When Microsoft created the Windows Phone platform, they made sure it had quite a unique look. We were used to seeing rows of icons in an app drawer since feature phones, and this platform featured large “tiles” with a single colored accent and they displayed more information than plain icons. The iconography was white and plain and it featured large fonts in its menus. The platform has evolved and it has been updated with more features to rival other operating systems, while keeping its essence. The major issue of the OS is that the number of available apps is just not enough, and some important ones are missing.
Microsoft has considered a bunch of options to solve this problem and one of them included the possibility to emulate the apps that already work on Android. This seems to be a great alternative, as the apps are already built and tested, but obviously, those would feature an overall different aesthetic than the ones created specifically for Windows Phone. That project, which was known as Astoria, was put on hold recently, so perhaps the company is thinking in some other way to solve this. Microsoft has a patent that would allow users to choose between different operating systems within a single device, and since Android is open source, this would result being the obvious choice for an alternative OS, still, there’s no evidence of the development of this idea. Microsoft has even been creating apps for Android, including one to find similar apps on their ecosystem.
A shareholder meeting for the company took place recently and Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, got a question from an audience member about the lack of key apps, like Starbucks, on Windows Phone. He answered that their current strategy involves universal apps that would work on desktop, tablets and smartphones, so they would reach a wider range of devices. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s former CEO said that the strategy won’t work and what the company needs is to enable Windows Phones “to run Android apps”. Even though Ballmer is the biggest individual shareholder, it must be easier to criticize the current strategies now that he’s not involved with the decisions, let’s remember he was involved when the platform was created. And yet, he might have enough knowledge to make such statement. The universal app strategy involves developers creating apps for platforms that are not as popular as they once were, which might be the reason why some brands and famous developers might be reluctant create apps for it.