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Report: Mobile Devs Not Interested in Universal Windows

An informal survey of mobile developers conducted by the Thomson Reuters news agency found little interest in Microsoft's plan to ease the modification of iOS and Android apps so they'll run on the upcoming Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

"Interviews with more than a dozen developers found just one planning to move an app from Apple or Android to Microsoft," Reuters reported this week.

Microsoft last month announced the plan to provide tools that will "bridge" iOS and Android apps, which far outnumber available Windows Phone apps. With a tiny market share in smartphone OSes, Microsoft is seeking to attract more developers to UWP, which will run on a gamut of Windows-centric devices including smartphones. Getting developers to place their wares on the Windows store with just slight modifications would help that effort.

But there's a problem, Reuters said: "Some of the software developers the company needs to woo just aren't interested."

The news agency found just one developer, King.com, planning to port an app to Windows, in this case the wildly popular Candy Crush Saga game, which reportedly required only a few modifications to its iOS source code.

"Eight developers said they aren't planning to develop for Windows 10 at all," Reuters said. "Four who already have Windows apps said they would continue to do so."

Reuters said some developers were concerned about how easy it would be to bridge the apps. But, as only a few have the preview tools available for the unlaunched Windows platform, few are certain exactly how hard it will be.

Michael Domingo at sister publication Visual Studio Magazine attended the Build conference at which Microsoft announced the bridges and explained some of the details about how they'll work.

"Project Astoria is the Android runtime bridge, which can be used from the Android Studio IDE to refactor Android app code for the Windows 10 platform," Domingo said. "It will include a Windows emulator, and is supposed to allow for debugging and testing of apps from either the Android IDE or Visual Studio IDE."

Other bridges will be provided for iOS apps written in Objective-C, traditional .NET and Win32 Windows apps and even Web sites.

The bridges are expected to become available this summer, after which the effectiveness of Microsoft's plan will be determined.

"Failure to attract the apps would not be fatal for Microsoft, which is growing more reliant on its Office, server software and cloud computing services, but it would be a sign that Microsoft is losing its hold on personal computing, in a world where phones are expected to outsell PCs by more than six to one by 2017," Reuters said.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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