Microsoft hones its plans for closing the App Gap

Discussion in 'Members News Depot' started by GreyFox7, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    According to Microsoft there were in total 527,000 apps (340,000 WP apps & 187,000 Windows apps) in the Store as of September 2014. Comparatively there were 1.3 million each in the Apple and Google Play stores.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-hones-its-plans-to-try-to-close-the-app-gap/

    Seriously, I've looked at a lot of these apps, tried searching apps etc. and the numbers are not the real issue. 1.3 million or 500,000 apps are completely unmanageable. To be sure there are plenty of 'crap' apps that have little to no value whatsoever. Running 8 new apps a day it would take you 445 years just to run them all and you wouldn't be able to store them on your device nor manage navigating to launch them.

    There is a gap in popular apps and a paradigm shift in what's popular. It shouldn't be hard to identify what the most needed Apps are then; Focus, Focus, Focus on the critical apps. Fielding a vast Army takes a lot of resources, time, and money which could be better spent on more targeted efforts.

    New apps coming into the Store should have some particular value over what's already there not just another copy of the same feature set. what's the point of copy after copy of the same lame entry.

    Searching for Apps in the Store is atrocious... I searched for something and found nothing relevant but got a screen full of stupid games. Categorization needs subcategories and collections seems as random as the lottery but that's just the organization hierarchy the actual placement of apps needs a lot of work as well even with a paltry 527,000 apps.

    BTW: App Counter says there are 189,106 apps in the Windows Store today.
    I'm not sure what the right number should be, perhaps 1000 or 5000 or maybe 10,000. :) How many can you think of that you need?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Id suggest that if there are already 5 apps that do roughly the same thing you cant add another one unless you can prove its significantly better than the others. Then maybe the lowest rated/used app gets booted out.
     
  3. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    The MS app store search has never really quite worked for me. But app number is irrelevant, really; it's all about getting the right apps into the store, not the "right number." The store is far more important for RT users than desktop users, too.

    Hopefully MS's backend plans will make things a lot easier for third party developers to hop in, and further shift pressure onto the third parties. There's no point in "targeting" efforts when the third party devs don't see Metro apps as a commercially viable platform, so that part comes down to platform popularity before store population. Unfortunately, I think we're talking about a significant cyclical feedback loop where uneducated consumption-only users care only about app number and refuse to buy into the platform, and then devs refuse to expend resources for a tiny-percent platform.

    There are certain things I don't see happening, though--for example, I don't see Apple creating an iTunes app or Google creating a bona-fide Youtube app. At least not until Windows tablet users gain a much larger following. In many cases, lack of apps can still be mitigated with a solid web browser experience, so that part falls back onto Microsoft: Make IE much easier to work with in terms of granular settings (settings per domain would be great) and aggressively improve (backwards) compatibility with various websites. Or unlock RT and allow installation of other browsers (not gonna happen).

    The code unification should definitely help, though, but just how much...
    As for Android compatibility, Nokia X died pretty quick. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_X_platform)
     
  4. zhenya

    zhenya Active Member

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    This is a huge complaint of mine. Right now, the Surface Pro makes a pretty good laptop replacement with the ability to do some tablet stuff. But the lack of dedicated Metro apps really harms the experience. I don't think limiting the number of apps is the right way to go - there are many categories of apps in iOS where there are dozens of quality apps - and arbitrarily leaving the decision of what is 'better' to some individual approving apps would kill developer's motivation.

    I really think this push has to come from Microsoft, and they need to counter the popular notion that Windows doesn't 'need' apps because of legacy programs and web apps. Nearly any time the subject comes up the conversation becomes dominated by people who feel this way and can't/won't hear the very real limitations those methods have.
     
  5. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    More from the source article for those that don't follow links...

    Plan A
    for getting more apps on Windows, and especially Windows mobile, devices remains moving to the Universal App model, which will enable developers to get closer to Microsoft's long-standing write once/run on any Windows promise.
    Earlier this year, rumors began circulating that Microsoft had a Plan B, via which it would enable Android apps to run on its Windows and Windows Phone operating systems. From what sources are saying, this Plan B is still a possibility with Windows 10.

    The Android Plan B has merit in moving to Productivity over Platforms and a Universal Operating Environment or Next level Open Systems Platform it is also in line with other moves such as open sourcing .net and building apps for iOS and Android. The Best Platform is the one you can run the most useful apps on.
     
  6. zhenya

    zhenya Active Member

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    I think plan B would be a disaster, and combined with the aforementioned issues of 'web apps' and legacy programs, would completely drive home the point that nobody needs to develop native Windows apps. Emulated apps are NEVER going to have the same level of integration and polish as good native ones.
     
  7. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Anything done badly is a disaster...and anything can be done badly... but as an example look at Parallels on a Mac integrating Windows. The technology is capable of doing it well. Mainframe companies are emulating the largest systems on an Intel Servers allowing Windows, Linux, and Mainframe OS simultaneously on the same box and its been done for over a decade.

    Yes if you bottom feed your going to get crap but if you take the best each has to offer you can have something that's greater than the sum of its parts. Universal Computing is the future... whatever they call it.
     
  8. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how MS can "push" the third party devs. Make backend easier, include monetary incentives with licensing or whatever, free tools, but what else? MS can and will apply more force by killing the non-touch-friendly desktop portion of the interface, but it's the consumer that suffers in the meanwhile. It still comes down to commercial viability when talking about 3rd party. What would it take, for example, to get all Angry Birds versions into Metro?

    As for Plan B, it failed with Nokia X as I linked before, but maybe it might do better on Win10.
     
  9. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nokia X was a separate platform and I'm not going to speculate if it could have succeeded but it didn't fail as much as it was killed by its new owner.
     
  10. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Microsoft's biggest struggle is that the Developers who write for Windows are an aging bunch who write in the XP style of Win32 or ASP.NET....

    They need young developers to write to the Modern UI or as it is called now, Universal Apps, they are making progress but it has been slow because to many Windows user are still stuck working in the desktop world and never tried a Universal App.

    Windows 10 removes the distinction if Universal vs. Win32 in the desktop, this should improve the outlook but it is a long play... short term this won't change.

    Also... Android Apps on Windows in a death knell for Windows on Mobile, just like trying to run Windows Apps on Linux in the 90s to early aughts....
     
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  11. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    I submit that 100 GREAT apps would cover everything, (except games), and the issue is that on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store there is enough junk to go around. All the Stores have their ups and downs. Even the great apps frequently get hammered by better ones at some point but the old, previously great apps, are still there.

    The longer the Store exists the worse it will get.
     
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  12. zhenya

    zhenya Active Member

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    Yes, that's true. But in the case of virtualization, it was developed to meet very specific needs, and even today it still has limitations compared to running on bare metal. The entire point of going to an app model was the tight integration between hardware and software. To push emulation as an app solution is to completely miss that point.
     

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