In Focus

What Is The Future Of Windows Store Apps

Windows 10 and Windows Store apps have changed the way Microsoft developers build and consume software on Windows platform. However, the future of Windows 10 and Windows Store app is still uncertain.

My entire life, I’ve been a Microsoft developer and technologist. I started my professional programming career in 1997 with Visual Basic followed by C, C++, VC++, MFC, ATL, COM, DCOM, Windows Forms, ASP.NET, Silverlight, and WPF. And here we are in midst of a totally new platform named Universal Windows Platform (UWP). One of the most significant shifts in Microsoft developer technologies was in 2000, when Microsoft announced its .NET framework, and today with Windows 10 and Universal Windows Platform.

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the latest developer platform to build unified Windows apps that target all Microsoft devices including a Windows PC, Xbox, Windows Phone, and HoloLens. The Windows apps are published and sold via the Windows Store. You may learn more about Universal Windows Platform on C# Corner.

Microsoft surprised the entire developer community with its launch of Windows 8 and Tiles apps. Later Microsoft released Windows 8.1 and Tiles apps were renamed to Metro apps. Still, consumers and developers refused to accept the change. On July 29 last year, Microsoft launched Windows 10, an operating system that caters to future needs. Microsoft also ensured more and more adoption of its new operating system by announcing a free upgrade to its existing customers. Windows 10 also came with a new Windows Store that is used to deploy and sell Windows Store apps. Windows Store apps are also being referred as Windows apps, Windows 10 apps, and Universal Windows apps.

Windows 10: A Unified Operating System.

As of Oct 2015, Microsoft announced that 110 million users are using Windows 10. While Microsoft expects to have over one billion Windows 10 installations, Windows 10 did grow at a slower pace than anticipated by some pundits.


Source: Microsoft

Windows 10 has grown to almost 10 percent of the desktop market share since July 29, 2015, when Microsoft announced general availability of its latest operating systems. With Windows 10, Microsoft also announced its app store, called Windows Store. Windows Store allows developers and businesses to build, market, and sell Windows 10 apps. Windows Store Apps or Windows 10 apps are also known as the Universal Windows Apps.

Learn Windows 10 on C# Corner.

Not only does Windows 10 power PCs but it also runs on devices including Xbox, Windows Phone, HoloLens and IoT boards. Windows 10 editions include Windows for PC (Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education), Windows Mobile, and Windows IoT Core.

Windows Store: Brining Apps To PC.

With the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to send a message to all PC and tablet users about the way we use our devices. Imagine your PC or Tablet or Phone or Gaming console becomes your favorite device, and all run on the same operating system, Windows. No matter what device you log in from, you will see your favorite applications, games, and so on. This is what Windows platform and Windows Store has planned for you.


Microsoft has not disclosed an exact number of apps available in the Windows Store, but at some point in October 2015, there was a rumor to have over 500,000 Windows Store apps. Recently, several consumer-centric companies such as Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Uber, EBay and others have built and published their Universal Windows Platform apps into the Windows Store. More and more companies are launching their Windows Store apps and the obvious question is, will the Windows 10 app momentum continue?

The United States is the most popular country for Windows Store app downloads followed by China, Brazil, UK, Germany, and India.


Source: Microsoft

The opportunity.

To drive growth and interest of developers, Microsoft needs to figure out a way to attract businesses and motivate them to build Windows apps. There is an insightful article written on ZDNet titled, Windows 10 app momentum: A flash in the pan or something sustainable, that I highly recommend you to read.

The opportunity for developers is tremendous. Microsoft recently disclosed that Windows 10 is powering 200 million devices and the number will continue to grow. Microsoft is committed to continue the Universal Windows apps path.

Demand drives development.

I’m a developer. Developers follow jobs. I am also a business owner of a software consulting firm that relies on its clients’ needs. From a business perspective, I am not seeing much demand for Windows Store apps. We build Windows applications using WPF. We build Web applications using most of the Web technologies. We build enterprise apps using most of the products available in the market. We also build iOS and Android apps. What I do not see is a demand for Windows Store apps.

Microsoft challenge.

Microsoft has a major challenge from three sectors: mobile, PC consumers, and enterprise consumers. Devices drive app development. According to Statista, there are 4.43 billion mobile devices worldwide. India alone has over 1 billion mobile devices. Out of these billions of mobile users, Google Android and Apple iOS capture 82.8 percent and 13.9 percent OS market share respectively. Microsoft Windows Phone is merely 2.6 percent.

Truth be told, an average PC consumer is skeptical about the entire concept of Windows Apps. Most of the PC users still use the non-tiles mode of Windows 10.

Now, let’s talk about enterprise consumers. Enterprise has no interest in migrating to Windows 10.

Microsoft does have an upper hand from its Xbox consumers and the new Microsoft HoloLens device will drive more attention to Windows app development.

Surface, Xbox, and HoloLens have roles to play.

Microsoft Surface has done very well since Microsoft launched Surface Pro 3. Recently, Microsoft announced Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. Both of these laptops are supposedly doing very well.

Microsoft Xbox is a leader in the gaming industry. Microsoft HoloLens is ready to revolutionize the gaming and VR/AR industry.

All of these devices will heavily rely on Universal Windows apps.

Conclusion

As a Microsoft developer, I love the entire idea of Universal Windows Apps that allows us to build a single unified application that runs on all Microsoft devices including a Windows PC, Xbox, Windows Phone, and HoloLens. As a consultant and business owner, I am not ready to invest in UWP yet until I see a demand from my clients. As a community leader and founder of C# Corner, we have already started building C# Corner UWA.

In Microsoft We Believe!