The ‘app gap’ has been a constant problem for Windows Phone, at least in the minds of consumers. And having third-party apps forcefully pulled from the Store again and again is certainly not indicative of a healthy app ecosystem. The good news is that Microsoft is working hard to find a way to overcome the issue and increase developer interest in Windows-based platforms.
Over the past few years, Microsoft has been trying to grab developer interest with its Universal App model. The software giant is making it easy for developers to write their apps once, and have it available across the desktop, the tablet and the phone. Another strategy is rumored to be enabling Android apps to run on Windows, which according to sources is “still a possibility with Windows 10”.
However, Microsoft is reportedly working on a new strategy that will see the company work closely with independent software vendors (ISVs) to spark new interest in Windows which in turn should result in greater app development momentum.
According to an email sent by Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Developer Experience and Evangelism group Steven Guggenheimer and obtained by ZDNet, Microsoft is about to change the way it views and works with ISVs. An excerpt of the email reads:
"DX has built a global ISV management capability over the past 18 months and now we will extend that capability to manage top ISVs in the field. In partnership with WPG (Worldwide Partner Group), we will also develop a broad programmatic approach to reach and engage a broader set of ISVs that scales from higher touch programs and offers through to self-service with MPN (Microsoft Partner Network). We must be selective in how we look at ISVs to drive the greatest adoption of our cloud and mobile platforms. We will no longer define ISVs in the traditional sense."
The email goes on to detail that four types of ISVs will be focused on; start-ups, traditional client/server ISVs, and ISVs with a renewed focus on mobile and cloud solutions, as well as those that have started life on mobile or on the cloud.
Microsoft’s Developer Experience group is to become a trusted partner and advisor to the aforementioned ISVs, aiding them with getting their apps on Microsoft platforms, and making those apps successful with co-marketing, promotion and selling techniques. In other words, Microsoft is taking a hands-on approach to bringing apps to Windows-based platforms and supporting them. This approach will also extend to ISVs building for Azure and Office 365.
We should see the results of the new efforts next year as the launch of Windows 10 nears for desktops and phones. Although it may take a few years to close the app gap, it’s good to know Microsoft is working on it. You’ll know the new strategy is working when Instagram for Windows Phone gets updated with video support.