strategy.

Wand's goal was to circumvent the need to install apps and address the difficulty of sharing information stored within them. It does this by breaking apps into components called "atoms" and by converting an app's information into virtual apps that then reside in Wand's plugin. "Atoms" are a user's instance of the app. A song atom, therefore, could be shared with a person who doesn't have the app, and the receiver could then play the song via an app capable of understanding the atom.

After Wand's acquisition Sharma said

Back in 2013, my team and I embarked ... to integrate services into the chat experience ... to leverage mobile scale, natural language capabilities, and third-party services to enable users to easily access and share any authorized service or device.

Bots and Wand would use messaging as part of Microsoft's conversations as a canvas strategy.

Bots and Wand would use messaging as part of Microsoft's conversations as a canvas strategy.

As part of Microsoft's platform play to use messenger platforms to "do things" via bots and AI, Wand's messengers-based solution seems a perfect fit to help address, at least in part, the app problem.

So where's the magic?

Addressing the app gap: Wand

App bridges and progressive web apps

In 2015, Microsoft introduced app bridges. The Android bridge Astoria was canceled. The remaining bridges allow iOS, Win32, and Web developers to bring apps to UWP via the Islandwood, Project Centennial and Westminster bridges, respectively.

Project Centennial has seen the most activity of the three bridges with announcements and sessions at Build 2017. Microsoft's Principal Program Lead Stefan Wick has also provided updates on Project Centennial via LinkedIn. With the launch of Windows 10 S, coming cellular PCs and a potential ultramobile PC to follow, a modernized desktop experience via Centennial apps is paramount.

Microsoft's recent embrace of Google's Progressive Web Apps (PWA) which makes web-based experience's more app-like, is a sign that we may see more activity with Westminster. Westminster allows developers to convert a progressive web-app page to UWP enabling functions like notifications, Cortana integration, live tiles and more.

The untold app gap story: The mobile web

Since much of our app behavior revolves around just six core apps and mobile web properties are engaged at higher rates than apps, Westminster and progressive web apps may help Microsoft bridge the app gap.

Mobile web versus apps.

Mobile web versus apps.

If Microsoft puts its weight behind Xamarin, Wand, the app Bridges and bots, it may make progress in building developer relationships that will help it bridge the app gap. If it doesn't, the story of these investments may remain perpetual "what ifs" long into the future.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

168 Comments
  • Yes, but as pointed out in the forums, thanks to Nutella, apps aren't the problem anymore.
  • Do you want a future mobile device running full Windows, adapted for mobile, inside innovative Surface hardware?
  • Don't know I'd trust dumping that much into a device under this clown. Already been through this, not going through throwing money at something they are looking to drop support for before they even launch it.
  • Lol... The way I see it is that we've already been using PC's running Windows for decades, with much success. This would just be a very small one that's connected in more ways than 1.... I don't see the risk in that, versus any other Surface product. Why would a Windows PC all of the sudden be abandoned?
  • Read between the lines dude 🙄🙄. He said anything under Nutella.....
    Can you count how many products have been abandonded just from 2010
  • The PC market is rapidly evaporating.  For the last 6 years it has declined, and continues to decline each successive year at a greater pace.
  • I know I don't want that device.  Running full windows in a mobile device is useless.  Windows as an operating system is design for static computing NOT mobile computing...
  • Tooth decay is.
  • What this poor excuse of a CEO and the always brainlessly babbling Mr. Ward don't manage to grasp is that NO developer in the world will be caring anymore to target a Windows (or any other future Microsoft platform), after they've been burned so badly by Microsoft. Developers will not forget how Microsoft left Windows Mobile, and thus all the hard work app developers invested in this platform, in the cold to die, no matter how easy and convenient (future) development tools might be.
    And THIS, the severe thrashing of developers, will be the reason Microsoft will never ever get a foot back on the ground in any matter where third-party-developers are needed. They will NEVER trust Microsoft again, that FUTURE development and investment in Microsoft's ecosystem won't be futile and lost money AGAIN. This is a caveat that could have been circumvented if Microsoft would have remained full steam on EVERYTHING Windows (INCLUDING Mobile) until the replacement (Andromeda style componented Windows on Arm) would be ready to be released to the market.
  • But they don't have the ability to expand people's perception of the platform at this point, and even if developers do make cross-platform Apps using tools like Xamarin, they can't get their hands on actual devices to know what users of the platform actually want out of the UI/UX.
  • I moved from Windows Mobile 6 to 6.5 to 7 to 8 to 8.1 to 10 and never have any of the Apps on those platforms felt as integrated as they do on Android where I picked up on 7.1/8 with a Pixel XL. Microsoft keeps lagging behind in APIs for software integration, and no longer has solid, easy to implement fundamentals of design that are unique to the platform. Even paradigms that are tried and true are lesser adopted on Windows 10 Mobile...such as pull to refresh. It took forever for something so intuitive to come to apps on W10M. It must not be the tools thats the problem here.
  • Basic yet useful features always take forever to come to Microsoft products. Look at any of their products, such as Edge. They focus on useless gimiccs (Web annotation), instead of necessary basics, like favourite management, extensions and download location. Heck only in Fall Creators update will Edge allow us to edit the URLs of favourites! Thats more than 2 years after its release! Heck they wonder why nobody likes that stupid Paint 3D... Well ignore the horrible touch UI, let's look at basics like Multi-Window support. SO MANY UWP apps do not support this! It's ridiculous. Heck this should be enabled by default on a system level, not something that a developer should enable manually.
  • There is no gestures in windows mobile os compared to the leaders
  • Its also a pretty big thing to ask developers to learn a new tool. (Ask Silverlight developers) And for what? So you can target windows? Why? I suppose coding for iOS and Android simultaneously could be an attraction, but they arent going to get any interest in building anything for Windows. Even if they use Xamarin, they probably wont even bother publishing to the Windows store. 
  • Absolutely, the reason UWP hasnt taken off is because there isnt the herdare to target the Uniiversaility of the platform to.... If all we are writing for is Windows 10 desktops (and laptops) then why write a universal app (apart from the fact that this is the new API). There is no WP platfoprm anymore - so why spend the time developing in UWP when you know the market is not there. For app developers market is everything. I wrote a UWP app after learning Xamarin - and the whole point of multi-device adaptability was moot since WP died along the way. Now my app doesnt get any downloads  - because who wants an app on a desktop when it was mainly targeted at a mobile situation - on the move - for phones? And lets not kid ourselves that it works on Hololens (not a consumer device yet), XBox (same problem as desktop not optimized for it in usability terms), iOT devices (I think even Microsoft has forgotten that as well). So at the end of the day you use Xamarin to write to desktops on Windows - and iOS and Android. But then you might as well use iOS or Android development tools itself.
  • Yup, also UWP was never a functional replacement for Win32, so if your deep in Win32 why would you ever bother with UWP especially now the Win Phone is dead. Ms needs to re-think it's strategy by either extending Win32 or coming up with a proper replacement for Win32 that is multi-arch supporting x86/Arm and heavily curate the Win/MS Store making it a best of Windows rather than an anything goes via it's secure UWP apps. Win32 is not going away and the Win/MS Store is only capable of getting anything of note that is Win32 based. So any future MS Phone is going to have to run Win32 desktop apps. So again why bother with UWP, this is what kills me when they are developing Arm PC's but word is you wont be able to make Win32 Arm apps only UWP ones.
  • Unfortunately yes, it's going to take time before UWP is able to fully replace win32. I feel like Microsoft creating something mulit-arch supporting would be an even more complicated and time consuming task than the route they are going with UWP. Win32 is definitely going away, just slowly. You're talking about decades of win32 being built up. I do not believe there is any fast way to fully replace win32 over night. 
  • Problem is with present implementation no way you could build an app like Adobe whatever. Why would someone recode complicated apps? For what? Even with the will there's no way to do it. Win32 is immensely more powerful then UWP in present day.
  • Not sure why a replacement for Win32 was needed at all, especially since they have never had a critical mass for any attempted replacement outside of .NET
  • When Microsoft themselves dont use these tools to create apps for their own ecosystem ($26 billion Linkedin) there's little chance any 3rd party developer will.
  • Good point.
  • This is such an important statement... until they develop all their apps in their own tools, the tools will never be good enough and app quailty poor.
  • I thought LinkedIn was up app on the desktop? I have the app. It's a version of uwp.
  • If we're talking about the same app, it's just the website wrapped in Electron (so having notifications), not UWP.
  • That app proudly retrenched by MS on my WP. Nice.
  • MS must show more interest in Windows as a mobile platform... Developers aren't going to develop for a platform that isn't in peoples pockets. That means Windows on mobile devices is necessary.
  • Totally couldn't agree more.
  • Right, so now they have the tools, but no platform anymore...
  • Nor do they want to!
  • CAME FROM NADELLA'S OWN MOUTH DOWNVOTERS....He do not want a third system in moble...jesus fanboys  open your eyes...
  • THAT is the SAD truth.
  • One thing to remember, as I pointed out in the beginning its notjust about phones. The UWP needs developer support. This is about their entire ecosystem, thier universal platform that includes PC, tablets, 2-in-1s, HoloLens, IoT as well as phones (for the time being.)
  • Again, how about they start with their own apps? https://www.windowscentral.com/mixer-bringing-near-real-time-streaming-i.... Not even a Windows 10 app?
  • It is only a matter of time before Microsoft drops UWP. They are doing the same thing they did with mobile. Slowing down support, not focusing it and eventually rebooting. Actions speak louder than words and Microsoft's actions and words don't seem to support UWP very heavily.
  • Currently there is no sign. Actually they have transferred significant portion of Winodws to UWP already (Start menu), and soon Windows will be fully UWP (C-shell). So simply no, they have built Windows on foundations of UWP and they can't step back. How much they will promote Windows Store and what happens with it is another question, but it still seems not to be removed soon -  I would say that the fact that they have launched Windows 10 S targeted to education pretty much grants that the Store will be alive at least for 5 years.
  • We are using the same Windows OS? of you're using the build in the Windows Insider program, almost all development in Windows is related directly to the Universal Windows Platform. The UWP is the last chance for keep Ms relevant in the computing world, evolve Windows to the next level and for last, get rid of the Win32 problems but keep it (centennial bridge). Here again, Cshell and Andromeda OS will play an important role. And probably we well see its beginning with Windows Redstone 4.
  • Jason, please dont regurgitate the Microsoft talking points. Who in their right mind will develop a UWP app and target Hololens when it is not yet a consuper product (limited reach and limited functions) uness you are targeting that iche itself. Same goes with iOT (in fact even Microsoft has forgotten about their iOT platform) - and there are no products based on it. For a general purpose developer, it all comes to market size and target demographics. There aint any for Hololens and iOT and Phones on Windows
  • Jason.. Do you happen to own any Surface device?
  • MS as a developer itself is not interested, now I know u wrote about it long back, from then and now, it only has shown more apathy towards its own platform and UWP which means your current piece is not valid anymore.
  • The entire MS mobile platform is a joke,so why would devs waste their time,energy and money, HoloLens, loT, seriously ! MS apologists are the only people suggesting the current situation/mess is viable, its not, its embarrassing how bad a position MS have put themselves into. There is no viable mobile solution without a phone platform, to suggest otherwise is farcical.  The only bigger joke was retrenchment, having shot themselves continually in the left foot, MS decided to take a shot gun to their right foot.
  • On my PC I hardly use any apps, and on my WP they were hardly available. IoT is mainly a school thing, starting your xbox to open an app isn't very practical either. Who would make apps for a platform they hardly get any revenue from?
  • Does nothing to address the mindshare gap, the follow-through gap, commitment gap, and marketing gap.....
  • Those are the gaps that have caused the app gap, regardless of what any idiot says.
    This is reality regardless of what any idiot says.
    Windows can't stay as relevant in the future without a mobile device, regardless of what any idiot says.
    MS needs a seriously attractive mobile device in order for developers to ever care, regardless of what any idiot says.....
    .......................................................................
  • Wow rodney,  use IDIOT a bit more...
  • Yes they can an will. Microsoft was faced with two choices - try to own a very small part of the device market and limit the usage of their enterprise services and apps or go after the big price - own the services that can be accessed by all devices. The big money is not the device OS. The big money is in the enterprise services. Microsoft's current financial performance demonstrates the value of their approach. If Balmer was left in charge he would have spent another $10+ billion and still only have about 1% market share and about 2-3% of the enterprise services market.
  • Pretty good article, as it shows that Microsoft has the tools... but for some bizarre reasons is not really utilising them to their full potential. Sure, conversations with can replace apps but... what are the users going to carry and use a device to communicate with lol. It's a sad state of affairs, this is really a circular argument that Microsoft had the momentum to address. They still can address it but they stifled the momentum they had and burned far too many bridges. So they will have a long way to go winning back any form of trust.
  • I suspect others here know better than I, but developers I work with have reported to me that Xamarin doesn't quite work with the Visual Studio tools to make UWP apps yet. They can see that it almost works, and you can do a basic "Hello, World!" app, but if you get much deeper, you run into problems. They describe it as still feeling very much like an alpha version. These are people who are Visual Studio fans who want to support coding using the MS tools.
  • It makes Universal apps, but using alternative technology.  E.g. the XAML in a Xamarin app is a different XAML to a pure UWP app.  There is there a new XAML coming...  All that doesn't actually matter though.  You can write a UWP app that runs on Windows and iOS and Android in one place which is the point of Xamarain.  They even run on IOT Windows. I know, because we write them. However Microsoft's tooling has been particularly painful over the last 3 years as PCLs and .NET Cores, project files and a bunch of junk mutated a lot.  It got to the point where one Visual Studio 2017 update would break apps building and the next would fix it as the tools changed.  A terriblely unreliable situation and a pain for developers. What they don't realize is that developers appreciate stability so they can get the best out of a set of technology.  And it's all changing too much at the moment, with compaibility issues everywhere.
  • @realwarder, that fits with what I heard, including that specific problem with VS 2017. Do you see things starting to stabilize or is it just as chaotic still?
  • XAML sucks... That lag and delay of the Windows 10 start screen...its built in XAML.
  • If XAML sucks then every native c# windows store app sucks. It's actually Microsoft that needs to needs to make it work better. 
  • Well said.
  • If Nadella told people right now that Microsoft was only interested in Cloud computing and making Office, Microsoft's stock would tank and people would abandon them.  So if he just keeps babbling on about how they're retrenching, changing direction, etc. until all that's left of their business is Cloud and Office, problem solved. I mean, they're even giving up on Cortana and having Amazon do it now.
  • If there is no mobile platform then why is there a need for apps?  In his interviews and book he has said there is no point of trying to be #3 and be so far behind.  Mobile is now a two horse race, Andriod and iOS.  If there is a future player, they will have to have such game changing technology that users on those platforms will be willing to give up their current ecosystems and apps.   Day one the new device and or marketplace would need the Top 25 most used apps on those other platforms available at launch otherwise it is none starter.
  • Agree that a mobile device is the most important device in the pot.
  • Without mobile, MS will become a cloud provider only.  That will be replaced by any competitor.  Business and personal are blurred with mobile - you are either in or out. Blackberry - they had security and lost out Nokia - huge market share - they lost it Android - will dominate. But MS has to try....and get back into mobile...Xbox?  Hololens?  Some combination?
  • They should fork Android and run it on the NT kernel with UWP libraries for developers who want to only make one app across platforms, and have Amazon as their main partner.  Microsoft could eventually wrestle Android control away from Google by bringing Samsung in on it.  Problem solved. But that ain't gonna happen.
  • The Windows Store, that Microsoft would like users access on 2-in-1s, laptops and PCs just as users soon iPads is the reason and the need for apps.
  • Well it's clear those tools won't come from that CEO on the caption.
    What's clear is the world is rejecting Windows Store apps, not Windows 10 Mobile. This iPhone CEO has no clue what the implications of this is.
  • @Hiswona. It's really apparent, Satya Nadella would rather focus on infrastructure (cloud - He is an Infrastructure engineer at heart) - as opposed to taking any form of risks. I can understand why, however risk aversion is the first process of become irrelevant. If something fails, you hold your hands up and say we will do better next time either by iterating (Surface) or taking the time to actually do some research and let a market mature (Hololens) - not axe the product (Band, Zune etc). But the latter is also dependent on many other factors.
  • Too little too late. Bill Gates uses Android. Microsoft makes excellent products, don't support them or market them, then abandons them. MS Band, anyone? I have used WM 6, 6.5, 7. 8, 10 and Band 2. If a company does not support its own products, why should I? Goodbye, Microsoft. Stick to software.
  • I immediately purchased the Xbox one X when it went up for preorder. I had the money and the 4k TV so why not. But what does give me a little anxiety is the knowledge that it's Microsoft that's making this thing. This isn't the inspirational and brave Microsoft from a few years ago. Now we have a Microsoft with its head in the clouds... Will they drop support for this in short time like they've done there products? May seem farfetched because Xbox is successful but again, this is Microsoft we are talking about
  • Phil Spencer is turning around XBOX after that gaffe that was the XBOX ONE launch. I don't like the reduced focus on unique gaming experience (read: Kinect) but providing DX12, performance gains, and easier access to the marketplace for developers is a great thing there. Not sure what roll Universal Games are playing though. I don't know any people that both game on PC and XBOX.
  • Their*... I preferred the Xbox one as it was introduced. The one we have now is the watered down version. That was the brave Microsoft. This one is just confused. Don't get me wrong, I love Xbox but i worry that the folks at the head of this thing will drop the ball
  • Most of the the people I know are PS4 user playing Xbox games on the PC like Forza. 
  • I play the same game on both platforms, it is dependant on whether my son is on the pc or xbones
  • Kinect says hi.
  • lol
  • perception of the platform would increase overtime as Microsoft eco loyalists funnel back to win10 phones and spread the word to people don't take word of mouth [or keyboard] lightly! the problem is Microsoft being unwilling to engage in using these tools and such at full force! they have the strength but lack the will!
  • It does not matter what they ship next as it will fail anyway sadly. What would imho work would be giving out or for some bargain cost providing the new "surface phone" to active insiders. And tune the device for at least half a year where they would respond and provide new builds with lighting fast speed. AND they would provide every popular app. Creating it themselves or pay for it... This would avoid fck up with 950 series... I would not buy anything first day again.
  • No, it doesn`t. Just take a look at the Apps currently available on all 3 platforms and see the quality difference between Android / iOS and Windows 10 ... Win 10 versions are just rubbish ... only Twitter and Whatsapp i can say they work fluid and fine .. the rest are just "wannabes" ... MS needs active involvement ... there are also issues where some things just don`t work or get stuck on Win ... i like how my Lumia 930 looks ... just works terrible at some things ... Lumia 950 ... a major let down ...
  • I recall using similar reasoning to buy a PC instead of a Mac -- of the few applications that were available on the Mac, they wer feature-limited compared to the Windows versions (except for a few art and design programs). With respect to touchscreen apps, it's now the other way around.
  • Touch screen to be fair is ok only on tablets ... i don`t feel like smudging my fingers across my 34" monitor when i can do things way faster with my mouse. Also about PC OS .. MS is starting to get on my nerves with stupid notifications about how Edge is better or how Cortana can help me but i can`t install that app on my Lumia phone because it knows how to use only Android / iOS ... i mean .. i want an OS i don`t want a MS Newsletter OS .... And forced updates when you have the most need to work on your PC ... MS is only pushing people away from them lately..  Shall i start with gaming now ? Forza 7 a game developed and hyped by MS a lot .. guess what .. it uses on purpose only 1 core on the PC because "reasons" ....  I don`t know what MS is doing but it`s very bad from my point of view ...
  • Forza 7 uses only 1 core because they want to be able to hold up their new Windows on ARM devices and say, "look how Forza 7 runs on this ARM device!"  Being as ARM devices are designed for single-core performance.
  • It's not a software problem, it's not a solution issue, it's not technology, it's much simpler than that.  However they cannot do it under the watch of Satya Nadella, he IMO has taken Microsoft as far as HE is capable of taking it.  They need a new leader and need a major pivot to fix the ONE thing that will ensure everything else aligns.  What is that one thing?  its called Purpose and it needs to be front, centre and running through every single decision made, they have to regain trust, not fight against the tide using the 'latest and greatest'.  Apple was amazing under Steve Jobs because he was the embodiment of their purpose, their 'why' and MS are in desperate need of a leader with a clear vision and strength to ensure that vision is realised and communicated inside and out.
  • Great post Great Deal.   I just want to add this,  Regarding apple.   Since Steve's death.....What have they done?????NOTHING NEW.  Absolutely NOTHING.  I use ipad and iphone as they are the best truly mobile devices available right now.  Does not mean that I WON'T use something else in the future.   MS needs to put Nadella in charge of cloud only.  Cut his ties to purchasing ****** useless websites like business facebook...etc.   A new VISIONARY CEO NEEDS TO BE HIRED.   Someone who can take the base of surface,  and PUSH FORWARD.  It's not happening,  like you said,  under Nadella's watch.   If they do not do this....MS/SURFACE is DOOMED to be just another wannabe.
  • This dead horse...... AGAIN?????
  • Well, the horse got infected and became a zombie. You can't keep the S.O.B. down for long. It digs itself out of the grave and keeps coming back.
  • I presume you, like many, are focused only on what this means to phone. I made clear in the opening this problem affects all devices, not just phone. So Microsoft needs to use the tools it has, which it seems to not have put its full weight behind, to address to the extent it can, its ecosystem problem. There's a real Store, serving 500 million real devices right now, that Microsoft needs to invigorate. This piece was not just about phones.
  • Nadella was a disaster for windows phone.  Microsoft is boring again, even w10m is much more boring than the consumer-centric wp8.1.  8.1 had hubs, social integration, and more unique character...the phones were better too, Nokias better looking (material, style) than MSFT made lumias.  Nadella walked in with an iphone, and has made sure MSFT is just enterprise first (and basically only)....good for the company's bottom line, so investors probably more happy.
  • He was a disaster because he never believed in the platform since the beginning and he was against to buy Nokia in the first place. The WP was a ******* son for him.
  • I much prefer to use my poxy old RT Surface one then my Sufrace Pro 3 The 8.1 touch UI is seriously good to use, fast fluid and beautiful. W10 is clunky, uncoordinated and horrible by comparison. They've done it again, shick shick boom, there's the remaining toes blown off.  
  • Still curious about ITunes coming to windows store
  • It should be coming soon, Apple already gutted it out quite a bit just so that it would be compatible with the incredibly weak windows store.
  • Having the "tools" to address the app gap is one thing, convincing developers to use those tools is another. Unfortunately, Microsoft's own messaging on mobile is so fragmented / non-existent that they give developers no reason at all to want to invest their time in using those tools.
  • Good timing Jason, there is a forum post related to this: https://forums.windowscentral.com/windows-10/465296-how-many-good-apps-n...  
  • There is absolutely zero sense to talk about app gap when the OS no longer exists outside of the arms of the fans. And all these bridges and UWP are useless when even Microsoft themselves don't bother with them.
  • It never existed outside the arms of fans.
  • The OS that developers would serve if they developed true UWP apps would be all of Windows 10 for all device types. That OS exists on over 500 million devices.
  • The same OS whose own developer doesnt develop an app for it, doesnt trust his tools to build a cross platform app, doesnt trust his bridges to migrate his IOS/Android apps.
  • The mis-management at MS over the years was the main reason for its mobile failure.  Nadella provided the final blow.  He simply doesn't believe in it and wonder why the world needs a third phone ecosystem.  With such a loser mindset, the W10M has to fail.  He made it happen quickly, starting with his WP entrenchment speech in July, 2015.  His 'Cloud First, Mobile First' strategy suddenly turns into 'Cloud First, Mobile Last'.  He still shamelessly stays on.  The MSFT performance due to the Cloud and Office 365 business has covered up his disastrous failure on the Windows consumer business.  Without a mobile play, the long term future of UWP and OneWindows becomes uncertain.  WP, Bing, Cortana, etc would ebb aside, one after one. I would like to see that MS to be splitted into two organizations as HP has done - Cloud & Enterprises and Windows & Devices.  They need an aggressive and visionary new leadership to manage the Windows side before it is too late.  Yes, MS has all the tools to make Windows mobile effort to succeed, but they need someone at the top truely believes in it.  Xamarin, PWA, ultramobile PC with foldable screen can all help to mitigate the app gap issue.
  • The problem is Microsoft doesn't understand how consumers use mobile phones and mobile apps. Consumers don't want to carry "ultra-mobile PCs with foldable screens". That would be fine for work, but not for ordering tickets and getting them scanned at the box office, ordering coffee on the go, checking sports scores, paying for a fast food purchase at the drive through. Most smartphone usage isn't about work.
  • If there is no ultramobile PC next year, my next phone would be the Note of 2018 that would include a foldable screen.  It would do everything you have mentioned. https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/12/16293578/samsung-foldable-phone-2018-...
  • Now even Bill Gates abandones WP and has started using an android phone.
  • Under Satya I don't think they have what it takes to get things going again. Even the Surface events have become uninspiring. They had momentum with Surface and I think they've just gone into neutral again after that.
  • I disagree that the Surface momentum is gone. I remember the excitement not that long ago for Surface Studio, and even Surface Laptop got a lot of interest. I'm sure once the Surface event in Ocotber gets closer we will see the brand in the headlines again.
  • jason jesus such articles we red already few years ago, sorry.
  • You guys realize Microsoft has all these products already available on Android on iPhone. By that definition if Microsoft had to release the ne t evolution of cell phones it would then be easier to switch to windows because everything will already be familiar
  • Unfortunately, MS isn't cool, and techies, especially the tech media, love to hate MS. MS's synonymous with WORK and that doesn't help matters. Add to this the fact that MS has repeatedly burned developers, and it's no wonder they have such an uphill climb.
  • It's such an uphill that Microsoft has climbing gear on. Funny thing is, they forgot to bring their rope
  • "MS's synonymous with WORK... This was my entire problem with the term "Windows Phone".  For some reason Microsoft didn't seem to understand that Windows is synonymous with WORK.  Most people don't want to own a device they think is about work.  That term is not cool.  They should have gone down the road of Xbox!  Or something else a bit more creative.
  • Well an entire video game industry is based on it. That's a lot of play. 
  • A Zune phone. Nope, not for me please.
  • This
  • I am holding off on developing anything until MSFT has their act together in regards to design language and OS. I started a UWP LOB app before fluent design was a thing. The goal was to bring it to desktop, laptop, tablet and all mobile platforms, so we could roll it out all across the company. Now, mobile isn't really a thing for MSFT anymore and the Desktop OS is patchwork. So I scratched the mobile option and went with WPF. Let's face it, MANY windows applications are LOB applications and MSFT is not making life easy on that end right now. They need to come to a solid baseline and then build on that. Maybe Andromeda does the trick. We will see.
  • Now more concerned about apps disappearing for surface. Kindle isn't even an app anymore, just a crap rip of the app from years ago
  • Having these tools is one thing, having the teams behind these tools to work as one is a whole different challenge that Microsoft must master. 
  • Microsoft owns LinkedIn...and they don't even have an app for that.
  • Unfortunately the LinkedIn app is only for desktop. You'd think Microsoft would make a UWP version.
  • They did, the desktop app is UWP... https://www.windowscentral.com/linkedins-new-app-windows-10-mobile but they didn't put in the store, you have to sideload!!
  • 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
  • Can someone please explain why there is a 32/64 version of Office and a UWP one? Wouldn't it make more sense to have only a UWP version with extra features available for n purchase depending on the particular device?
  • Windows 7 is still out there. No UWP there.
  • If it went UWP only there would be no way you could get any more features out of it because UWP is too weak, in fact they had to REMOVE features from office just to get the preview version on the store.
  • Ah, Jason :). The problem is that MS managed to F devs so many times that very few bother to waste time and resources again with anything else than win32, IOS and Android. Ms proved that they cannot be trusted at all. Their continuous failures, lies and total lack of commitment has gotten back to MS ten fold! Bothering with anything uwp related is simply a waste of time!
  • I actually agree with your comment. However, it seems to me and I'm guessing that Microsoft's engineers is making changes to the core OS and if that's the case then they are actually doing everyone a major favor. Because developers hard work would be futile if the changes in the OS are changing continuously which result say an app no longer working even minutes-hours after porting over to Windows depending on the part of the OS Microsoft want the developers to access. I am just guessing but Andromeda maybe the last piece of the puzzle before allowing developers to have the green light sought to speak.   
  • I'm studying software development and learning Xamarin and in many training sessions even the Microsoft MVPs do not recommend any development for windows. This is crazy. The evangelist of your company just recommend new software for others company. Unbelievable.
  • I know you like to write about Windows phone but this is getting pathetic.
  • The app problem isnt just about phones. The UWP is a single platform that needs support. I made that point clear in the beginning of the article.
  • The app gap isn't a tools problem it's a symptom of an ecosystem problem. They need compelling devices like surface devices, if they want to be in mobile bring a high end phone, using the latest best hardware, not last year's. They need to pay to bring top apps to the platform. Every banking app and app from large corporations need to be on the stdtrm. Microsoft needs to create compelling platform exclusive games and apps only found on windows 10. Just having most of the stuff the other guys have isn't good enough. Do those things and the people and then the apps will come. 
  • I've noticed that my local news station has an Amazon app, along with Android and Apple.
  • I didn't know Microsoft had app developers under mind control. The issue is that Windows isn't worth targeting because it's not a market where developers could generate any sort of profits. Desktop apps and adware aren't worth buying in many niches because Free Software exists, and there isn't a big enough mobile ecosystem on Windows to drive developer support from that end. F/OSS made Desktop Windows a TERRIBLE vector from which to court developers. It was a bad tactic from day one. It is not the 1980s or 90s.
  • And of course I mean mobile app developers - those developing for smartphone and tablet form factors. If I were targeting Windows, I'd be doing desktop development. There is nothing a UWP App can do that apps like LibreOffice, GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, and others cannot do. There is a lot those apps can do that UWP apps - at the current moment - simply cannot match. The Operating System is a commodity at this point. Only foolish people fanboy for platforms. The only thing that matters is that the software you need is there. Everything else is personal preference. And because F/OSS has driven the cost of lots of (types of) software to $0, it's very hard to use a desktop platform as a vector for courting mobile developers. It works much better the other way around - as Apple has displayed. Developers already on iOS see a point in developing macOS apps that integrate via iCloud, Continuity, Handoff - they’re targeting existing customers to monetize them further - extras are a bonus. It doesn't work going the other way, when you have such a small mobile OS customers base, because all of those people running your desktop software will see no point in paying even a penny for most of those underpowered "mobile" apps in the Windows Store. As more F/OSS developers start putting their software on the store, it's going to undercut the developers marketing paid apps - often with far less features/power - especially since the store makes installing and removing software so comparatively painless (compared to Windows Installer). Putting Desktop Apps on the Store is a noble and good idea, in theory. In practice, it's a big hit to developers trying to make money on the Windows store - especially when it isn't as easy or "obvious" to market UWP apps outside of the store (compared to macOS, where you just drag a application to a folder and "voila"). They have to compete with, often, better software that costs $0 which would otherwise not have as much visibility as it does. So I actually think the store is a win for people who otherwise wouldn't have even heard of some of these [pretty good, if not great] free software packages - while being a massive hit to paid software developers.
  • Not this type of article again. Yes they've had the tools for ages. What they had and lost was developer interest. No one is thinking about apps on a laptop and desktop. It's all about mobile, and Microsoft clearly doesn't care about mobile despite what they keep saying. It's embarassing that Spotify has been ported to desktop (showing a relationship between the companies), but the Spotify mobile app barely worked when it was abandoned and it gets worse every day. I'll be in the middle of my workout and Spotify just decides to stop playing. I download my gym playlist, so I know it's not an issue with a data connection. Thankfully my headphones have 4GB of internal storage, so I say screw it and just use my headphones as a standalone MP3 player. TL;DR version: Microsoft has to get developers to care about their platform for the long term. Apps like Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook are pretty much being left to work until they don't.
  • Nadella doesn't care about windows at all. Windows will ultimately die because as a desktop only OS it will have no future and no apps. Android and Apple are constantly advertising enterprise solutions on the radio in the Netherlands. Microsoft is a relic of the past. Always that big mouth, we own the enterprise... Soon you will lose everything Microsoft. Nadella said it himself. He doesn't see the need for a third OS. He is the worst ever, lies all the time, doesn't communicate at all, and doesn't understand the importance of mobile. Any of their future services or products will fail. They simply have no platform anymore to connect to consumers. They are not capable of making something that's revolutionary and FINISHED at the same time. They always start of introducing half baked **** and let others copy. People on ios or android will use the apps offered by apple and google or by any new hip developer. Microsoft thinks it can live on those other platforms? LOL!!! I would like to see the percentage of how many people use Cortana on those platforms. Most certainly below 0.05%.
  • "Any of their future services or products will fail." Have you looked at the revenue and profit generated under Nadella?  It has gone up every year.  Google is an AD company with 80+% of the revenue coming from ad sales.  Apple is an iOS hardware company with 70% of their revenue coming from iPhone sales.  Microsoft is way more devisivied than either.  If the iPhone falls out of favor (14% world wide market share) Apple will be in serious trouble.  Mac market share has dropped over 30% since April of 2016.  If major privacy legislation gets passed in the US, much like is happening in the EU, then Google will be impacted greatly. Yes Microsoft has no mobile play of their own when it comes to mobile phones.  They do make great software for both iOS and Android and that software directly feeds their Cloud based subscription models.  The enterprise is still owned by Microsoft and that wont change for a long time.
  • Cloud is where their money is, not windows thanks to Nadella.
  • Money is not the only factor defining success for a company. Revenue is high not because of Nutella, but because enterprise sector was already working with MS products, and the upgrades and subscriptions were not canceled yet. Their office 365 is a hot mess from what I can tell, working with it day by day. Windows 10 is a mediocre crap unless you use the Enterprise LTSB version which is the one without all the hidden data mining services, and does not receive all the guinea pig tested updates. SCCM is as well still ok, windows server is ok for now. But these won't keep the profit high for long. Besides Xbox, all the other stuff from MS is simply mediocre. From their PC peripherals to their pathetic attempts at AR/VR, Bing, windows 10S etc. Lying all the time and not sticking to their commitments will be their downfall even in enterprise.
  • Yeah Jason, Bill Gates has an Android with Lots of Microsoft apps......that may be a sign to move on
  • lol it's cute to keep rewriting this fantasy every couple months. Windows mobile is dead. there is no way to fix the app gap.  developers are not interested in windows mobile. period. 
  • Why do you keep reading it?
  • nostalgia.jpg
  • Devs are not interested in UWP all along, not only mobile. LOL, not even MS gives a damn about UWP. Look at how horrible skype looks and behaves, Linkedin that is only a web wrapper (not that anyone would need a Linkedin app on a desktop OS) and the windows Mail client with that mediocre design made by a 7 year old child.
  • UWP is the furthest thing from being "modern" that any software can possibly be, you don't replace features and functionality and expect people to accept it as "modern" when they have vastly superior win32 programs that are supported much better and do the same job plus many other things UWP can't do. Calling UWP "modern" and refering to win32 programs as "legacy" is nothing short of attempted brainwashing, keep telling the lie it will eventually become true, didn't work for windows 8 and it's not working for UWP. Nothing "universal" about this software either if you have extension ability on desktop but not on mobile.    
  • Most UWP apps don't even support multiple windows... And then they wonder why nobody likes that stupid Paint 3D.
    Something so basic like multi-window support should be enabled by default on all apps, and disabled manually by developer if needed, not the other way around.
  • MS keeps dreaming that maybe someday they will manage to fool users with their pathetic lies and half baked projects. It's what MS does these days, lying and trying to fool everyone.
  • All these tools and yet......they haven't done a damn thing with them.
  • Lol.😂😂😂😂😂
  • Bots... I f***ing hate bots! I'd rather interface as directly with a program as I reasonaby can than have to deal with a half-baked AI.
  • Nadella took a mobile OS that was treading water and turned it into a burning platform.
  • MrDeeds,  Dont you mean "Nadella took a mobile OS that was treading water and turned it into a rock"`
  • Ok, here's the key;
    Stop talking about this. Stop applying little catch phrases to this. Stop with the constant flood of article after article about this. Stop feeding the trolls, and catering to the FUD regarding Microsoft as a whole. Do this, and I absolute guarantee people will stop caring about an "app gap". MOST people care about what they are told to care about. If you stop feeding them this, along with the other old tired mobile rhetoric, they will stop worrying about it. That's the first steps of addressing the REAL issue, which is mind share.
  • Well, lol. That's not gonna put needed apps in the store. This just isn't a problem you can ignore, hope it will go away, and it be fixed. It's a real life tangible issue that's loosing MS money (I think), and mindshare, as you mentioned.
  • "Using Xamarin to develop for a single Windows-Android-iOS target elevates Windows (or UWP) to the same level as iOS and Android." LOL, dream on.   Microsoft has no mobile platform.   Hint: Windows 10 on a laptop is NOT a mobile platform.   Given this, why should developers port apps to Visual Studio/Xamarin?  What is the advantage?   Even if they did, all they would target is iOS and Android.   There is no point in targeting Windows for MOBILE apps.   Its really cute how you are STILL trying to fix the "app gap"'.   That was a problem in 2014.   Now that MS is done with mobile (or, perhaps more correctly, mobile is done with MS) the "app gap" doesn't matter.  There is no OS, there are no devices.  That there are no apps is totally irrelevant.
  • This is like beating a dead horse, talking about an "app gap" when there are no phones.
  • It's not LIKE beating a dead horse, it IS beating a dead horse.   You might as well complain about  the lack of apps for Blackberry.   
  • The Windows Store serves more than phones. You can access the Store on PC, tablets and 2-in-1s and that store needs dev support.
  • The "App Gap" doesn't matter when there are no phones for it. Labelling tablets or laptops as "Mobile devices" is a pathetic and desperate arguing of semantics. All non-phone Windows Devices that matter run full Windows and there are millions of Desktop apps that people use every day. They do not suffer from an "App Gap". Without Phones, Win32 already becomes "Universal".
  • There are not now, nor will there ever be, "1 billion windows 10 devices".  Put down the crack pipe and step back.   Of the existing 500 million or so "devices", 499 million are desktops/laptops.  None of these are targets for iOS/Android developers.  But hey, keep humping the fantasy.  
  • App bridges and background development stuff is all well and good, but we don't have any hardware to run it on..... My Lumia 950 is two years old next month. I have no upgrade path so will be dropping back to a sim only deal while I give Microsoft another 12 months to see if 2018 produces a mobile device of some description. I've looked far and wide for a modern Windows tablet with a 7-8" screen, a decent amount of ram (4gb or more) and 64gb or higher storage.  It doesn't exist. I absolutely get that Microsoft have to focus on all this background stuff.....windows on arm, AI, bots, cloud development, app bridges, quantum computing, Andromeda....this is all super important stuff and Microsoft are 100% right to be laser focused on it... But without hardware, without devices, it doesn't matter how far MS goes with it, they'll just be projects sitting on a hard drive in a lab somewhere.
  • If Microsoft decided to keep selling Windows Phones, then the situation would be very much like the Mac. The Mac currently, in it's present form, has pretty much the same amount of software available for it in the Store as Windows Phone- actually less. There is no Netflix client, no Candy Crush, very little games yet people still buy Macs. People aren't developing for the Mac. Apple continues to bring out new models and new versions of the operating system, usually with minor upgrades to the previous years macOS. Yet people still don't consider the Mac to be dead in the same way that people consider Windows Phones to be dead. The only reason I can think of is that Apple still sell Macs, People still buy Macs and the operating system is upgraded annually. Whichever way you look at it - people aren't writing software for the Mac. So in reality, if Microsoft brought out a flagship, midrange and low end phone, and refreshed these models annually, using the exact same Windows 10 mobile operating, improving it slightly with each iteration, wouldn't this be the same model as Apple have with the Mac? Microsoft would then get the benefit of platform containment (people stay with Windows), a smal app store revenue input, subscription income from Groove, perceived benefits of a single platform for the consumer etc - all non-tangible but valid. Is a massive app store really the issue?
  • The mac app store has more than the WI does store, and certainly more real, useful apps than the Windows Store. There's a fair bit of understatement in your comment. Also, his a desktop OS. You can buy direct from vendor, like on Windows.  There is a lot more new software development going on on MacOS than on Windows at the moment. Windows ecosystem is pretty much dominated by big vendors (MS, Adobe) which is driving a lot of Indies to Apple.  Windows is THE platform to port free software to, though, since their desktop users are much like Androids mobile users. 
  • Agreed. I guess my point is - Microsoft need to stick to their guns. There are an awful lot of people on Windows 7 that can't use UWP apps. The UWP framework still has lots of work that needs to be done. Look at the problem companies like Agilebits and Enpass have getting UWP apps talking securely to browser extensions in Edge. Both companies have had to fall back to non-UWP desktop apps to get this to work. Stick to their guns. UWP should be the default platform for Windows. Microsoft need to continue to develop and improve. Don't do what they usually do and give up after a couple of years and change to something different. This just causes frustration for developers. Those Windows 7 users will eventually migrate to Windows 10 as will a lot of the major organsiations that have Windows 10 upgrade programmes underway. As Luke said - 'Stay on Target'.
  • The issue is that those users will bring their software with them. People don’t throw away software licenses (or choices, even) simply because they upgraded their operating system.  Operating Systems are backward compatible, and when you are unable to move developers to a new set of frameworks, this poses an issue. They refuse to move to those frameworks, which means users aren’t being moved to there and the Windows store.  Also, buying software like Photoshop Elements from the Windows store has been nothing but trouble for a lot of people. The Windows Store versions also tend to be supported markedly worse.  I would not buy a Centennial App on the store. It also ties the license to an online Account, not the user (per se). 
  • What's the point for devs when MS dont have a mobile plan? This is such BS, MS deserves to be kicked to the curb for their arrogance and total lack of business nouse in the mobile space
  • UWP includes more than phone. It's the ecosystem for all Windows devices. So for Windows 10 S, HoloLens, 2-in-1s, tablets etc to be a succes and or remain relevant they need modernized UWP apps.
  • I knew it when Microsoft dump the Nokia staff and bought almost in the same step Link-in(?) for something off the scale of 26 billion dollars when it cost then 1 billion for the Nokia team who did a great job supporting the Lumia. Balmer would have kepted mobile but they hired his replacement with the agreement of kicking mobile out of their environment and as we have seen didn't waste time in doing so.
  • Windows phone is dead. Microsoft will live on in mobile by getting whatever share of installs on iOS and Android devices it can get. The mobile OS market is highly averse to "new" so, Microsoft, having blown it on both (or all three) tries makes a smart business decision to grow revenue from within the two dominant ecosystems.  Will MS come with a new, disruptive form factor? I can't see it. Pockets are pocket-sized so that limits physical dimensions and most folks  really are not keen on a wearable for telephony, which limits the opportunity for a slightly larger computing device with telephony.  I really don't see an opportunity for a device from MS that is smaller than the current Surfaces (unless, perhaps, something the size of a phablet that unfolds into a larger device - but, alas, the "courier" device is dead).
  • seems that i cannot understand m$ logic. They want uwp to succed and the same time they are pusshing pc and cloud that doesnt seem to need it. you can have anything thourgh your browser or through win32apps. nobody is using the store. At the same time they kiling windows phone wich desperately needs the store and the apps to succeed. without mobile vision the store is useless. windows 10 S will be another RT.
  • MS had the perfect developer base it could ever dream of: HTML/JS web coders. Happy to adopt the new WinRT platform. HTML/JS were "native" in Windows 8.x and fast and fluent. They even could look beautiful. Why not? After all HTML5/CSS3 has great visual capabilities. Another side effect of those apps were their size. HTML/JS/CSS is much smaller than the same app written in C++/XAML. No runtime required. No .net requiered. No different version of .net required. Extending JS apps with native device capabilities was easily possible using C++. The concepts were right and if you look at Build 2013/2014 it was all about HTML/JS apps. They even provided their own WinJS framework to get quick results to achieve the unique Metro Design Language style. Around 2015 or so they started to re-align the framework to also be used to develop for the web, meaning webpages, and from there on it was goinig downhill. Support for Windows itself was no longer a priority. WinJS is dead now.  Which developer is willing to comit to such a short lifespan of tools? Windows Phone 7/8 had the unique Hub architecture. In theory this instantly closed the "app gap" for Windows 7 because Twitter, Flickr, Facebook et al were PART of the OS. In a limited way, yes, but reasonable usable. The problem was the companies didn't want that kind of integration. They wanted "island" solutions, control their own content to the maximum degree, meaning ADVERTISEMENT. MS provided an easy way for any develop to hook in the camera auto upload feature. For people not wanting to store their photos on any of the established US/NSA company servers one could just write a small app to upload them to their self hosted (owncloud) solution. Feature & API is gone in Windows 8.1/10.
  • As many have pointed out the APP Gap is no longer Microsoft's biggest problem. They have screwed over the one resource that help them build their empire. Developers Developers Developers and specifically Windows Developers. When Microsoft themselves don't support the platform they expect developers to build for, it sends a strong negative message. Even though I use Windows to develop for mobile I know longer develop Windows Apps! I will continue to utilize Azure going forward as I think that is what Microsoft will end up being, the cloud company. Better get AzureCentral going soon guys.
  • They are too busy bridging the gap between Windows and Linux, Android and iOS. Nadella doesn’t care about desktop as he doesn’t about Windows Mobile/Phone. He invests money into clouds supporting Linux backend and Google Angular based frontend. After most of the companies will move from private servers and desktop applications into cloud servers and web applications hosted in Chrome they won’t need Microsoft anymore as they can host servers in Amazon cloud and have Chrome on Linux PC. The problem with UWP is that after Windows Update every few months applications have compatibility issues, while WPF and WinForms applications works fine (as long as the developer hasn’t used some hacks that have been later patched) from Windows XP to Windows 10 Creators Update. Stability of the SDK used to be key advantage of Windows desktop applications, but it isn’t with UWP as Nadella prefer his crazy Windows as a service model.
  • Nadella just switched from his iPhone to Android...After 15 years, I will be leaving WM/WP and getting a Samsung Galaxy Note...my kid is heading to Middle School soon and he and I need a phone with Apps...Windows Phone has been a dead man walking for a while...I will miss the Live Tiles though...
  • I've just made the swap from Lumia 950XL to a low end Android device to test out the water... a Huawei P8 lite 2017. It's a nice phone for the price. Google didn't make this phone though - Huawei did. It's only recently that Google have realised that they need a physical presence to keep their OS going - they certainly won't be making money from the Pixel lineup but relised that, like the Surface brand, they need something to show OEM's where they should be going. Microsoft should have continued with the mobile lineup until they had something different. Now - there is nothing - a big gap in a product nearly every person on the planet keeps with them for most of the day. Not a great strategy is it? In my opinion, the camera has always been the USP for Lumia devices. Take something like a Sony W350 travel camera, stick a big OLED screen on the back, add cellular and there you have a winner. I'd buy it.
  • The only tool that's important is devices in the hands of consumers. Which is why windows on arm laptops and tablets are the real key. Developers won't be arsed deving for mobile until the windows core phone comes out next year. But in the meantime, a vastly superior UWP experience on the growth markets of windows tablets and laptops (which are the only growth areas in tablets, and the only growth areas in PCs), will be what seals the deal for hesitant devs. The connectivity, cheap, light, always on qualities of those devices will sell them to consumers, and consumer complaints about lack of features and slower performance on those devices will be what makes devs want to move from win32. Yes, the tools help. But its the devices that matter. Which is why WoA is such a smart play - its a known, successful device market already for windows. Bringing in those mobile qualities, and making UWP the only native platform that can take advantage of the device fully - that's what will make people come to UWP. There's one missing peice though - cshell. That UI needs to be better optimised for touch, and soon. 
  • That said, I think progressive web apps are also important. It's nascent now, but I think it will grow a lot over time. 
  • Quoting: "The app problem isnt just about phones. The UWP is a single platform that needs support. I made that point clear in the beginning of the article." The App problem is only a phone problem to people who couldn't care less about Touchscreen Laptops and Windows Tablets - which have a decidedly worse UX than OSes designed primarily for that form factor (i.e. iOS, Android/FireOS - I had a Windows 10 Tablet and I literally threw it in the trash, never again). Desktop users aren't at a loss for Apps. The only people who are on the desktop are the fanboys who are specifically looking for UWP Photoshop, when such a thing is literally impossible to deliver on UWP (and no, I don't consider "Centennial" apps "UWP" apps - anyone who does is really stretching the confounds of reality and playing some strong semantic hopscotch). All of the Windows Software I own are Win32/.NET Desktop Apps - and I actively buy software on both macOS and Windows... I don't even look for UWP Apps, and frankly I avoid them because the design is terrible for desktop use. I would never buy an iOS app repackaged for macOS, with iOS user controls, no menus, and bad keyboard navigation. This is basically what UWP is on Windows 10. The apps are just put everywhere, but the User Interface/Experience is lower common denominator -> Phone/Tablet. This applies also to Microsoft's default preloads, which should be an embarrassment. Not only does it confuse the hell out of computer-illiterate users (who demand a rollback to Windows 7 - I've done *many* of those), but it just looks incredibly messy in execution. I don't support developers of apps that aren't even, IMO, appropriate for my form factor. I would only use Windows on a non-touch Desktop or Laptop machine - nothing else. Those UWP apps are terribad.
  • I think WSL is the most impressive featuare added to Windows in the last few years.