Beleaguered Microsoft’s desperate embrace of iOS and Android is a stupid idea

“It’s official. Microsoft has surrendered the mobile space to Apple and Google,” Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes for ZDNet. “What is happening with Project Astoria, Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform Bridge toolkit, is that Android developers can build “Windows” apps for phones by reusing their Android code. I say “Windows,” because Microsoft is doing this by running Android Open Source Project (AOSP) to run as a subsystem. In short, these apps will be running on Android, which will be running in emulation on Windows. Okay programmers, what do you get when you run something in emulation? That’s right. You get slow performance.”

“For iOS programmers, it’s even more complicated. In Project Islandwood, Microsoft is introducing a Universal Windows Platform Bridge toolkit that promises to enable you to develop Windows apps using Objective-C,” Vaughan-Nichols writes. “With your iOS programs you’re going to need to actually port them to Windows Mobile. The plus side is these apps should run faster on Windows Mobile than Android. The minus is that Apple iPhone and iPad developers will need to spend more time reworking their applications to run on Windows Mobile.”

“Put this together and here’s what I see,” Vaughan-Nichols writes. “First, if you’re a Windows Phone or RT developer, may I ask why? By IDC’s February 2015 count, Google and Apple’s respective mobile operating systems together come to 96.3 percent all smartphone shipments worldwide… I simply see no reason to bother with building Windows Mobile specific apps… I think Microsoft is making a desperate play to stay relevant in the mobile space with its own operating system and it’s one that’s destined to fail. Microsoft would be better off continuing to focus its effort on porting its applications to Android and iOS.”

Many more details in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Shh! Let Microsoft’s wrong choice of a CEO lead them further down the rat hole that Ballmer T. Clown began digging years ago.

Related article:
Desperate Microsoft announces tool for porting iOS apps to Windows Phones – April 29, 2015
Satya Nadella? Seriously, Microsoft? – January 31, 2014


  1. Seriously? Why don’t they stop chasing what they have already lost and concentrate on doing something truly different for once? They have the small enterprise market essentially to themselves – build and improve on that.

    1. “Why don’t they stop chasing what they have already lost and concentrate on doing something truly different for once?”

      Because they have no clue how to do that. Gates made one lucky move at the beginning and they’ve leverage it ever since. Expansion has come by copying or outright theft ever since.

      1. This is a great idea. Too bad they did not include Swift. The bad part, it’s not free with the OS. So, microsoft insist on shooting itself in the foot again. Mac OS X needs some design attention, not to mention bugs fixes. Anyway…
        If they are going to copy success at least they should do it right.

    2. This idea will never work, because there is ZERO motivation for app developers. In the “PC” world, web browsers and web sites started the downfall of Windows. Previously, Windows had an seemingly insurmountable advantage, because Microsoft controlled the Windows PC app ecosystem. “Programs” were how user got stuff done, and Windows had a “monopoly.”

      Later, this advantage diminished slowly at first, then rapidly, as people started doing things more and more using web browsers on web sites. If a platform had a good web browser, there was no need for Windows. Interestingly, supremely (over) confident Microsoft even provided an early default web browser for the Mac.

      In the mobile world, native apps have become important again, because mobile apps need to run on limited resources and screen space. General web browser and web sites are not as efficient and provide inferior user experience. This time, Apple has the “app advantage.” And it’s Microsoft trying to convince developers to port their iOS apps to Windows Phone.

      But unlike supporting the Mac platform (in the old days), where there was the motivation of being “big fish in a small pond,” there is NO motivation to support Windows Phone. Why? It’s back to web browsers. Developers can just say, we support ALL “other” (minor) platforms that are not iOS and Android through a web-based app (a web site that is optimized for mobile access). Windows Phone and BlackBerry users can just use their default web browser to access (some of the) features we put into our native iOS and Android apps.

    1. Exactly!
      Android had a platform to port iOS to android code because they both used Objetive C.
      I think apple started their own programming language because of this and now with Microsoft doing the same thing, apple was once again ahead of their plans.
      Good proactive. Tactics apple.
      Also, Microsoft still very strong in the enterprise (because of the dinosaurs in IT) and getting a layer of android on windows will just make it a lot more subsetible to virus and malware so.
      So windows 10 will hold in a few month the world record for virus and malwares. Android + windows, imagine that, the worse of the worse put together.

      1. I don’t think Android ever used Objective-C.. I think only Apple uses that version of C. As far as I can see Android has used their own version of a JVM to generate apps. I understood Swift to be a higher level wrapper for Objective-C sort of like Scala is for Java. As I pointed out with links elsewhere in the comments, there is no emulation involved in either Android or iOS on Windows Mobile. Repeating ‘facts’ that the author neglected to research properly doesn’t make them true.

    1. Shouldn’t take that much longer, putting malware, virus ridden, ‘Droid apps, on a virus ridden, malware magnet of a ‘Dozer OS. What more could you ask from a Jester like CEO, Satya, Nadella!? 🖖😀⌚️

  2. Not sure where the author is getting his info.. Looking at project Astoria it seems like they are releasing MS libraries that you integrate into your Android code that you then compile into something that runs on Windows Mobile with minimal code changes. I don’t find any mention of emulation at the Microsoft’s site.

    A similar approach is taken with Islandwood for iOS where you recompile your XCode after integrating the relevant Windows service libraries.

    Both will require recompilation of code to run on Windows Mobile as a Windows native App thus eliminating any worry of slow emulator performance. The projects are meant to maximize code reuse when porting your App to Windows..

  3. For those of us forced to suffer through doofus IT admins in the 1990s and early 2000s, having to basically admit to being “weird” because we used Macs, you cannot know the joy in seeing Microsoft getting its just rewards of irrelevance and obscurity. I was forced to abandon Macs in about 1995, but delightfully picked them back up in 2009. It makes my heart sing to see those a$$wipes at Redmond finally achieve the irrelevance we all knew they deserved. May the stake through the heart of awful programming and equally awful business practice finally bring the death-toll of this zombie monster that some call Microsoft.

  4. I don’t know that Microsoft really has much choice. No one will develop for Windows Phone because no one buys Windows Phones. Microsoft has already tried paying developers to build apps, bribing them, making huge promises about its platform, etc. etc. and nothing else has worked. So it’s a Hail Mary to try to salvage Windows Phone before Microsoft has to pull the plug permanently.

    1. The Universal Windows Platform Bridge for Android (Astoria) and iOS (Islandwood) are meant for porting your App to Windows with minimal code changes, not emulation. Also not specific to Windows Mobile, rather that same re-compiled App can also be running on the desktop in Win10.

      1. “re-compile” something means you didn’t design from the ground up for the OS, it means chances of problems.

        Today people have zero tolerance for bugs, the new generation are not used to crashes, hangs, the smallest problem and people will piss on your app. Do developers want to deal with issues for tiny market share? do users want to deal with ‘re-complile apps’ ? I can understand in the old days people want inferior windows when a a Mac Quadra was like $ 6000 but a top end Win Phone will be the same price as an iPhone.

    1. Oh Yes, and my employer buys them by the hundreds. You know, because they are so “cost effective”.

      Thank God we standardize on iPhone’s and iPads though. Why? Security Only. IT still treats Apple as something that “costs too much”.

  5. Oh how sweet it is to see the tables turned after all those years of being told ‘Macs are pointless they don’t have the software of the PC world, attempts to emulate it is just prolonging the pain, that slow death’. Yes a smile crossed my face and it will last and last.

  6. It seems a similar decision to when Apple started letting people sell clones. It just dilutes any quality you have. Windows Phone seems to be a relatively solid product, it’s no iOS, but it doesn’t have the fragmentation problems that Android has, and if they had come out with it before the iPhone it probably would have got far more traction than it has. It would certainly have been a decent option for people looking for something different than Apple. Competition is not a bad thing.

    Apple don’t look to be first to a market, but they try to be first to do something well. Microsoft were late, and more importantly others had already done a good job before they did so they’ve become also rans.

    Before Apple’s resurgence they were a bit part player, but they were big enough to be relevant until they could create everything they have now got.

    I don’t see any scenario where offering virtualised versions of apps that run normally on better more successful platforms can be of help. They can’t sell in quantity because they’re playing catchup and Android has cornered the low end shit market. Quality is surely the only way to stay in the game and give them any chance of competing.

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