First Click: Microsoft rips a page from the BlackBerry playbook

April 30th, 2015


Yesterday’s news that Microsoft will support iOS and Android apps sure was exciting. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

“Developers wanting to bring their new and existing apps to the highly anticipated [Windows 10 OS] will soon have additional tools and options to enhance and expand their commercial opportunities. [Microsoft] today announced plans to greatly expand the application ecosystem for [Windows 10].”

“[Windows 10] is an amazing [OS]. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today,” said [Satya Nadella]. “The upcoming addition of [iOS] and Android apps for the [Windows 10 OS] on the [Windows Store] will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform.”

“Developers currently building for the [Android and iOS] platforms will be able to quickly and easily port their apps to run on [Windows 10] thanks to a high degree of API compatibility.“

Oh, sorry, that’s not the Windows press release. It’s the RIM release from 2011 announcing Android support for the PlayBook, only with Microsoft substituted for BlackBerry. My bad.

Microsoft’s handset business accounts for just three percent of the global smartphone market. A number so small, that’s remained small for so long, that it can’t attract developers. And without the latest apps it's hard to attract new users. RIM started courting Android developers when it still owned about ten percent of the global smartphone marketshare — it now accounts for less than half a percent.

That’s not to say that Microsoft is on course to be another BlackBerry. Too much is still unknown. Besides, RIM didn't have Office, or Windows, or Azure. And Microsoft isn’t making the mistake of trying to emulate Android and iOS environments, it’s giving developers tools to build Windows apps from their existing code. Much in the same way as developers use Android tools to port iOS apps.

It's a risky move for Microsoft — but not as risky as doing nothing.

Five stories to start your day

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  2. Sony should probably stop making phones

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  3. Netflix is adapting Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham it will produce

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  5. Nepal's earthquake survivors are struggling to mourn the dead

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