Microsoft’s app-tweaking ploy stalls, with lack of interest from developers
Redmond finding it tough to drum up support for Windows 10 from iOS, Android tool-builders
Microsoft's gambit of providing modified Android and iOS apps on its Phone platform has been stymied by a lack of interest from developers, Reuters reported.
Windows Phone devices commanded just 3% of global smartphone shipments in 2014, compared with Android's 81% and Apple's 15%, according to IDC figures. Microsoft's problem has long been thought to lie in its relatively weak ecosystem, which offers a narrower choice of third-party apps than those of its rivals.
In a bid to make its mobile OS more attractive, Microsoft last month announced an initiative to rework popular apps on other platforms for its own users, by providing a toolkit for developers. But app builders reportedly see little need for Windows Phone versions of their products because of the meagre market reach of the platform.
"Windows phone will have to gain a significant share of the market before this becomes something that saves us time and/or money," said Sean Orelli, a director at New York-based app development firm Fuzz Productions, which builds tools for a number of enterprise customers, including Citibank, the New York Post, and Conde Nast.
Microsoft's ambitions for its forthcoming multi-device Windows 10 OS are far-reaching, targeting an install base of 1bn devices within three years. If users do not adopt the new system it could spell the end of Microsoft's dominance in the OS market, as smartphone sales are expected to outstrip those of PCs by six to one by 2017. The Redmond-based company would then have to fall back on its growing Office, server and cloud offerings.
Reuters reported that in interviews with more than a dozen developers, just one revealed plans to tweak an app for Windows. That company is King.com, which ported its smash hit game, Candy Crush from iOS to Windows 10. Microsoft said the reworking was accomplished "with very few code modifications", but eight other developers said they had no plans for Windows 10 development.