Microsoft are trying to catch up in the mobile/tablet arena; the software giant currently has only about 2.2% of the smartphone market. Little wonder that developers aren’t writing apps for their app store, which has about 350,000 apps compared to Google Play’s 1,600,000. So how can they fix this?
1. Start running Android apps
Microsoft has an internal project code named “Astoria” which has been trying to allow Android apps to run on Windows Phones. As you can imagine, this has caused a bit of a backlash among dedicated Windows developers and it seems that the project may have been quietly scrapped recently.
2. Make a seamless phone/tablet/computer experience
Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) seeks to make apps scale across different screen sizes. That means that your Windows app will work on a phone, and scale up gracefully to work on a tablet or PC. This sounds a bit of a holy grail and many are skeptical that it will work, including (apparently) former Microsoft boss Steve Balmer.
3. Give up and focus on the cloud
Microsoft’s cloud services are doing well. They’re currently in 2nd place (based on revenue) behind Amazon in this arena (but some people are critical of their accounting stats). The challenge with cloud services is that they require expensive infrastructure, unlike selling software, which results in tighter margins. If Microsoft end up dominating the cloud services world, it won’t matter what device we use because every device will be earning them money.