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Why Can
Why Can't Microsoft's Windows Store Lure Developers?

By Jennifer LeClaire
November 15, 2013 1:14PM

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As Microsoft continues to push Windows 8, some wonder if the lack of apps and lack of developer interest are to blame for stalled adoption. One analyst theorizes that, "the Windows 8 store has been relegated to the background and developers are losing interest," and perhaps Microsoft's strategy to lure developers to Windows 8 PCs has been flawed.
 



Windows 8 hasn’t been Microsoft’s most stellar operating system release. Although it doesn’t compare to the Vista debacle, the new tiles-oriented platform doesn't exactly thrill many consumers -- or enterprises.

Apparently, developers aren’t lining up in droves to build apps for the Windows Store, either. A new report reveals that developer interest in rolling out Windows 8 apps is declining.

Sameer Singh, an analyst who keeps tabs on mobile technology at Tech-Thoughts, has theorized that Microsoft’s strategy to boost developer interest through the sales of Windows 8 PCs was flawed and unlikely to create a strong app ecosystem. With this in mind, he pointed to the most recent data from MetroStore Scanner for the Windows 8 store to gauge Microsoft’s progress.

Relegated to the Background

According to Metro Store Scanner, the Windows Store saw about 20,000 additions, peaking in June before new entries dwindled. Singh noted that monthly app additions crashed to 10,000 in July and have hovered between 4,000 to 6,000 since that time. As he sees it, paid Microsoft promotions probably drove the spike in June. But, as he predicted, the promotions did not generate sustainable developer interest.

“While the PC market is shrinking, the overall volumes are still sizeable compared to the user base for tablets. So shouldn't sales of Windows 8/8.1-based PCs be driving volume and, therefore, developer interest? Why aren't developers taking this user base into account?” he asked.

“The answer is simple: Most Windows 8 devices are bought as PCs, not tablets. Slapping a tablet interface (or a touchscreen) onto a PC doesn't address this problem. Most users would spend very limited time in the Metro interface and switch back to desktop for the jobs they needed the PC to accomplish. As a result, the Windows 8 store has been relegated to the background and developers are losing interest in the platform,” Singh said.

Comparing Windows to Apple

We asked Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his take on the Windows Store numbers. He told us Apple’s app store may be friendlier toward developers in terms of cuts and online distribution thanks to its widespread popularity and greater volume. In contrast, Microsoft’s Windows platforms don’t lend themselves to the variety of apps that Apple users enjoy on the desktop or laptop.

“There are already a lot of distribution channels available for Windows-compatible software. If you look at games, you have Steam. And so there are quite a lot of software outlets for Windows software both online and in brick-and-mortar,” Entner said.

“If you compare that with Apple, they have always been quite anemic on the brick-and-mortar side. So the Mac app store has really filled a need that hasn’t been satisfied before. Just because there was a need for Apple and Mac doesn’t mean there’s the same need for Microsoft and Windows 8, so that’s why you don’t see as much going on. And maybe the terms on the Windows app store aren’t as good as with Apple platforms,” he added.
 

Tell Us What You Think
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POd Dev:

Posted: 2013-12-11 @ 2:03pm PT
this is win32s all over again.
WPF w/ DirectX64 in C# ?
and how many bits of address space?

nah, nobody will ever need more than 640k.

Timmy_A:

Posted: 2013-12-08 @ 9:05am PT
As a Windows developer, I don't plan to learn Windows 8 - WinRT API. This COM-based API has very little of Win32 API functionality and it's messy - especially if I want to use it from .NET. I think that whole idea of the new API built above Win kernel was bad. It forced developers to throw away years of study and experiences with previous APIs and start again. I don't want to be a part of this MS game. Instead of WinRT, MS should have done everything to make desktop apps easily portable to Metro and not to create separate SW ecosystem. And I haven't mentioned the whole sicknesses of developer licenses. I really don't want to 'pray' MS to get permission to develop apps on their platform.

So, I bought Linux API book and next year I plan to learn Linux programming and Java. For me Java is much more promising platform than Windows 8 mess.

Fias:

Posted: 2013-12-04 @ 10:17am PT
They are luring developers..no platform had attracted this many developers as Windows did. Most comments are from Fandroids who are fearing yet another Windows Era unfolding before there eyes thru touch interface. Cant help..

Alex:

Posted: 2013-12-03 @ 4:28pm PT
Because Windows is a desktop PC OS, and nobody wants tablet apps on a full desktop PC, therefore nobody uses those apps

Carl Perkins:

Posted: 2013-12-03 @ 3:45am PT
Microsoft pissed me off by having SQLCE in 2003, dropped it in Mobile 7.0, put it back in Mobile 7.5 but no ado.net support, then dropped it in Mobile 8.0. Microsoft dumps on developers and expects us to support them? My mobile development is now Xamarin on Android. Microsoft has lost its commitment to developers. Too bad.

jnffarrell1:

Posted: 2013-12-02 @ 4:31pm PT
MS was counting on Dilbert's boss to tell him "Get Used to IT (Windows8)". The news for MS is that while MS was dithering iThings, Android and Chrome locked up both the 24/7 business device market and the personal device market where the user, not the firm buys the device.

John:

Posted: 2013-12-02 @ 2:00pm PT
" Windows 8 hasn’t been Microsoft Relevant Products/Services’s most stellar operating system release. Although it doesn’t compare to the Vista debacle, the ..."

Um NO, Windows 8 is FAR WORSE.

Zane:

Posted: 2013-12-02 @ 12:13pm PT
You have chrome, firefox and opera on all operating systems, even Apple's safari works on most operating systems. Then explorer which is a browser stuck on Windows. Windows is becoming less and less important. When they sort that out then maybe open source developers might be tempted to develop for Windows. At the moment I don't even bother.

MtVernonCannabisFarms:

Posted: 2013-12-02 @ 11:47am PT
Imagine how few w8 users there'd be if they didn't pre-install it on all these door busters.

redtop:

Posted: 2013-11-19 @ 5:05pm PT
Windows 8 is still very useful. I'm sure they can lure developers. Windows is very easy to program like VB. Too bad it's expensive but if you missed out on the promotion, you can buy it for 39$ from http://www.windows8save.com ..... Does anyone know if Windows 8 will run on an Apple?

Anon:

Posted: 2013-11-19 @ 8:47am PT
Another drawback for developers is the restrictive "Developer License" that Microsoft created. It requires sending stats to Microsoft and allows Microsoft to use your creation for any purpose (marketing, etc.) that they choose. This means that they essentially own your app. These are artificial barriers to creating apps. Remember, there are no restrictions to developing applications for Windows in general RIGHT NOW so these new requirements are non-starters.



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