Developers dropped the Microsoft platform in droves as iOS and Android grew to have most of the app base. Windows 8 and the Windows Store seemed to be the nail in the coffin for the organization’s mobile apps. With so few people buying Windows phones compared to iPhones and Android phones, the tech giant’s market share remained small.
Move forward to this month, and Microsoft would have you believe it’s a whole new world. Microsoft not only stopped restricting development to only the Windows platform, it brought forth new versions of applications that embrace cross platform usability. It’s even developing hardware – and the software to run it – for unique products, such as the Hololens.
But will this be enough to entice developers back to Microsoft, and attract others who never worked in its environment?
Over the last decade Microsoft has been making money, even if it was hardly at the forefront of tech innovation. Microsoft has about a billion devices active worldwide, and wants to get a billion using Windows 10 in a year. That’s a lot of customers for not just Microsoft, but also for ISVs.
Even before the launch of Windows 10, it was clear to many that the Universal Apps philosophy will be key to developer adoption. This plan was adopted by Microsoft even though it further weakens the Windows 10 phone market.
The ability to create universal apps that work across different devices but have a single API set and app package creates an opportunity to increase ROI that developers want. Microsoft announced back in November 2014 that it was making the full server-side .NET stack open source and expanding .NET to run on Linux and Mac OS platforms. That enables developers to build with .NET across Windows, Mac or Linux.
But one possibility comes to mind that could mean more Windows apps even though market share doesn’t change much. Developers might take advantage of the Universal App to create cross platform apps if it’s easier than coding for iOS, Android and Linux individually. Adding a Windows app that uses one API set and one app package should be relatively easy, letting it create ROI even if at a minimal amount.
Microsoft still rules the desktop, with a 91 percent share worldwide. But the drive and growth has been in the mobile sector, where iOS rules and Android has a respectable share of the market. We’ll have to wait and see how the market changes, if at all, with the deployment of Windows 10.