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Microsoft's plan to port Android apps to Windows is dead

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Goodbye Project Astoria

Microsoft today announced it’s discontinuing efforts to offer developers an easy way of bringing Android apps to Windows 10. The decision confirms rumors from back in November that the company was considering killing the idea. Codenamed Project Astoria, the Android app porting initiative was first announced at the Microsoft's Build developer conference last year alongside similar plans to build a so-called "bridge" between iOS and Windows and help developers migrate older Windows software and web apps to the newest version of its OS. It turns out having "two bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary," Microsoft director Kevin Gallo writes.

This announcement comes just one day after Microsoft agreed to acquire Xamarin, a startup that lets developers write apps in a single programming language and then customize the software for any major smartphone platform. Instead of waiting for more progress on Astoria, Microsoft says developers should now look into using its open-source iOS migration tool, internally called Project Islandwood, or turn to Xamarin's products for making cross-platform apps. "The philosophy behind the bridges has always been to make it as easy as possible for you to bring existing code to Windows, and our investments in the iOS Bridge will make this straightforward," Gallo says.

Microsoft suggests Android developers use its iOS tool or try Xamarin

Microsoft understands that it's effectively lost the mobile OS market share fight, and so the company has spent the last two years ensuring both its own apps are available on every platform — and now it's trying to help third-party developers do the same. In Microsoft's eyes, more users of Office and Windows products no matter what device is being used to run them is better for its business in the long run. Still, the discontinuation of the company's Android porting tool suggests the company sees more value in helping bring iOS apps to Windows. After all, Android-only productivity and business-centric apps are few and far between.