Most Windows phone owners I know (myself included) loved the design (hardware and software), the customisability, etc. but the lack of apps ultimately made us move to another ecosystem.
It started with windows phone 8 and the Metro UI. Bad Idea. The UI was too far away from Android/iPhone to be easily ported and adding corporate design to it was hard as it was too different. Silverlight and XAML was okay for the time.
Then came windows 8.1 and windows desktop 8 which was universally hated. The whole fullscreen apps debacle was just horrible and all the unnecessary restrictions on store apps for desktop made no one ever consider porting their desktop app to a store app. The whole phone and desktop app in one was a joke aswell since it was (and still is!) horrible implemented. Did I mention they broke compatibility from 8.1 to phone 8? I didn't even bother starting all over again for windows 8.1 i just straight up skipped it.
Then windows 10 came and it finally looked like the UWP Plattform might do the trick. Well nope. The SDK is garbage. Scaling from phone to desktop is hidiously bad and afaik still not solved. The Live-Tiles got even worse since you couldn't programm them like the windows 8 ones. Just a whole mess. Couple that with the hillariously bad store interface (backend aswell as frontend) and 0 User engagement and it was bound to fail (as will all UWP apps)
You guys build a, I'm sorry to say but after 3 years of frustration it's fair to say, half-baked half-assed phone plattform that at no point had even a single feature that wasn't available better on iOS and Android, restricted the developers unecessarily, broke compatibility once a year requiring a complete rewrite and frankly build a product that only microsoft liked but was universally hated by their users.
It's a story of too little too late and a whole lot of arrogance on microsofts side.
Oh and don't even get me started on microsoft completely ignoring the european market where they actually got up to 15% marketshare of new devices sold for a while.
I'm really disinclined to invest in any of their technology because my headspace is finite and I want to deliver business value, not change the unworn carpets once a year.
The feedback loop is shit as well. Out falls a broken pile of shit for a CTP. No one accepts any feedback. It hits RTM, no one accepts any feedback. Two years down the line, the same bugs are open.
You should hear the partner reps wanting to cry when you report a bug in something that you NEED a fix for and are paying support for. You get fuck all other than a registry fix or a hack even if the mainline product is falling to bits across a thousand or so users (which is what happened to us).
Money where the mouth is as well. Typical shit:
https://github.com/Microsoft/SCVMMLinuxGuestAgent/issues/2 -> ignored. Regularly hoses our new VMs deploying windows on SCVMM.
https://github.com/dotnet/cli/issues/3093 -> fuck you go away we're just going to take your data unless you set a magic variable even though no one wants to give it away as indicated by the ticket and there are bugs in the configuration and it causes people massive audit problems.
> It's only a matter of time before some enterprising journalist looking for a scoop picks up on this. The headlines here are not good: "Microsoft caught with sneaky program to spy on companies"
Let me take care of that...
Edit: Wrote several of germanys biggest tech sites with focus on dataprotection aswell as the german ministry for cyber security with a link to that ticket. Let's see what happens
On a similar note if they get back to you, Mozilla is testing the waters with dumb privacy invasion stuff in Germany soon too:
They're probably across that already though, but if not it might be useful to point out to them. :)
The issue is well documented and explained: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/core/tools/telemetry
I applaud your vigilance, but you are a bit late.
Most of the issues you mention are solved in .NET, WPF and UWP. COM is a breeze to use in Delphi, MFC/ATL, .NET, C++/CX.
Windows is much more than just Win32.
Apparently Windows event system is so bad, that the younger generation re-inventing it in the form of React.
Also Cocoa, UI Kit, Android and Qt are all better solutions than Web.
The tools and software for traditional windows app programming have long been neglected and the newer ones throw you into a niche — and still don’t provide a cohesive story.
I would much rather pick up react and produce a working product in less time it takes to troubleshoot XAML databindng and styles, for instance. If my windows app needed something like a map component, I can drop one in my macOS, iOS app - the same one baked into the os - and on the web have an assortment of components to choose from — with WebGL support baked in.
Also, there isn’t such thing as a DX only gfx card - it happily runs OpenGL games and apps just fine
Try to make a CRUD SPA as fast as a Delphi one, including a nice L&F by default, just with mouse clicks and setting a few properties.
> Also, there isn’t such thing as a DX only gfx card - it happily runs OpenGL games and apps just fine
This statement means you don't have much experience in graphics programming, at least regarding the fun of dealing with drivers and how OEMs classify GPU features.
So if you prefer I will rephrase it as "WebGL 2.0 on OpenGL 4.6 GPU".
Now feel free to compare what it means in GPU features.
Hint, WebGL 2.0 is basically OpenGL ES 3.0, which maps to OpenGL 4.3.
Use Bootstrap for the look and feel. The browser's painting stack is far faster than Delphi's '90s style GDI, so you don't have to do anything there.
I only used Delphi as an example, because in 2017 the Web is yet to produce anything that approaches it, even Web Components are yet to be fully done.
A RAD tool is much more than just rendering widgets, a simple CRUD application should be doable just by clicking and setting properties, including talking to the database backend.
Speaking of WebComponents, when will Mozilla support HTML Imports?
> Most of the issues you mention are solved in .NET, WPF and UWP.
I wasn't talking about .NET, WPF, and UWP. I was responding to the claim that Petzold-style Win32 apps are better than the Web.
> Apparently Windows event system is so bad, that the younger generation re-inventing it in the form of React.
Huh? React is not WndProc.
> Also Cocoa, UI Kit, Android and Qt are all better solutions than Web.
I've written the same WebGL app twice now, once in Cocoa/Objective-C and once on the Web, with a TypeScript and Webpack stack. Once I got over the initial hump of learning the technology, it was a much nicer experience than my experience with Cocoa. TypeScript is a better language for UI development than C++, Java, or Obj-C, and the fact that the browser implementation of WebGL smooths over the issues with OpenGL on Mac was a huge relief.
Apparently others with better knowledge of Web than me, think otherwise about React vs WndProc.
As for your WebGL example, I would have used Swift with SceneKit instead, regarding productivity in native development on Apple systems.
Visual interface editor? Check.
Component-based UI model? Check. (It's all in Python, everything is an object, very Delphi-ish.)
Back-end communication? Check. (One-line RPC to call functions on the server.)
Database integration? Check.
(The built-in datastore runs on Postgres, and lets you do things like delegate views on a table directly to the client. Mix this with data bindings, and you can create CRUD apps with tiny amounts of code. Or you can start importing the appropriate Python libraries and go to town with your favourite DB.)
Win32 has warts on warts, but around the year 2000 the MS development space was a monoculture and the COM-to-GUI story was increasingly mature and integrated.
.Net came along and, on the one hand, positioned MS to be a whole different kind of tool provider (F# on dotnet core on linux in kuberernetes is niiiiice), but they also lost a few hundred man-years worth of local improvements to their platform. This without providing a credible replacement for Win32 ensuring it would be around for decades.
That fracture fractured again with XAML, again losing tons of maturity, and then fractured even further with the UWP/Silverlight/Metro/WhoKnows. I've never been a bigger fan of MS's product line, but can't justify or defend using much on the client other than html for fancy things or standard winforms for deployability.
19 years after the first release of apt-get and I'm still waiting for MS to give me something half as good.
I am of the opinion that if they had dropped the "use apps over the web" angle and focused on small-medium-enterprise continuous deployment they woulda had a true game changer on their hands... Click-Once dovetails naturally into something like Apples launchpad, its "turn it off and turn it on again" workflow was ideal for 'Sue in Accounting', its simplified publishing model is great for ISVs with lots of customers, and its sandboxy requirements are a natural fit for the way dotnet core is coming together.
And, yeah, that the Windows ecosystem is still worseoff than apt-get forever ago is a) shocking, b) further proof that Richard Stallman was right about everything ;)
perhaps doesn't solve your problems yet :)
Have you looked at chocolatey as a total replacement for apt-get? If you havent, be prepared for eye gouging disappointment! :(
I mean we can certainly point to examples where that's the case: Silverlight's a classic here, if that term's even appropriate, and then of course there's WP7, 8, and 10, as mentioned by the grandparent. And these are clearly not trivial examples.
Nevertheless, I must point out that large bodies of code I wrote in the mid-noughties are still running substantially unmodified today. What's perhaps interesting is that these codebases are desktop tools, where it can be argued that Microsoft have achieved true mastery (after WPF came out everything notably settled down, and unlike MFC and WinForms it really hasn't been replaced).
It tends to be other areas where the worst of the churn has occurred: web, mobile, database access (how many versions of EF to get it right?). Of course, these are areas that have seen significant growth over the past few years.
My pet theory is that this is because the dev
tools department at Microsoft is not a pure cost
centre with the sole task of improving the platform,
they have Visual Studio licenses to sell.
It doesn't even seem like they're acting in rational self-interest by doing that.
I suppose their rationale is that they give a lot of development tools away for free, and you only really have to pay for the really enterprise-y editions. I guess? Still dumb to me.
Later, when the PC platform became what we know today, there wasn't really a channel for free (small f) software except shareware magazines and Microsoft surely would not be seen with that crowd! In those days, Microsoft wasn't concerned with losing the heads and minds to another platform but with losing the revenue to Borland. Since then, more and more has been made available (I still fondly remember laying my hands on the first Windows SDK day came with a free command line version of the MSVC compiler), but it is a culture shift that won't be rushed as long as there are no really pressing reasons.
For a while now they haven't been doing that. Community editions are just as good as paid ones and before that Express versions were still comparable if not better than open source IDEs.
Partnering with them gives rebates on their dev tools licenses and gives you kickback when you push your customers to buy for-realsies licenses.
VS is just the fishermans hook, the haul are the 600 SQL server CPU licenses you have ticking all day, every day.
There was a time when MS would detecting the binary name, and change core kernel functionality just to provide bug-compatibility to older versions of Windows. By that time they got an unbeatable market dominance...
Maybe it's fixed with the reinvigorated WPF on Win10. I don't care anymore, but I do caution anyone to ever use any MS Technology younger than 15 years.
In a way, I think it's harder to pick technologies today for large projects. It seems like if something isn't new and growing steadily, it's stale and fading fast. What are the tools and frameworks with a long, healthy middle age ahead of them? I'm learning Go right now because there are a couple of web services I need, but I'm not that confident that I'll be able to run the same code for the next 20 years.
If they had semvered the whole thing: Avalon => UWP 0.x, WPF => UWP 1.x, Silverlight => UWP 2.x, Windows 8.1 UAP => UWP 3.x, today's UWP ~=> UWP 4.x, I don't think any developer would have blinked, I feel like we'd have a lot fewer people feeling they dropped support for things... Then again, developers like to complain when their cheese is moved, it could be just like Python 2 versus Python 3 or VB6 versus VB7.
The only major thing: added Direct2D H/W accelerated backend to support high-DPI and multi-DPI systems. Yet incremental addition of CSS features.
Silverlight was mainly for apps embedded in the browser. It was very limited compared to WPF and not meant to replace it.
Similarly, Metro was not meant to replace WPF. It was extremely limited in what you can do. You couldn't build serious desktop apps with that.
The fact that all those technologies use XAML does not mean they're newer versions of the same thing. The difference in APIs is not what matters, it's the difference in what they can actually do and how that makes them different.
I think you can tell that WinRT/Metro/UWP was/is meant to replace WPF. It used to be extremely limited, but A) had a bigger cross-platform reach that WPF (ARM is/was a big deal), so started with the cross-platform subset, B) was essentially "Win64" from scratch so had a lot of pieces to build.
Starting next month-ish UWP supports .NET Standard 2.0 and the hard work of the re-convergence of classic desktop .NET and cross-platform .NET APIs has happened (huzzah), and it will be a lot harder to argue that UWP is "extremely limited" compared to WPF because 70% of NuGet will just work.
> I don't understand why they even needed UWP. Why not improve WPF?
The short story: 1) To first-class support more platforms/architectures (ARM). 2) To support C/C++ and other COM developers, bringing everyone COM [WinRT]  and Managed (.NET) to the same table. (Microsoft still has a lot of teams invested in C/C++; it shouldn't be a surprise that they couldn't just focus on .NET and leave C/C++ devs behind.)
The full story I think is pretty fascinating, but that's the executive summary.
 Crazy aside: the tech still sort of known as WinRT is closer to the original goal of .NET as a COM replacement than .NET became. It's also close enough to COM that I'm still surprised no one's admitted to building a UWP Delphi or VB6 app. (Not that I'd admit to doing so if I built such a beast.)
Somehow they seem to lack leadership.
It's easy to say in hindsight that they should have tried for something like what .NET Standard 2.0 is today earlier, but I, at least, can't blame them for attempting to try to clean house and remove terrible dev experiences like AppDomains and DataTable. Those APIs are terrible and should have died.
Again, I'm not sure how much clearer of an upgrade path you could want? If you have a WPF app today, everything but the XAML will work in Fall Creators Update UWP. The XAML may even be trivial to convert to UWP XAML, they are related like family.
Because that was the main limitation of Metro apps, you couldn't really do anything useful with them, you couldn't even access the hard drive normally or edit the windows registry. This is why you couldn't "upgrade". It wasn't an upgrade to any previous tech, it was a downgrade as the platform literally had less capabilities. It is, or at least was, basically a platform for making sandboxed mobile apps that you can run on the desktop...
This is why they clearly weren't (at least Metro, I haven't worked with UWP) an "upgrade" to anything. Silverlight wasn't an "upgrade" to WPF for the exact same reason. It was a more limited platform and you couldn't switch WPF apps over. So MS calling Silverlight or Metro a new version of WPF would have been retarded.
So, you still can't touch the registry by default, but why would you want to? There are much better places to store stuff.
The UWP is meant to be a replacement for Win32, so it shouldn't be a shock that a lot of Win32 components aren't available by default.
However, you can use the Desktop Bridge and request permission in your app manifest for more privileges, including things like registry access. The Desktop Bridge has a lot of examples out there on things you can do. You can use the Desktop Bridge to transition a WPF app slowly to UWP over time. For instance, you could launch UWP screens from your WPF app, allowing you to move piece-at-a-time if you wanted. There are even samples on how to migrate settings currently stored in the registry (ugh, why) over to Local AppData storage like a proper application, to transition away from Win32 bad practices. (Of course, the parts of the application that need the Desktop Bridge will only work on Windows with a Win32 subsystem.)
On the other hand Win8/10 apps don’t run on anything than the OS they were released on. Which is totally laughable because it means choosing the MS stack allow one to target less Windows OSes than third party tools. So these SDK were doomed from the beginning as thay couldn’t leverage the existing Windows userbase.
If it is old, it will be supported for a long time. If it is new, the odds are mostly on it not surviving. Ever wondered why so many people insist on using outdated stuff?
You get a better deal from open source. But even there you may not like the possible consequences of using non-mainstream things.
You can still run VB6 apps but try running a .net framework 1.0 app!
So realistically for most MS stack devs it was MFC -> VB -> WinForms -> WPF -> Metro -> UWP. And MFC was released 25 years ago. So they switched 5 times in 25 years. You could possibly add Silverlight in there (which is extremely similar to WPF so only half-counts for churn purposes).
Now, I agree that the Metro -> UWP part was unnecessary because they were doing the same thing twice so they should have gotten it right the first time (and I think the whole UWP concept is worthless anyway).
If we look at MFC -> VB -> WinForms -> WPF, all those technologies provided a lot of value to us and it was very useful to have them. Would you want to still be programming in MFC today? I am pretty sure you wouldn't. I do not feel any "churn" from this (note: I never switched to Metro/UWP because I considered it a step backwards, unlike the previous "switches", so I stopped at WPF when it comes to desktop), I can barely remember programming in VB 6.0 because it was such a long time ago.
Saying that's "exactly the same" as the situation with web is ridiculous.
WPF, Metra, UWP, and Silverlight in 2007 -> 2017 is 4 overhauls in 10 years or an overhaul every 2.5 years.
Also not fixing bugs in earlier tech creates a compulsion to switch to the next tech.
Not only are their incentives still out of alignment, the massive consultant eco-system they maintain is still incentivized to push the same-old lock in in a new costume.
SOAs are like partners in bed... it's not just about who you're sleeping with, you gotta think about who they have slept with too.
Object Pascal, Powerplant, Quickdraw, Java Bridge, Quicktime, QuicktimeVR, Carbon, OpenGL, ...
Apparently only Microsoft does it.
"It started with windows phone 8 and the Metro UI. Bad Idea. The UI was too far away from Android/iPhone to be easily ported "
"half-baked half-assed phone plattform that at no point had even a single feature that wasn't available better on iOS and Android"
As someone who played around with WP7 when it first came out, I'd argue that the Metro UI was the best one available at the time. But the side effect of that is that it was different, and difficult to adapt an existing app to.
Essentially, MS needed to make a bold new platform with inventive new features, but also make the platform very compatible with the other major mobile platforms. You can't easily square that circle. Now, MS also messed up in a million and one ways (like my phone never getting a WP8 upgrade...) but I think their fundamental challenge was very, very difficult.
Her use of a phone is very practical: contacts, texting, weather information. All of this was available at a glance in a much much better way than either Android or the iPhone have. It was a better business UI.
It was harder to use if you had many apps. But seriously, having a phone open to the equivalent of Windows 3.1's Program Manager (which is what Android and iPhone deliver) is not great!
Android opens to something like a Desktop, with some combination of Widget apps and/or app shortcuts. Mine is configured to show a clock, mini calendar, and weather. Incoming e-mails, SMSes, or other messages are visible in the notification bar. I could configure it to show me little previews of messages, but I chose not to.
According to the dates I found online says Windows was the first to have a feature that would automatically connect to your cellular connection if the Wifi didn't work. Most consumers don't care but it is something I was surprised iPhones and Android didn't have at least at the time. In addition continuum is unique/better in many ways although that is more recent. It has been a while since I have used a Windows Phone.
 Windows 8.1 definitely had it in 2014 according to this https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10652/windows-phone... I'm pretty sure Windows Phones predating this also had it although documentation seems lacking.
 Wi-fi assist was introduced in iOS 9(2015). https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205296
 There are apps for Android that do this but at least this one is 3rd party. No sources says it predates 2015. I have not experimented with this on Android. https://www.guidingtech.com/54831/get-ios-like-wi-fi-assist-...
Huh? Maybe my memory if failing me, but that's how networking on iOS always worked.
This is the most infuriating feature ever. Google implemented it in 2014 in Android, and you couldn't properly disable it. Not even today.
I frequently need to connect to intranets where Google services are blocked for security reasons, and it's infuriating to fight hundreds of times with the settings so you can get the WiFi to work.
I remember having an app on android that did that long before windows phone had it. It was able to turn on/off your wifi based on your location. Great battery saver.
> In addition continuum is unique/better in many ways although that is more recent. It has been a while since I have used a Windows Phone.
Samsung cloned it for their S8 Series and it seems to be actually usable from the start compared to windows continuum. Though by the time continuum was available, wp was dead.
That is technically different although similar. I have updated with dates. Windows Phone definitely appears to have been first in this scenario unless you count rooted devices which may have something I don't know about.
If the wifi doesn't work, no phone will use it. If the wifi is BAD, that is completely different.
In early 2013, I reported a bug when some of the elements inside LongListSelector would disappear randomly on scrolling. LongListSelector is WP’s counterpart for iOS’s tableView.
So I started a discussion on Microsoft forums on this bug. Someone from Microsoft confirmed this bug.
I tracked this bug for 9 months. And guess what they never fixed it. They never fixed a critical bug in the most used UI component of mobile apps.
A lot people tell me Xcode is garbage, Eclipse is a nightmare, but these apps keep getting cranked out. The Android / iOS language and platform api's are SNAFU, but people get still get into the IDE and start making, without any promise for a set of conversion-frameworks + XML files that will make the app for All The Things. At the rate an app builder is adding features, the universal-platform paradigm is cognitive overload.
I think a No-XML based approach to app development, similiar to VB6 / VBA, would have been greatly appreciated. If MS gives me a stable API to an email client, a calendar, a shared drive, and a messaging or video chat service, I'd spend the 5 hours to automate a 5 minute inconveneince. A windows phone with a bunch of "lifehacks" apps would tremendously useful to much of the smartphone market, as long as they had the cant-live-without-apps too.
Xcode is absolutely sits at the bottom of the IDE rankings, but Eclipse shouldn't even be a concern for Android devs.
Android Studio is a very nice IDE and no Android dev should touch Eclipse ever again. It's a shame it's tied to the Android platform, honestly.
I'd kill to have Android Studio's functionality when developing for iOS. (And no, AppCode doesn't make the cut)
It's not, it also supports Java, C++/C/ObjC, Go, Python, PHP, JS, and many more. Find the other Jetbrains IDEs at https://www.jetbrains.com/
If you use InteliJ with Android plugin instead, then you will always be behind the curve of the actual Android development, as JetBrains catches up.
Only a handful of them aren’t.
You can have all the features of Android Studio in all the languages I mentioned just with the open plugins.
As proof of this, the Flutter team just released a version of their plugins for Android Studio.
Android Studio also includes bits of CLion for example.
My argument was that you can take IntelliJ’s open edition, with its plugins for C++/C, etc, slightly modify it, and get the same functionality as you’d have in Android Studio for more languages than just Android.
1 - InteliJ Android plugin is not the same as Android Studio, it lags a few versions behind;
2 - The free C and C++ plugins are not the same as the parts from CLion that Google integrated into Android Studio;
3 - Additionally the mixed Java/Kotlin and NDK debugging is also taken from CLion
So if you want to be behind the curve of what Android developers use daily, by all means use pure InteliJ with the plugins you are suggesting.
Great, you could’ve checked my profile, or googled who I am, but apparently you didn’t. Spoiler: I do. A lot.
> 1 - InteliJ Android plugin is not the same as Android Studio, it lags a few versions behind;
Which is irrelevant, because Android Studio itself is also splittered into several versions, and many devs simply use the beta, and others use IDEA directly, and yet others simply copied the plugin over.
The plugin in IDEA Ultimate is up-to-date with the latest stable version of Android Studio, btw.
> 2 - The free C and C++ plugins are not the same as the parts from CLion that Google integrated into Android Studio;
No, but they differ insignificantly, I’ve been using both options daily, and both work just the same and fine.
> 3 - Additionally the mixed Java/Kotlin and NDK debugging is also taken from CLion
That’s something I don’t know anything about, as I mostly use a custom solution for that purpose.
And the open C++ plugin is actually the same that powers CLion (if you have CLion installed, I recommend looking at the plugin list)
What was so horrible about it? I almost invested in a surface just off the strength of the UI; I rather liked that they were trying to merge desktop and tablet. Why was the experience so bad?
- the start menu covered the whole screen
- applications could only run full screen, even the simplest ones. You literally couldn't have 2 applications on the screen at the same time.
- it was hard to close applications
- it was very difficult to find the shutdown/reset/etc options
- the metro versions of "default" apps looked bad and were vastly inferior to the "old" versions. A lot of system settings ones had this problem, too (not relevant to the average user, but I use a VPN that is impossible to set up to work in the simple "metro" VPN app, but if you find and start the old win7 app which still exists, you can set it up correctly and you can even connect to it from the "metro" VPN app after that)
- a lot of computer games that worked on 7 didn't work on 8 (likely unrelated to metro UI but still a reason for many people not to update)
Some problems were fixed in Windows 8.1. In Windows 10, most of these things are fine (although Win10 gets hate because of its update system and because it installs unwanted apps, but it seems to have much more acceptance overall).
Windows 8 basically offered nothing to the average user except annoyance so people didn't want to update. It had a very nice improvement for developers in the form of Hyper-V, which is the only reason I upgraded, and only after 8.1 was released.
The root problem with Windows 8 UI was that it was clearly not designed with the intention of being a better desktop UI. It was designed with the intention of forcing users to get used to the Windows Phone-style UI on their desktop computer, in hopes that they will then buy Windows Phones out of familiarity. Basically desktop Windows had to "take one for the team". We can see here how much that helped WP.
I suspect it was related to streamlining by removing the oldest backward compatibility features, as the only apps that broke were those that ran on windows XP, most frequently they were games that weren't programmed with Vista+ in consideration (often because it didn't exist when originally released).
I specifically remember a bunch of games capping at about 20 FPS on Windows 7 and going 60-100fps on 8 when it was new using my nVidia Quadro SLI setup at the time, and having no luck finding anyone else report this on google (likely because so many people weren't giving 8.x a chance so they didn't notice).
I actually loved 8 and thought that 8.1's gui was a step backwards, the gui was extra easy to use and originally had me going back and forth between windows 7 and 8 when the performance difference eventually won me over completely as my default environment. I still kept 7 installed on another drive for the infrequent use of incompatible apps.
I can't dispute the unpopularity of Windows Phone, but from what I hear the Windows Store is fairly successful in Windows 10. Many consumers use it to install apps, which is a judge of popularity. However, if by popularity you instead mean sentiment, then I get the impression that currently most people are ambivalent about the Store in so far as it is a pragmatic tool that people neither love nor hate, just as most people neither love nor hate their toaster so long as it toasts. (Certainly there are haters, but volume of their voices is not necessarily an indication of their size/number/consumer spending activity per the first definition of a popularity, just a reminder of the passion with which they feel their sentiment.)
Here's one data point for you. Windows Store used to have an official Kindle app. It doesn't since the end of last year, because Amazon basically said they don't see the return on that investment. They now recommend their desktop Win32 app if you want to read Kindle books on Windows.
Needless to say, iOS and Android do have well-supported Kindle apps.
(As a kindle user, I too am extremely disappointed Amazon developers haven't yet build a modern kindle reader for Windows 10 and cling to their Windows 7-targeted Win32 apps for now. The Silverlight-based app they built for Windows 8.1 I still use sometimes, and it is woefully out of date with the features of most of their other apps.)
And it is next to impossible to get a refund.
Last week I noticed that my purchased music on Groove has disappeared ahead of the end of year termination of service.
That said, it has been possible to share a lot of code (if not almost all of it) between a WPF and UWP app for a while now with PCLs, or after that targeting .NET Standard. That gets even easier once UWP support for .NET Standard 2.0 ships soonish. There's also been work recently on Xamarin.WPF for Xamarin's cross-platform code sharing, and the XAML Standard 1.0 work trying to converge much of the XAML across all the platforms Xamarin supports and UWP to get rid of a some of the dialectal nuances.
As it is, it's easier to just target WPF.
And I know it's not an easy thing. But if e.g. the resources that went into Windows Mobile were spent there instead, I think the ecosystem would have been much further ahead, and we'd actually see more useful UWP apps.
It's easy to armchair quarterback hindsight and wonder if they spent too much money in the green field, but it should be reasonable to see why the green field looked so appealing at the time.
It's also easy from 2017 to forget the real, hard, brown field battles that Microsoft did fight, particularly as Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 slowly become "forgotten" versions of Windows like Vista before them. Almost all of the missteps in Windows 8 that people yelled at Microsoft for direct consequences of building the UWP out and trying to make it competitive to Win32. Some of the features like the Charms were attempts to give the UWP some platform-wide features that would have really differentiated it from Win32, but found they added confusion because they weren't easily portable back to Win32, and that is just one example out of many. Brown field work is hard.
I don't get the impression that the green field work Microsoft tried in mobile ate resources that would have been better spent on the brown field work on the desktop. Win32 has such momentum at this point that had Microsoft thrown more resources at Windows 8, trying to bring UWP further ahead faster they might have only gotten more backlash from Win32 fans, and arguably there wasn't a much better plan for desktop than the uneasy truce between the two platforms/subsystems that Windows 10 is/has become.
If they had built a "UWP subsystem for Windows 7" at the time of Windows 8, people would have asked for it for the last remaining months of Windows XP. Asking for a "UWP
subsystem for Windows 7" today is a bit like asking for that Windows XP subsystem. Windows 7 is feature complete; it may have security support for a bit longer, but it's out of support for new Windows features (it ended mainstream support in 2015; it ends extended support in 2020). It's now two released versions behind (8, 10) and more versions behind if you count "service packs" (8, 8.1, 10 (1506), 10 1511, 10 1607 (AU), 10 1703 (CU), and the new one (FCU) coming later this month/early next month).
Honest introspection: if you are a developer and someone asked for a feature to be backported to a version from 7 years ago that is 6 major versions back, would you support that or would you encourage them to pay for your hard work and upgrade to something more recent that already has that feature?
It's not just that the work is hard, it's ignoring years of hard work that you've already done.
(by the way, do check my HN profile...)
(The Python 2 versus Python 3 "war" is obviously very related. Sunk costs on developer/ecosystem side versus sunk costs on library/platform/language side. It's a fascinating dance that likely will always plague development.)
For what it is worth, to explore the other side, there probably were ways out of the development trap for Microsoft had they tried, and there probably are "Mexican stand-off" issues to blame and "throwing good money after bad". Silverlight (WPF/E) was meant to be a way around that standoff. I still think it was a mistake that the fork of Silverlight with desktop application support that Mesh had used to support XP and Vista was never productized. Silverlight was always meant to be a cross-platform bridge technology to WPF (and Avalon), and the .NET Core and UWP Stacks grew out of Silverlight in many respects.
The browser focus of Silverlight deployments may have been a mistake, and while Mobile realized it was exactly the transition tool they needed (using it for Windows Phone 7 and 8 while the proto-UWP was in development for 8.1 and 10), it probably was a mistake in hindsight that there wasn't a stronger "Silverlight for Desktop" option, even if it would have muddied the waters between WPF and eventually UWP. Because, yes Silverlight for Desktop could reach back to the developers stuck with sunk cost in XP or Die corporate environments (again, poor Mesh, RIP, being the poster child of that possibility), made code sharing between Mobile (Windows Phone 7) and Desktop possible/easy in the Windows 7+ transition period to Windows 8, etc.
Given Mobile seemed to recognize the importance of that transition, I'm inclined to believe that less money thrown at mobile wouldn't have helped in this particular case. Based on conversations I had at the time, my gut feeling is that some old guard C/C++ PMs had a lot more to do with the curmudgeonliness of Desktop through the transition era than the money thrown at Mobile. There certainly seemed to be a lot of distrust of any UI platform that wasn't directly developable from C/C++ and that sort of "COM or Die" Mexican standoff I feel (as mostly an outsider trying to make sense of crazy patterns, and some really bad, tangentially related interview feedback) had more to do with the rough transition to Windows 8 and UWP than Mobile did. Mobile at least tried to smooth that transition. (Arguably Mobile was in a better place to try to smooth that transition given the relative popularity of Compact Framework apps in WM 6.5, versus raw C/C++ development, but that's also a different argument.)
Anyway, armchair quarterbacking this is definitely fun, especially with hindsight and not having to actually fight any of the battles that were fought. I can very much appreciate why we are where we are at today, and yes can see some places where things could have been improved, but I also realize why they were such hard fought battles (the sunk cost fallacy is a big one that impacts most sides of all of these debates).
Thanks for laying bare why it failed so badly.
Not only is this untrue for years past, it's still untrue (See Continuum + UWP)
Ah, yes. $100 per app. I'm sure that's what most apps cost to produce. /s
It seems like they did a few things, but never actually, you know, paid app developers to build out their ecosystem.
Why spend $100,000 developing something one app when you could get 1000 for the same price?!
It's not much worse for MS than 90%, and it makes a much nicer marketing story if you're trying to convince developers to get on your platform.
Either way that experience always comes up for me whenever people talk about the low quality of apps on the Windows store.
> leaves out the fact that 99% of them are either web wrappers or low quality games
This is why we have confounding factors, kids.
I had a Surface Pro 3 at the time and there were maybe 10 apps worth using on a touchscreen. Eventually gave up and sold it to get a Mac and iPad.
"I'll pay you $100 or split the equity for my cool new app idea!"
No, Microsoft beat Microsoft. It was their game to lose.
You're 100% right, MS beat MS.
Because 7 burned the app bridge with 6.5, thus making it ever easier for someone to justify moving to a different platform.
Never mind that at launch iphone was more fancy featurephone than smartphone.
Not really. iPhone was the first phone ever that shipped with a real, full-featured, non-crippled web browser. This was an astonishing achievement at the time, and one which made its existing competition look like "fancy featurephones," not the reverse. (Really an astonishing achievement period, considering it had 128MB of RAM).
Yes, Walter Isaacson said that others tried to convince Steve about apps at launch, but from the moment he started talking about web apps on that stage in 2007, I never believed for a moment it was really the angle. I knew a couple folks who worked on the first couple revs of iOS, installable apps were always possible, if underdeveloped, from day one. Jobs had lots of resources at Apple in the 80s, and frittered them away on the Lisa and Apple III. He stumbled on Pixar, not knowing where it would go, and had a hell of a time figuring out how to position NeXT, but all those failures taught him that in business, like in art (and we know he felt himself an artist), making the most within the constraints of the medium is they key to success. He came back to Apple on its deathbed. He negotiated with MS for a transfusion to stay alive, and knew even though OS9 sucked, they needed a splash. They had the iMac. Pare down a personal computer to what was needed at the time. Monitor, modem/ethernet, CD drive. No need for a floppy, they're dying, chuck it for an external one you can charge for. No need to pack it with a super spiffy CPU or oodles of RAM, people can pay for an upgrade. Just make it slick looking and work well. Same with the iPod. Pimp it out with upgrades later, after the MVP proves its worth. The G4 cube failed, it never was really iterated on.
He learned from Microsoft, create a MVP, if it seems to catch on, iterate fast.
Barely any platform had 3rd party apps. No one had a streamlined app store, SDK and monetization process like iOS came out with in 2008.
In iOS 2.0 they introduced a new feature that allows you to save web pictures to Photos.
Full-feature redefined. :)
Edit: a full-featured television indeed, by Alan Kay's definition: https://www.fastcompany.com/40435064/what-alan-kay-thinks-ab...
A full-fledged browser experience in 2007 to me means at least I could have mouse hover, to deal with sites not yet adapting to mobile computing (there were a lot of them). WM6 browsers did that. If it fails, I'd go and use my Palm device to VNC into my workstation -- a 2004 Sony device that will be up-to-date forever because it is a decent thin client.
Of course it will cause other troubles -- battery life, thermal management, slow startup, or even unstability etc. This is, to my understanding, why Apple decided to ship a "reduced" version of Safari3.
Edit: adding explainations.
I would have to disagree with that statement. Windows Mobile and BlackBerry allowed 3rd party apps to be installed, but they were both difficult to find and didn't usually add anything beneficial to the phones at the time. Users, for the most part, stuck to what was installed on the phone and that was it. Smartphones were defined by the fact they had an email client and a (relative to the time) high-resolution screen to read and write emails on.
It was a different market in 2007. The idea that a successful smartphone required an app ecosystem was unheard of.
What the iPhone did was genius: they created demand for the phone, but would only sell through phone companies willing to let Apple control the app market. That made all the difference: all of sudden, a developer could make an app and have it show up to bazillions of people.
[disclaimer: I currently work for Microsoft, but not in the phone team. But I do have apps in the Microsoft app store!]
There were many companies living on this stuff. Mobile data was still very expensive, which didn't change for a few more years, and touchscreens were small and crappy. So the market was mostly business logic and CRM apps because they were the ones that could afford it.
That changed when mobile data and big screens became cheap enough for consumers, but I think Apple was as confused about that as everyone else given the state of early iPhones.
LOTS of people got heated when that happened.
For one app? For an app they would have to give away for free? For an app that would always be behind the FB built ios/android apps?
To spend that kind of money on marketing and then not dedicate resources to the actual product seems foolish. And I am not saying they should have done this for only one app. I am saying they should have done this for many apps. If they had created quality versions of, say, the top 25 apps for mobile at the time they would have been in a much better position. I believe they could have made significant traction with business users. Remember, at the time Office wasn't available on other platforms and was (is) a huge draw for many people.
If they had been successful with the strategy and gained market share the partners would have wanted to take over their own apps anyway to enable monetization. But they needed users for that and to get users they needed apps. You have to jump start it somehow.
Now, would it have made any difference? Who knows. But IMO, you either need to not do it or you need to do all parts of it right. You can't go half way on the ecosystem and expect to succeed in an already challenging market.
To spend that kind of money on marketing and then not dedicate resources to the actual product seems foolish.
This list keeps changing every month. Remember Pokemon Go?
Other smaller apps would have followed and been made by independent developers but you need to cover the apps almost everybody is using and make them comparable feature and quality/performance wise to iOS and Android versions.
Number one thing most people do on their new phone is download Facebook/Messenger/Twitter. If those apps suck they will immediately have a very bad impression and will switch back to iOS or Android as soon as they get a chance.
Third party developers were moving slowly (or not at all) so Apple started developing and giving away (or selling) apps that showed off what you could do with the new platform.
They developed Safari when Microsoft lost interest in further development of Internet Explorer. The iLife suite had iTunes, iCal, iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, iWeb and GarageBand. The iWork suite had Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. They created (or bought) professional apps like Logic Pro, Final Cut, Shake, Motion and Aperture.
If you have a new platform and third party developers don't step up, then you need to start filling those holes yourself in a way that shows off your platform's advantages, and keep at it.
If they were serious about growing the user base and building these apps internally was their only course of action (seems like it was) then it should have been taking more seriously (assuming parent is spot on here, I have no idea really.)
When Apple launches an Phone, it’s avaliable world wide. When Microsoft launches a phone, it’s avaliable in America.
My last windows phone was a Lumia 925, the last Lumia announced I waited 7 months for it to reach singapore before throwing in the towel and going android.
There were no phones avaliable outside America, uk, Australia.
Now I use iPhone. I have no sympathy for Microsoft in regards to it’s phone biz because it didn’t try to break the market.
"According to Kantar's October 2013 report, Windows Phone accounted for 10.2% of all smartphone sales in Europe and 4.8% of all sales in the United States."
and then this one
"Microsoft announced new data from IDC indicating that Windows Phone is the second-most-used mobile platform in Latin America."
Lastly, do you not remember the launch of the iPhone? Not only was it only available in the US, you could only get it on AT&T.
There can be many reasons Windows Phone failed, but what you've mentioned isn't one of them.
Windows phones were never a serious competitor. It just wasn't that important to the life and death of Microsoft and the result, from a business organizational perspective, is very much expected.
E.g. I live in the UK, and I can't remember ever having seen a Windows phone in the stores. I'm sure they're available, because I've seen people use them now and again. But if they were available in the stores I've been in, they were hidden away.
Windows phone was quite popular in Asia yet it died due to lack of devices.
My mum still rocks an HTC HD7 tho.
I had been a Windows Mobile 6.1 user.
Microsoft does not launch subsequent products globally.
The surface takes many many months to reach many parts of Asia. Surface studio is only in a hand full of countries. Surface laptop is only in a handful of countries. Surface book is almost non existent.
The only thing Microsoft makes that it launches well is the Xbox.
Edit: to add insult to the injury, Microsoft teams seem to think that literally no one ever speaks a language outside of its original country. Until literally 2-3 updates ago(so for 4 years after launch) you couldn't set the language on your Xbox One to a different one than your Region, which of course would prevent you from accessing the store correctly. Live in UK but want to have the console in German? Tough luck, you better set your region to Germany, there was no other way. It's just gross incompetence.
Yeah, I remember this argument. It depends on whether it benefits Apple or not. For example, when Apple moved off of Google for it's mapping, people were saying that this was just the first iteration, the first version of Maps, when it clearly wasn't, and that the fact that it lost features and information that were there before, people were okay with it because it was Apple's first map software (when it really wasn't).
I just find it interesting the way this argument is used for and against Apple.
You can't hold both to be true at the same time. Either Apple was wrong with it's Maps release, or Microsoft was fine when not competing. You can't say Apple was right and Microsoft was wrong. It's illogical.
Hell, i could have sworn he had to be talked down from lawyerbombing jailbreakers and cydia into the ground.
Why wouldn't he want to sell it worldwide and make Apple significantly more money?
I currently carry the last Windows Mobile phone on Verizon (the US' largest carrier). It is from 2014. (Actually, a new Elite x3 is coming out next week, three years later.) This is ridiculous. When the Elite x3 originally came out, we wondered what insanity was someone releasing a phone "for enterprise" that didn't work on Verizon, the main carrier of enterprise users.
We didn't need apps, we needed phones.
Whose fault is this though? Was it missing a particular radio band, or was it anti-competitive behaviour by Verizon? I'm used to just buying phones and slipping in the SIM.
The problem was that a big enterprise customer is clueless about mobile apps, and Microsft’s endemic NIH syndrome made it difficult to work with business systems that aren’t Microsoft platforms.
O365 is a great example... the office platform should be an amazing mobile platform that drives all sorts of interesting things. But as an O365 customer, Microsoft just uses it as a lever to push their MDM product (you cannot configure Office apps without Microsoft stuff).
MDM is a pure commodity play. Microsoft would rather made $4.99 month on Intune than capture business process on their platform, which is worth 10x more.
Meanwhile Apple treats everyone pretty equally, and you can actually get stuff done.
I said this 20 years ago and it is still true today... Microsoft should spin off Office, server and client into different companies. Office could be an exponentially more valuable cash cow without being dragged down by the shitshow of Windows. Windows on client is a legacy product providing solutions to problems that people don’t have. Office is fundamentaly a more valuable platform.
Where I work, PC users spend more time in Outlook any other application. Browser and Word account for about 50% and 25% less time on average. So why are we presenting this UI optimized for computing circa 1997 where people run lots of little apps? Apple got this right by making iOS very low touch.
As the older generation is dying off / retiring, the percentage of people who have been using a computer for a long time has increased immensely, the "secretary who can't figure out copy/paste" issue is becoming less relevant every day. These days the only people I need to help do basic tasks in Windows are my retired parents.
I don't see how an iOS-like UI would be an improvement for virtually anything I can imagine doing on a Windows PC.
Well, yeah, since the non-executive secretaries have been replaced by Office and network drives, essentially.
What I’m saying is that an operating environment built around Office and its functions would be more useful than the cruft built around Windows that is mostly redundant.
Windows is a boat anchor on Office.
If Microsoft released an update tomorrow that made it into an OS based around Office the user base would riot. "How to prevent windows from updating" would become the most popular google search in history overnight.
Clear area for disruption here. But it's IT stuff, so no one wants to touch it because it's not a cool selfie app.
And then they made AD, and extended the LDAP spec so that 3rd-party clients had a hard time working with it. But I digress.
Microsoft continues to exist because they can setup a system -- for many millions of dollars -- that allow a Fortune 500 to lock down PC's to the point of, say, not allowing users to change the desktop background. And CIO's nod their heads, stroke their chins, and say, "Yes, we need this. Our data is INFINITELY valuable. The files we create in the course of manufacturing something that can easily be bought, disassembled, measured, and knocked off in China, needs AS MUCH PROTECTION AS I CAN POSSIBLY SPEND MONEY ON. Oh, and 'SOX'! Feel free to make the users' workflow as miserable as possible."
In my opinion, this is why Windows Phone didn't make it. Microsoft's continuing vision is in letting someone ELSE control your computing devices. A phone is too personal for that.
Azure has provided enough of this IT-end-user-abuse-control such that big companies are following right into their cloud product. For this, all I can do is tip my hat to Nadella. Well played, sir. Well played.
It's all fun and games untill 2000 users cannot log into their machines because your new shiny active directory replacement didn't work.
Especially as they get more and more attention from the military-industrial complex.
The latter will make them love Outlook.
I started my career with an employer which used Lotus Notes and has quite a bit of investment with custom Domino apps.
I'm glad that's in the past.
They value their business and possible legal consequences, in case there is a data breach coming out of Gmail or similar online services.
Of course companies that don't care about NDAs compliance, medical data, critical research information, offshoring of customer data, the upcoming GPDR 2018 and similar laws, can put their internal data wherever they feel like.
And then as a regular joe you would actually put in the effort* to get things working well. Then you would watch these bug-plagued big name 3-star ports appear out of nowhere and usurp you on the top free lists and search results due to their favorable placements. And then you would move on to a fairer market, and when microsoft stopped paying them, the big app developers did too (not that they ever updated or fixed the bugs on windows phone releases.)
* Difficult as windows phone was the only mobile platform not supporting openGL in hardware and the top sold windows phones were incredibly low spec.
They could do it, though. They could.
All major middleware engines already support Metal as well, and relevant companies like Adobe are using it as well.
Even if they don't officially drop GL, they could just leave it on life support, similarly to Carbon APIs.
And neither Direct3D nor Metal have any real advantages over Vulkan. They exist for locking in developers.
Sony did bother to offer OpenGL ES 1.0 with Cg for shaders. Hardly anyone used it.
Nintendo introduced Vulkan on Switch, while keeping their own API. Lets see how it will go.
The advantages over Vulkan from both APIs are not being C based in 2017, great graphical debuggers, a full stack experience instead of tracking down libraries for math, fonts, textures, ....
Game development culture is not about being all friends and sharing code, rather making the best money of IP and selling services, in particular porting code among gaming devices.
The report I heard back was that they treated it as an opportunity to try to sell us Office 365.
(The port never happened because the client's plans to roll out Windows phone to their staff fell through some time later.)
1. Microsoft created development tools that are not appropriate for real-world use cases and tried to push that on devs and companies, which failed spectacularly. The demand for apps which work on Windows desktop and Windows phone literally doesn't exist. It doesn't matter that Microsoft would have loved it if people built apps like that. If there is no demand for such apps they don't get built (and they didn't). You get garbage (compared to WPF or even WinForms) "metro" or whatever you call them now desktop apps that are intensely hated by Windows users and you get a WP app that you can't reuse to build an iOS or Android app... The UI was also completely different so you couldn't even really reuse much of the design. So no code sharing, no design sharing.
What .NET devs wanted was a way to build apps using C# that work on all mobile platforms (we never cared about a mobile app working on desktop). If you had given us that you would have had your apps purely by virtue of piggybacking on iOS, Android and .NET popularity. We complained about the retarded "multiplatform within the Windows ecosystem" approach from day 1 yet Microsoft released several iterations (not backwards-compatible, of course, so they were losing some devs each time) of this garbage before finally listening to the market and embracing Xamarin at which point it no longer mattered as WP was a joke. A LOT of people love C# and are willing to jump through hoops to develop multiplatform apps with it. XAML is also very cool. Microsoft had that part in the bag, yet completely failed to use this to their advantage. Imagine if when WP7 (or even WP8) was released Microsoft was able to say "here, you can now develop mobile apps in C# and they will also build for iOS and Android!" .NET devs would have jizzed in their pants.
2. Microsoft threw the existing WP users in the trash with WP7 -> WP8. My iPhone updated for like 7 years through god knows how many iOS versions. When I bought a new one, it felt almost exactly the same except faster due to better hardware. People were wary of buying a WP because they got burned once.
>For more niche apps they ran promotions for students and independent developers giving away free phones etc. But nothing was enough to get over the problem of the lack of an initial user base.
Since the Anniversary Update last year, sideloading has been enabled by default, too, if you wanted to sell apps outside the store, and that didn't magically attract indies either.
If you can't live with either of them, it doesn't matter. It's pointless to rank them. There are much better problems to put energy into. Like where to go for lunch.
This didn't age well.
I remember some of this vaguely. A friend of mine deep in the MS world was showing me some of what was going on, but this "ran promotions" - I dunno. I don't think I'm way out in "non-MS" land - I keep my finger on the pulse of a lot of tech communities. I didn't hear much about this except from a few friends deeply entrenched in MS. Perhaps there wasn't enough of an outreach program?
> Satya's not lying when they say they tried everything to incentivise app developers. It was a big focus of the company at the time.
Given that I've registered multiple times with them to download various SDKs in the past, perhaps... emailing me about what they were doing, because I might have had an interest in being part of that app development push?
Maybe some actual ads on non-MS tech-related websites, or outreach to local non-MS user groups might have helped? As someone who's run multiple local tech groups, and frequented many for years, this "big focus of microsoft" was never a blip on anyone's radar (AFAICR).
> giving away free phones
That's sort of the bare minimum you'd need to do.
I'm reminded a bit about the HP tablets with webOS. They charged $499 (because, IIRC, "that's the price for tablets" - because of iPads), sold for a few weeks, then discontinued. Loads of people picked them up at $150-$200, even with no apps. "Well, we can't win, let's close it all down", after spending $1B+ on acquiring the stuff they're giving up on in the first place.
But i don't know how you can write off $1B... because honestly even iPod or iPhone wasn't successfully from the beginning. So they invest years for that status.
Competitors make clones, release them and after two months declaring abandoning market. Totally non-sence for me!
You spend $1B acquiring palm for webOS, but don't want to invest any more in actually trying to market or develop developers?
They flew off the shelves at $150/bucks, even with knowing there's no support, etc. Hobbyists wanted them. Some of my friends and family wanted one. I couldn't justify $500, but could $200 (but couldn't get any at that price).
Let's say they'd sold them at a loss - let's say $149, and they were losing $50 on each one. Getting 2 million of those in people's hands in a year would have 'cost' $100m, but ... the ecosystem would have had a reason to grow, because there would have been a market to serve. Had discussions with folks who claimed "you can't do that" (for some reason, bringing "dumping" and "illegality" in to the argument). So... selling them at $150 while "going out of business" is AOK, but selling that at $150, taking a loss while trying to grow a market (and creating more long term value for the people buying them) "makes no sense" (that was one of the arguments I got from folks).
Of course, it's all academic, and I'm just armchair quarterbacking the whole thing, but few companies even have the option of strategic long term losses to seed/grow a market. I'd think the rewards would be substantial if you can pull it off, but we don't seem to have many who want to try anymore, and that lack of trying really cements the two-party system we have in mobile.
Look at the fire tablets, you have a 7" for $50, there is no way there is any profit in that price.
I left because of w10m specifically. They took away the consistency. It felt as janky as Android does.
After I dropped and broke my last WP8 device, I had to decide whether I wanted to order another old WP8 phone online or just switch to Android. I switched to Android.
It's not nearly as nice as WP8 was but what can you do?
Nuts. People don't even use apps [i]. They may have facebook or netflix installed - but then it gets real thin.
Consistent with the data presented in that post:
-I download lots of one-time-use apps. They're useful, and I won't use a phone without them, and then uninstall them in a week (eg, city specific apps when traveling)
- I download lots of special use apps that contribute few app-hours most of the time, but are super critical when I need them (hiking apps when hiking, service-specific references when I'm working in the relevant department, etc)
-I download games (lots of them), play with them for a while, and then uninstall for a new game. Yeah, most are gone in a week or a month, but the ongoing process is valuable to me.
-I have apps I use quasi-frequently and that contribute very few app-hours of interaction, but are still valuable. Eg, the couple minutes a day I use a task list, the five minutes a week I use FreshDirect, etc.)
And then, yes, there are a handful of core apps that get most of my usage (outlook, kindle, Netflix, messages, safari).
This is entirely consistent with those stats, and still places enormous value on the app ecosystem.
If you want to edit your comment to take it in a more fruitful direction, no one will hold it against you. You're not the first person to skim a long post.
Doesn't that suggest that while individual users only use a few apps, the union of apps that see significant use is much larger? So you need a wide variety of high quality apps to please a majority of users.
So it's not "none of my apps are available". It's more like "that one app that my gym uses for booking is iOS/Android only" or whatever. Finding a decent WM8 podcast app was virtually impossible back when I had a Lumia, IIRC.
I hardly use my phone for calls. In fact, I prefer Whatsapp or Wechat. And nope, I don't have netflix on my phone.
I'm sure that it made a great measurable and a great excuse for failure, though. I don't doubt that the internal narrative would focus on that.
Anecdote from a lot of my friends, a lot of use use flashcard type apps to help learn languages and things like memrise etc... Dictionary apps to get word translations and so on.
So I'm going to place that article under: perhaps true in general, but not overly constructive to my group of people.
From my experience, that wasn't the case. I didn't own a Windows Phone but one of my friends did. According to him, what forced him to move was an overload of animations which became very irritating. I can recall a comment that suggested how Windows phone exploited animations to cover the fact that it was too slow.
Also I did not like the flat look and flat colors. All the apps looked the same, so did the icons. The best thing about App Store on iOS was the colorful variety of apps where each of them had a unique distinct look and it was a joy to expolore new wild apps on the marketplace.
I don't love the design, but I like it.
Maybe some people believe the tile home screen is ugly, but they are more informative compare to icon based home screen.
Yes, there are some bad designs in the Windows 10 Mobile, but all of them are fixable. And once those problems get fixed, it will be gorgeous.
I feel very sad about their current failure, and I don't think simply give up is a good choose.
MS will do a lot better if it focuses on making android betters, supporting .NET apps in android (yay Mono!). Maybe in the future they could revisit the mobile OS thing and have better luck then but for the near future it looks very unlikely.
The mark of a good company is adaptability. Intel went from RAM chip maker to creating microprocessors, MS itself went from creating BASIC compilers to making OS's. With Azure, .NET, Office, Windows etc. I think they have enough areas to make money off. Its just their strategy of adapting windows to mobile devices didn't work.
For those just targeting Android, specially given the global market share, they are better off with plain Java/Kotlin + NDK, than adding yet another layer to debug and extra APK size.
And despite my advocacy, when targeting both mobile OSes, customers at enterprise level tend to pick Ionic or pure Web approaches, despite the lower UX.
I suppose you didn't know that HP made calculators either?
Information changes but a UI should be static, a UI that changes based on what is available is a recipe for a poor user experience. I have a hard enough time navigating rows of icons (as opposed to a list of app names), I don't need the icons changing randomly.
Aside from that, one of the missing features of tiles was interactivity, on android I've had an MP3 player widget on my home screen since I first got an HTC hero and playing music is a core feature for my phone. As flashy as tiles were they didn't have that level of functionality.
Free phone sounds nice, but tinkerers like me don't want to apply and get the approval lottery for shit. We wanted cheap phones. The Android ecosystem at that time was already matured to the point that you can get cheap no frills, no worries if you break it secondhands. It was an obvious choice when I could get a secondhand Android phone with all the stuff I could tinker with for $100, and that also gave me the unexplored freedom to get any ROM I want. I remember porting Cyanogenmod 9 on my shitty 2 year old OG Motorola Droid, and control every aspect of it.
I wanted to buy a Windows phone since I use none of these apps, but there was no hardware refresh or major announcements around Windows phones and that deterred me. I don't understand how MS went on to a successful Surface and failed phones, I would think they're similar markets - hype-driven, takes a few iterations to get right, etc. I bought the Google G2 and it was far from what an Android phone is today, but Windows phones seem to run on a no-upgrade strategy which is strange
Surface isn't successful. It's a disaster. Just a well covered up one so far. Give it a couple of years and it'll be down the toilet as well. Consumer Reports dumped on them last year with a 25% failure rate within 2 years. Rather than deal with this, they go into denial and market market market mode.
The problem is that they're building products they want, not what the user wants. And when the user asks for something, they just say NOTHING and drown out all the negativity with blogs and hype and pointless communication paths to pacify the users who are pissed off.
On top of all that there is this personality cult around Satya where everyone is saying he's the second coming, the saviour and all that junk. Turns out that it's blinded marketing, the enterprise customers are getting shafted (me) and footing the bill for cock up after cock up after cock up.
Quality is gone. Privacy is gone. No one says anything. Everyone is voting with their feet.
Same turd of a company as ever.
Specifically I hated all the shitty apps that had flooded the app store because of their half baked promotions.
All of their promotions incentivized churning out a bunch of shitty apps. Like paying people $100 per app, this created a lot of crap in the app store to wade through to find quality apps.
Instead they should have matched revenue or paid an extra 5 cents per download. Something to incentivize a dev to write one good app instead of 5 throw away apps.
That phone was useless to me because there were literally no apps on the Windows 7 store. When I tried to sell it few days later, no one was even willing to consider it and I had to sell it for peanuts.
Take a look at another platform that Microsoft pushed into: game consoles. How did they break into game consoles? They bought an entire game studio, Bungie, and produced one of the most best selling games of all time (Halo) as an exclusive title. Nothing Microsoft did with Windows phone was on remotely the same scale. The fact that a movie of that scale would have been vastly more costly than the acquisition of Bungie and development of Halo is merely an indication of the fact that MS waited too long, not that nothing could be done.
See iFund (2008): https://www.macrumors.com/2008/03/06/ifund-to-offer-100-mill...
The fact is, you should incentivize funders/investors, not developers. The developers will follow if they have a hot new startup where they can (potentially) mint money using your seed capital.
However, I agree this only works if you aren't seriously late to the party.
(It was in Malaysia, and my website was very popular then.)
There's also the problem of ongoing maintenance on multiple platforms. In the best case, it was written with a dual platform toolkit (iOS and Android) and MS adds a 3rd platform to that toolkit to make it easy to port and maintain all three. Even if that were all true, it's won't be for every developer and you'll still have problems bringing people to the platform.
2) Built in Objective-C with a custom audio engine in C++. Audio latency on Android was horrible at that time, MS was probably worse. It would have been a terrible app on those platforms if I did port it. This was before cross-platform toolkits existed. It needed to be a native app with low level access audio to hardware. I wasn't going to make an app where you tap a drum and wait 100ms to hear a sound.
Not that this counters anything you said nor that relevant to this topic, but as a nerd I am genuinely curious if this was true.
I used to write lowlat audio stuff for iOS so I was well aware of the situation Android vs iOS (and because of my large interest in audio Android in general always makes me puke in my mouth a little -- like it is one of those neat little hidden indicators that while Apple is a hardware company, Google is fundamentally an ad company -- they really don't give a shit other than prioritizing ad delivery).
Anyway, Windows itself obviously has solid low-lat audio services, was it really that bad in the mobile stuff?
Think about the learning time for the completely new eco system. The new hardware and software that is needed costs money as well.
banking app - some other banks had an app for WP, but I didn't want to switch banks
public transit route planner - there were some, iOS and android had THE app for my city with really good bus arrival estimates
official public transit app - I couldn't buy tickets from my phone
official city parking app - had to go to parking teller and pay there in friggin cash, now I just set the zone and am done with it
even the most popular taxi app was not available
Hearthstone - I like this rng card game
My 5S is going to cost $50 for a new battery and screen - and it's still worth a few hundred more new; however her phone's HW specs are still mostly better than mine, except I think the RAM which is the same.
A year ago I remember thinking If microsoft wanted to save windows 10 mobile's life I think they should have put a large amount of that cross-platform smartphone programming effort into trying to make Win10 Mobile capable of running some android apps, the desktop version has a linux subsystem after all. that way they could have expanded their user base and made it a more attractive platform, especially with the lower cost.
Making 10 Mobile decently Popular for any reason would have given developers a good reason to switch to xamarin for developing native apps on every platform, win-win.
Alas they didn't do anything encouraging enough to grasp that potential double benefit...
Google and Apple have already convinced a sufficient number of users users that their app stores are essential, so they can continue to charge whatever they like.
Microsoft didn't have the same luxury, so they needed to change this. They never made the change and it's too late now, but I think if they did this a few years ago they would be in a better position.
Is anyone else surprised that "giving away free windows phones" was not a recipe for success in terms of incentivising capable app developers?
Most every app developer already owns their favorite phone because they can afford it.
And then periodically rewarded great users with 100$. it would have been like a tax break for the users to spur the app economy.
They want to incentivize people to write apps that bring in the big bucks. So they can get a cut.
Plus how would you download another windows browser - it would have to be in the app store first lol.
I do hope Microsoft returns back at it someday. I hope they bring out "Super Phones" on every major carrier that truly compete. Also hope they don't bring some of the pain points of Windows 10 (forced updates, forced telemetry and what not). Google and Apple need a serious competitor. Ubuntu bailed and I wish they had not. It seems like a very specialized OS needs to be built and it needs to hit market on all major carriers with new things to offer that are worthwhile. Privacy would be a strong selling point if anyone else attempts it. I want a privacy focused and open source mobile alternative, feels like I'll wait a long time for it though. Microsoft has the resources to provide such an alternative though... Would be definitely different if they went that route.
Furthermore, releasing a phone with good hardware at a competitive price point means either losing money to push into the market (which I think MS has done the past few years with their mobile offerings), or having a supply chain to have good hardware at a low-enough price (something which Apple and Samsung already have).
I kinda doubt there will be a good third mobile option again. The choices currently are to target iOS to make money, or Android to reach more users and for most apps there's isn't much point in supporting anything else. Plus, there aren't that many apps built upon frameworks that would allow easy addition of a third build target.
There also doesn't seem to be much point in offering an open-source mobile platform. The partners you need to convince to offer phones with your platform don't care (much) whether it's open-source or proprietary. In Android's case the open-source-ness pretty much only matters for Amazon and a tiny fraction of users that install custom builds. Google has certainly tried to wrestle as much control of the platform back, both for control reasons, and to be able to provide a better user and update experience (Things a hardware vendor won't care much about. They make money when you buy the phone, not when you use it.).
They did so much, sometimes I felt impostor to don't do more. So much money was here to support.
Maybe a campaign to hand a new Windows phone to every college kid on campus would have worked. College kids aren’t flush with spending money, so a free phone would be a boon. But college kids also graduate and get jobs, making future phone purchases a possibility. Plus college kids tend to be trend setters for technology in situations like this.
Eh, I am rambling. People much smarter than me have probably already thought of this.
You can still get the new HP Elite X3 and the Lumia 950 and 950XL on ebay for around $300.
I would have loved to get a free Windows phone so I could have tested the game on a real device, but it makes sense that they can't just give away phones to random indie developers.
 The 'peanut butter factory' has been a silicon valley euphemism for a small team of engineers from a "big" company that have gone off to build a new project without having the big company drag them down.
Just as side note, Microsoft did port ANGLE to WP.
No, I will continue using OpenGL ES.
Anyway: Apple can afford pushing it's own API due to market share, Microsoft could not.
> Just as side note, Microsoft did port ANGLE to WP.
I know, but it didn't support a feature I needed at the time and also it was quite a hassle. Together with the non-GCC/Clang compiler it was just too much.
That's how far behind it was.
I didn't get copy/paste for about a year. It's like you guys were -trying- to cargo-cult the iphone.
Unfortunately, Belfiore returned after his leave of absence.
God help you.
We're a mid-size SaaS app and not a single person from MS made any sort of overture to us apart from "you should develop for Windows Phone!". It would have cost us like 100-200k and 9-12 months of developer time to do this. And then again for 10. And provide support for the rest of time. Nope!
We laughed at them in the background and awaited its eventual death. That we didn't put a single second of effort into developing for this platform has finally been vindicated! :)
Forcing devs to rewrite stuff every major release made it pretty clear no one there cared about developers.
a teenager could write something better in node/angular in a week
I remember they were giving Lumia 925's to computer engineering students here years ago if they made and uploaded an app. You can imagine the quality of the apps they were uploading. Most of them were slideshows or just a wall of text.
That's not how you incentivise app developers, that's how you inflate your numbers.
And yes, one response was to inflate numbers with random crap. Nokia created a developer tool to convert web pages to native apps -- basically just a webview wrapper with bundled web content. Ovi Store was half full of these "apps".
But yeah, lots of bloatware and apps that were worthless, but could hold your attention for a few minutes until you uninstalled it.
Windows has never had great dynamic scaling, so trying to run regular apps on a phone would be a nightmare of tiny click targets. Metro apps would scale better, but that was the whole point of UWP.
IMO they've given up slightly too early. They could have written an Android-on-Windows compatibility layer, or various other things, but Microsoft just can't handle a market where they aren't dominant. The only way they could leverage their dominance would be to break Exchange ActiveSync and say "if you want your calendar on your phone, it has to be a Windows phone".
And Intel have pulled back from the low-power area (mobiles, Edison) because they're not competitive there. Maybe the same "can't function when not market leader" problem.
MS had Android emulation in the works for Windows Mobile 10 but then decided to cancel it citing it was "unnecessary".
This was one of the big mistakes made by OS/2 when they were competing against Windows. They created a compatibility layer for Windows applications, which meant that developers never wrote native apps for their platform, leading to a very poor user experience and gave Windows a leg-up on its competition. I doubt Microsoft wants to make the same mistake.
Sure, but right now Apple and their ARM designs are running away from everybody else. Plus Windows is terrible from a security and power consumption point of view. Can Microsoft fix that without breaking everything?
I think MS is conceding the entire phone space. Full screen form factors (like laptops is and large tablets) are very important but for small devices I don't think they can compete.
Windows is way ahead in both security and power efficiency.
About security, here’s an example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10410833 In Windows, clipboard access was restricted to foreground app since WP7.
About power efficiency, WP is very restrictive on what apps can do in background. See this: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh2029...
The fact that a viable mobile OS has to be restrictive about background operations is exactly what I was talking about when I said they can't fix it without breaking everything.
I mean that capability is where the desktop version of windows keeps getting more features matching; each version of Phone and Desktop have been more and more like each-other.