Microsoft teases 'Project Europe', a secret UWP initiative

During a Build event in Barcelona, Spain Microsoft teased a slide to the audience featuring a "Project Europe". Just what this project is remains a mystery, but speculation is already under way as to what Microsoft could be cooking up in the kitchen.

Microsoft involved the audience by asking those who attended whether the project is related to "expansion plans for Azure in datacenters" or a "secret Project UWP." The second answer was the correct one, meaning Microsoft is working on something related to its Universal Windows Platform, but again exact details remain surrounded by shadow.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I wouldn't say No to an UWA which simplified travel across Europe by connecting travel agencies and collecting all necessary information in one spot. But I suppose we're looking at something completely unrelated.
  • Wen 'project India'?
  • Fix your phone lines first, cause everytime I call support for anywhere I get connected to India and cannot hear or understand anything. So, yeah India, work on your infastructure first...
  • It's not INDIA phone line problem, our cellular network n phone lines are very good.. I think ur phone line is bad to hear a sound from INDIA, don't blame to INDIAN telecom service, first c ur own telecom service..
  • Sorry, your typing must be funneled through a phone in India, as I could not understand it.  :)
  • trumpster alert!
  • Don't be sorry... I know you don't mean it. Doesn't bother either.... Chears :)
  • ofcourse, you couldn't..
  • I mean without any specific details, I suppose your guess is as good as anyone elses at this point. I don't know much about travel in Europe, but I imagine that would be extrememly helpful.
  • Once i heared that europe Windows phone users have more percent of market share then other continent. I think microsoft is targeting europe to give more priority to advertise n sale more hardware's, i think europe (UWP) bank app and other top apps are under development...
  • That used to be true, but not anymore. Might be still a bit higher than in the US, but drops down really fast. The reason for the higher market share were cheap devices and the fact that Nokia still was a quite famous mobile brand in Europe
  • It's falling in sales, not market share... The install base is still much higher than in the US since the sales has been much higher forever.
  • Quarterly sales is market share. Usage share, which you are referring to, will also drop quickly with sub Windows phone's 1% market share. All those low end devices Microsoft sold will be quickly replaced. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Nah. Market share is determined by the installed base and not by sales which is why Ios, for example, has a higher share of the market than their sales.
    Sales are trends in the market and shows how the market share is evolving.
  • It is used both ways but usually when these companies are reporting Market Share, they are refering to sales during a given period. They will normally refer to Install Base or Useage share directly when giving those numbers. It isn't always consistent though.
  • The reason why people are saying that WP has 0.7% market share is because they are just going by the last three months of sales and not the installed base which is what matters.
    Besides that, I think we are in agreement that the share for Windows is much higher in Europe than in the US, right?
  • Yeah, of course that .7% is recent sales. They have had higher share in Europe due to the Nokia name and selling the dirt cheap L520 in those price conscious markets. With .7% of sales, their installed base is going to drop fast, especially since I would assume that those L520 are not going to be used very long due to their low price and disposable nature.
  • It's the equivalent of click bait but for a conference. Seriously, why even mention it if it's secret? It's because they want hype and people trying to figure it out. And then of course it will be underwhelming because some people will hype it to be something more spectacular than it is.
  • UWP running on Android and iOS
  • Undercut Windows Phone from universal strategy
  • Puts the "Universal" in "UWP" Windows phone strategy has already been undercut. Surface phone is not a phone. It is a mini-tablet with stylus and GSM modem. Probably ARM, but could be X5 (which were NOT cancelled), but would certainly include remote app with continuum capabilities.
  • Dude, Sphone will be a phone could be a phablet with far fetched capabilities. It was mentioned already that it would be available in 3 variants...
  • Surface phone doesn't exist
  • Do you mean, "You can't buy one", or do you mean "Not been worked on"?
  • You can't provide an image of one
  • Only because it uses technology so advanced that it can't be photographed.  It actually causes CMOS sensors to melt.
  • Surface Phone is so advanced, it was made of transparent Vibranium (not the one from Hyperloop). Captain America would love that. So transparent, you won't see it.
  • I can't provide an image of a lot of things that exist. 
  • Sounds like a religious argument. LOL
  • I saw bigfoot today, he had a deer slung over his shoulder as he crossed the road. Sorry no pics.
  • Are you familiar with NDA's. Whether or not an image existed would be covered by NDA, let alone an actual image. So by "Show me one" are you saying you don't think photos exist, or are you asking somebody to break NDA? But stay with your ambiguous stance. Plausible deniability is your safe haven. But do understand that it a very weak way to spread FUD.
  • No one has taken a picture of God, yet people still believe  he/she exists.  People believe in a lot of things or idea that cannot be proven...yet
  • I can't provide an image of my colon either, but I'm pretty sure it exists.
  • I do have a picture of my colon.
  •'s coming "soon" right?
  • That's possible hypothetically. Adobe already does something similar with Adobe Air. Microsoft's UWP would essentially just be another Adobe Air.
  • ​Air was never native. ,UWA on Windows is 
  • Yes but UWP on Android or iOS probably would not run natively either. It'd just be another runtime environment or framework functioning very similarly to Air. And even on Windows UWP isn't exactly "native" in the truest sense. It still functions as a runtime environment ontop of the .NET framework. So it has quite a few layers of frameworks there. Even on Windows, UWP is still quite similar in theory to Java and other runtime environments.
  • I assume you are aware that when you download an UWA, you do get a version native to you platform. Think of that as ARM/x86/x64. The store takes care of delivering the right set of bits. And Xamarin also knows how to build native W10, native iOS and native Andorid apps. What am I missing...  
  • Well actually, you don't always get a native version. That's only if the developer chooses to compile it natively to one platform. There are otherwise platform independent builds and when you compile, you only get 1 single executable, not 3 platform independent executables unless you choose to compile 3 seperate executables and submit all 3 to the app store (which some developers may choose to do so). But for the most part, UWP is supposed to be platform independent much like Java is and does not require architecture specific builds. And Xamarin is completely different from UWP. I'm aware it can build native C# apps for all the platforms. But you were talking about UWP running on Android and iOS which I'm trying to say is possible because UWP is just a framework and a runtime like Java.  
  • I agree. I just didn't want the message to be UWP on iOS/Android cannot be native, because it can be native.
  • Yes of course, I was really only using Adobe Air and Java as examples of UWP being possible on iOS and Android. In fact, over 90% of Android apps technically aren't "native" either as they run in Google's Dalvik VM which is their version of Java. This Dalvik VM is native to Android though which is why Android apps can also run on x86 PC's and so on. Only a small number of Android apps have been compiled to run on ARM only. Anyways, with Xamarin, UWP can very well be compiled into an iOS and Android native framework and can run alongside Android's Dalvik VM. So yes, UWP can be native to almost any platform. I just wanted to make it clear earlier that the apps themselves are technically not native. They are, universal.
  • Actually every UWP app written in C# or VB is technically native because it is precompiled with .NET Native:​. The result is native binary not .NET. UWP also supports C++ which is native. JavaScript is of course another story. Xamarin.iOS is also compiled to native ARM assembly code. I'm not sure about Xamarin.Android.
  • UWP is native to Windows. It doesn't run on top of .NET, but is a COM-based environment with .NET-esque metadata. Through this metadata, a subset of .NET is transparently bound to the UWP environment. You cannot transfer UWP to another OS, but you can bind XAML and C# to the respective parts of the Android environment, directly or through a compatibility layer. It only takes metadata. So, your basic assumptions are wrong.
  • Oh I see, I always assumed UWP was like a JVM and therefore could theoretically be ported to other platforms.
  • I'd be surprised if they were not looking into that especially now they own Xamarin. Posted from my Lumia 950
  • Sometimes, it is like a big jigsaw puzzle. And also sometimes, people refuse to acknowledge all of the pieces in front of them, or maybe they falsely discard some as irrelevant. In the other direction, you can see how pico processes fit in with the (discontinued) project Astoria. But it also fits in with down-level Win32 applications, and maybe some other OS's. (That aren't Linux, because we already know about that one).
  • Hopefully they could convince some oems to include the runtime on their devices for all around better experience.
  • At this point it's the only thing that makes sense for them.
  • Hmmm interesting!
  • Coming soon...
  • Bad project name with Brexit on the horizon.
  • There will still be Europe, after a Brexit. ☺
  • And when a nexit follows?
  • Europe existed before the european union ;)
  • Europe is NOT the European Union, a country can't "exit" a continent (except over millions of years, and not exactly because it wants to, lol) Sent from my Lumia 950 XL
  • Brexit will most likely fail and even if not, it won't harm the EU as much as it would harm GB. They had always been closer to the USA than to europe anyway
  • Europe is a continent, but hey keep up the good work.  Education at its best.
  • Cortana Worlwide?
  • That would not have anything to do with a UWP. If you ask me, it will not be a big project, probably a small app, the spain team of Microsoft has baked by themselves.
  • What I need for Europe, are brick and mortar Microsoft stores and better Bing services.
  • They mentioned it also @ the Amsterdam Build event.
    Maybe it's related to something with (multiple)speech/languages or something cross-platform.
    They're working on unified notifications (also crossplatform) via the webrowser.
    Just guessing, i really can't say something intelligent :)
  • Project Iron Maiden
  • I was at the Build event in Amsterdam yesterday and they showed this as well. I wouldn't bet all my money on this actually being a real thing. This slide was shown during a contest where the whole room had to stand up and play a game of 'heads or tails'. They showed a question with a heads or tails answer, if you think the correct answer is heads you put your hands on your head and if you think it's tails you put your hands on your back. If you get it wrong you have to sit down, until 5 people were left standing who could go pick a prize. Some of these questions were simply trick question just to make you fail. The session before this contest they were talking about the new Azure IoT rollout including in Europe. Hence why Project Europe seemed like a logical name for the expansion plans of Azure in Europe. I wouldnt be surprised if they included this question just to make you fail. For example one of the questions was 'What is Albert Einstein's favorite XAML control? Heads: StackPanel, Tails: RelativePanel'
    Answer: RelativePanel (theory of relativity). Of course, it's still possible this will be an actual thing.
  • Probably a word gag with "UWP" pronounced like "Europe" going by what you're describing.  
  • Coming soon!
  • Assuming it actually has something specifically to do with Europe, maybe it relates to some sort of automatic translation into the various European languages for Store Apps? Or maybe that already exists - I have no idea.
  • It could be inspired by Europe from Greek mythology. And has nothing to do with Europe the continent.
  • Even now UWP is already more united than Europe...shame
  • Noooo, i cannot live in this way!
  • NASA lander on Europa will run on UWP? Although they said to attempt no landing there :P
  • Wouldn't want to get a horrible bacterial plague, would we?
  • My thought would be around language... or it could be about European unity maybe event an Exit name generator. BEXIT, NEXIT, GEXIT, FRAXIT, SPAXIT, ITAXIT (That one now applys to all tech companies is Europe), IREXT, POXIT and who could forget the honary  AUSXIT  
  • Saw the exact same slide yesterday in Amsterdam during "Build on tour"
  • Project Europe is just another project. It has nothing to do with Europe, like Project Astoria had nothing to do with Astoria New York and Project Westminster is by no way related to Westminster London. They are just codenames.
  • Like the Blair witch project had nothing to do with either Blair or witches :P. Sorry I'm being childish..
  • When Project Africa?
  • If i had to guess, i would say that its going to be a consumer oriented version of azure remote applications that give the ability to virtualize any software you own or use on your pc on any mobile device.........a software cloud for continuum enabled devices, specifically for less powered devices. I approached a MS engineer at one of the MS insider events to discuss this very thing, the tech is already there, they just need to make it happen. I'm an Architect, and if I connect my Lumia 950 to a monitor in continuum, it would allow my to launch Autodesk Revit r Autocad in a native way, except the software is running on my pc at home. Yes, RDP does this, but it's clunky. There is a better way, hopefully MS does it.......
  • Another project Astoria, boys!
  • Secret to be cancelled project.
  • My bet is some sort of virtualization software that will allow apps currently available on Windows 10 desktop to run on mobile. Whatever it ends up being, I am very confident it has something to do with increasing the app availailbilty for Win 10 mobile, so BRING IT ON!
  • Looking forward!
  • since we all take a guess, i will place a bet on win32 app virtualization services so they can run on windows mobile. this way oems + developers of big win322 names could leave that matter in the hands of microsoft.
  • Let's be honest, with such a lame code name (no offense intended) it is probably something like a traveling cross-Europe training event for developers to learn UWP
  • Looking forward into the far very far distant future may be it's too late MS
  • Either a UWP compiler for Android, or a cloud-based Android-to-UWP-transpiler. Or a set of HTML-annotations, turning every website into an UWP-integrated app, with "E" standing for Edge.
  • How about completing the one thats WIP before starting another one?
  • another project closed...