Windows Central Podcast 135: A sort of WCOS announcement

We're back with another exciting episode of the Windows Central Podcast, and this week, Daniel Rubino and Zac Bowden discuss Microsoft's non-announcement announcement about their next generation 'modern OS'. Whatever it may up end being called, this is the OS we've been reporting on for quite some time.

They also tear down all of the misleading and incorrect hot takes about the death of UWP, and Daniel reports on all the other interesting devices and announcements from Computex 2019 in Taipei. Finally, the Windows 10 May 2019 Update is available to the general public.

This episode of the Windows Central Podcast was streamed live on May 31 2019.

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Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • How about adding timestamps for the different topics. Not everyone is interested in everything and has an hour to listen to all of it just to hear what ones wants?
  • They do. At least in my podcast app (pocket cast) I've always been able to see time stamps for different topics
  • Asking developers at Build if UWP is dead is like asking people at a Trump rally if Hillary should be in prison. You aren't going to get unbiased opinion. UWP is dead because it hasn't been leveraged by developers or even Microsoft themselves. This announcement at Build isn't going to change that. If anything, it will stunt universal Windows apps even more. Again, even Microsoft isn't using it for apps anymore. Universal Windows Apps are dead. Microsoft's "announcement" of their modern OS is confusing because Microsoft doesn't know what to do with it. They are not confident in the product, so figuring out how to launch/announce it is hard. If it was great, marketing of it would be easy. It would speak for itself. That doesn't seem to be the case. One of the bullet points is internet connectivity! In 2019! Imagine if a bullet point for iOS13 was internet connectivity!
  • I agree. All the signs are there. Just like they were with Windows Phone.
  • So, you still haven't answered the question why you're here..
  • "Today we are launching our new iOS13. This is the greatest version of iOS yet. It has a system for updates and connects to the internet! In one word, it is Revolutionary!" The question is, why are you ok with such mediocrity from Microsoft? Why do you continue to make excuses along with this website? Why aren't you demanding more? In the podcast Daniel talks about how bad iOS is and how it needs work, while Microsoft doesn't even released a competitor 12 years later. How can you not be immensely critical of Microsoft's inability to compete with Apple or Google?!
  • "Asking developers at Build if UWP is dead is like asking people at a Trump rally if Hillary should be in prison. You aren't going to get unbiased opinion."
    So, who should we be listening to, pundits who are not developers who don't understand the topic? People here in comments who go by anonymous names with no credentials, who also feel they need to have an opinion on everything? Do we let you choose who's opinion matters most and is correct? Also, seriously, wtf is an "unbiased" opinion? By definition, opinions are biased.
  • At least get some feedback from non-Microsoft developers or developers who switched to Android or iOS. Why they aren't developing for UWP? What do they think the future is? Build doesn't sell out anymore. The people still going are Microsoft dedicated. The answer you get from them is going to be heavily biased. Opinions are biased by definition, but that doesn't mean you can't put some effort into minimizing it. It is like all the years you said Windows Phones had great reviews from users. You failed to address that the only users were Microsoft fanboys.
  • That's like asking Mobile Developers on feedback on web development and why they aren't developing for web first as it runs everything these days. That's false equivalence at best. If you really want to see how developers on the same market (desktop not mobile and isn't just MS based developers either) thinks of UWP / WPF check their respective open source repositories instead and you'll see quite an active community with contributions from non MS commiters coming in every day. The respective repos are WPF and Microsoft-Xaml-UI, and a big milestone is WinUI 3.0 which bridges both WPF and UWP dialects. Since WinUI 3's goal is to decouple the renderer from Windows itself, there's even plans on the community or MS to create a renderer using Skia so that UWP will be truly cross-platform. The community fevor is definitely there and is more than willing to roll their own renderer after WinUI 3 if MS doesn't do it first. If you really want to use the IOS and Android dev angle then I'll quote my network of developers and the place I work on. We heavily use Xamarin Forms / Android / IOS as appropriate on our mobile apps development and UWP for kiosks apps for businesses as we can share business logic using C# since our backends are running .Net core on Linux containers, and .Net core itself is very popular (most wanted and loved platform on 2019 stackoverflow survey, also most performant non native (e.g. non C++ / C) web server on public benchmarks), to say the opposite is lying at best. Having the ability to share code on both the backend and client is a big difference for us developers in terms of agility and robustness as we don't have to duplicate efforts on differing languages. And with the advent of WASM C# even runs on the web now using Blazor, or if you want UWP on the web there's UNO which is an open source non MS UWP implementation that runs everywhere (IOS / Android / Web / Desktop).
  • Thats a very narrow perspective of UWP. Whole Windows is based on UWP, which means Microsoft just can’t kill it like Windows Phone. Besides, UWP is not a hardware platform, but it’s supported on a popular platform, which means it’s success doesn’t have to be now, but it could come later.
  • The Developers, Dan, and Zac are clearly going through the various stages of grief. Anger and Denial at this stage it seems. Saying it isn't dead is like looking at a Brain-Dead person and saying 'Well technically, they're not dead as such'. Frankly, if everyone, not to mention several prominent and respected Microsoft reporters are saying it's dead, I tend to side with them. The hold-outs are just being very technical about the term 'dead'. Beyond the usual 'Youre all wrong, and we're right!' talk, I'm looking forward to the 'Oops, we were wrong and you were all right' Podcast next year.
  • Spot on. The success of UWP was totally dependent on the (very ill-conceived) strategy of massive Windows 10 adoption on desktop and mobile. Mobile uptake was what was going to make UWP relevant in spite of its very limited API and it only running on Windows 10. When mobile failed, all developers had left was a very limited API with touch-focused UI controls, a shadow of what WPF or Win Forms could do, that had no backward compatibility. Gee, shocking that it failed. UWP is dead. Microsoft picking over the corpse for some useful bits of bone than it can adapt to real Windows applications does not change this (hard, for some) truth.
  • Excellent summary of the current state (dead) of UWP. UWP was maybe OK for writing phone apps, but never for full featured desktop applications. Even Microsoft never attempted to use UWP for complex desktop applications like Visual Studio or full blown Office. The did try with a UWP version of Office, but it couldn't do everything you could do with full Office, and now its been abandoned.
    Edge was also attempted only to be abandoned and rewritten as a Win32 application.
    Even Notepad is still a Win32 application. As a developer, UWP only made sense for writing phone apps. But Microsoft doesn't do phones anymore. Almost no one doing serious desktop development is using UWP, your only choices are WPF (essentially abandoned about 7 years ago, but still works) or WinForms (abandoned even longer ago, but still works). Microsoft thought they could force UWP (and its predecessor Windows 8 "Modern" apps) down desktop user's throats, then once they got used to it, everyone would go out and buy Windows Phones. The plan backfired badly - Phones are gone, Windows tablets never really went anywhere, Surfaces are basically laptops, so you only need desktop applications. Meanwhile true desktop development has been frozen in time from at least 7 years ago. The whole horrible Windows 8 Metro apps / UWP experiment has been a abysmal disaster. On another note, things that are not dead do not need articles written explaining how they are not dead! If you want to know what is dead, do not listen to Windows Central. Windows Central: Smartphones are Dead!
    Everyone else: No, that would be Windows Smartphones that are dead, everyone else's smartphones are thriving Windows Central: UWP is not Dead!
    Developers: Oh, its dead, its been an absolute disaster.
  • Excellent comment. The podcast hosts mention the Office UWP apps in their attempts to tap dance around the corpse on the floor, but neglect to mention that they were a failure that Microsoft has now deprecated. Bit of a rambling aside here: it's not a popular position, but I believe this hubris goes back at least to WP7, which was IMHO the death of Windows phone. MSFT had an excellent phone OS, Windows CE, that ran .NET Compact (or whatever it was called), which was an excellent development environment, with lots of great apps, and a dominant market share. It didn't have touch, which was needed to combat the new iPhone. Instead of writing an great touch shell on top of .NET Compact, MSFT threw it all away and started from scratch using Silverlight (if I remember correctly). It was shocking that a, if not the, cornerstone of MSFT's competitive edge -- backward compatibility -- was tossed out the window. Microsoft's phone efforts never recovered. I had a few WinCE devices -- Moto Q, HTC Touch, and another that I can't recall -- and none of the apps I used on CE -- and they were really good -- were ported to WP7. When WP7 was released, comparing it to the iPhone 4 was appalling, as an MSFT fan. The same error -- no backward compatibility -- was repeated with UWP. UWP never should have happened. You make an excellent point, WPF/Win Forms, even though neglected for years, are still much better than UWP. Hopefully, Microsoft has learned the lesson. Nadella certainly seems to be an improvement on Ballmer.
  • Why does Microsoft keep doing this?
    - Creating failed architectures and denying failures. Not only denying failures, but stating over and over that they haven't abandoned them.
    - Even promising (Over and over) new features would come, but never did come Why do some fans keep doing what they're doing?
    - Refusing to believe that MS failed and believing that something is still alive and hasn't been abandoned.
    - ...And trying to prove something wasn't abandoned or failed by continuing to talk about it. In theory/concept, UWP seemed to have such a great potential. They were really trying to change how Windows worked. It seemed innovative and fresh. Not all of this happened under Ballmer though. It has happened under Nadella's watch as well. One thing I will say, the Surface Pro 3 was a great second try and was very successful! But the Surface Pro allowed you to use full Windows...That was part of the key besides hardware concept. With UWP/Metro it seemed they were trying to follow other companies ideas of the app store concept and eventually completely get rid of the "Old Windows" Now we have a touch-friendly GUI Windows 10 that allows you to run "Old Windows" styled apps (win 32 + 64) Few really bought into UWP and who bears most of guilt for that? I used to believe them and held on to hope, but at a certain point, there was no denying the existence of the dark cloud of "imminent doom" on the horizon coming towards us. I jumped ship and I am SO glad I did.
  • Not sure Nadella gets any blame here. UWP and the Windows 10 strategy were well in place when he took over in 2014. He's been unwinding it ever since. Takes a while to drain the swamp! :-) Almost immediately he pivoted to open source in Azure and Microsoft applications on iOS and Android. As an aside, excellent article two days ago on Computerworld about just how disastrous UWP (and the Windows Store) have been for Microsoft. "Things didn’t go well. For one thing, Windows Phone was a colossal flop and Microsoft killed it. For another, developers saw no market for UWP apps, so have largely stayed away from it. Making things worse, UWP apps proved to be severely underpowered compared to Win32 apps. And even when developers create both UWP and Win32 versions of the same app, the UWP version ends up with far fewer features than the Win32 version, and so people stay away from them."