1. anon(10215379)'s Avatar
    Just watched the WWDC 2017 (Apple's developers conference) keynote speech. I was blown away by the number of developers working on creating iOS apps, just blown away. I was also impressed by how much Tim Cook values this group of people. I got me wondering, where are the Windows/MS developers? And does MS value them as much as Apple appears to value theirs? Could this be the reason why the is an app gap (come on now, we must admit that there is a gap) on Windows 10? Any thoughts?
    06-06-2017 05:24 AM
  2. a5cent's Avatar
    No. This is not the reason. Business is not as much about warm fuzzies and "being valued", as it is about being able to earn a living... a.k.a. money.

    The whole idea that developers must come to the platform first is fundamentally flawed. Until there is a large base of consumers SPENDING MONEY on software, there is no reason for developers to care. That's the only thing that matters. Consumers with money must come first. Then developers will follow. That's how it works. That's how it has always worked.
    rdubmu, xandros9, tgp and 1 others like this.
    06-06-2017 08:23 AM
  3. anon(10215379)'s Avatar
    It is not as cut and dry as you present it. You might be 100% right but the cold and brutal reality is that there is no
    large base of consumers SPENDING MONEY on software
    because of a lack of apps. That is just a fact. Whether we like or not.

    MS fans like you and I may find the MS store quite adequate, more than even. Others do not. My bank, favorite news papers and outlets do not have apps for WP10. This is quite alright with me because I can go online. Again, this will not and does not suit many other consumers. People want more convenience and ease of use, which apps provide. People want more convenience not less. MS fans will retort by asking "what news paper or outlet are you talking about?" which is, in my humble opinion beside the point - especially if you are new to the smartphone arena or just bored or iOS or Android and want to try something new. The idea of losing all your apps will steer you away. In the future this may change but who knows.

    So, there is a paradox at play here. Consumers want apps which are made by developers. Developers will not create apps because to them there are not enough consumers on the Windows platform to warrant any time or attention (many Windows app such a facebook or WhatsApp receive update long after they have been released in on iOS and Android or not updated at all). This is another cold fact.

    To solve the conundrum we have to find out which came first. Did the apps bring consumers to the fold or did the high number of consumers bring in the app developers? A careful of study and the iOS store and its beginnings will help and not red hot passion for Windows10. My hypothesis? It happened at the same time. The very first apps were iOS which were put in a device that grabbed peoples attention and imagination. What Apple did next was critical and counter intuitive, it opened up its iOS to third party developers ( who wanted in on this new exciting gadget) to go crazy with it. Before long we had yelp...the rest is history. An app store bursting at the seams.

    So, how will MS achieve this?
    That's how it works. That's how it has always worked.
    is a losing approach. Sounds tough but does not solve the problem. Before Alexander Graham Bell, people sent telegrams. That is how it worked. That is how it always worked, till the phone came along. Innovation and progress always counter to the current trend or offer a completely new ways of doing things. I strongly believe that MS needs to market the UWP aggressively. They may need to coax developers to fill the current UWP store. Once it's as full as or even rivaling google play and Apple app store, then build/modify or adapt (I'm not a techie so I don't know the best approach) a device (s) to the now competitive UWP store. It's just a thought.
    Last edited by William Magenya; 06-16-2017 at 05:57 AM.
    06-07-2017 06:26 AM
  4. a5cent's Avatar
    To solve the conundrum we have to find out which came first.
    No. We don't have to find out which came first. I already told you. Consumers and money come first (a.k.a. demand, or at the very least suspected demand). Developers and apps follow (a.k.a supply). It's economics 101.

    In the early days of the iPhone there were barely any apps either. Just a few Apple hobbyists making their own apps and publishing them. However, the small app store meant the money spent was distributed among far fewer developers, so they still earned enough to make it worthwhile. The rest is history. Demand grew. Supply grew. And so the virtuous circle spun round and round...

    Back then, having a thousand apps in the store was considered incredible, because there was nothing it could be compared to. Today, having 500'000 apps is considered an utter failure. Apple's app store grew quickly, but only because developers knew or suspected there would be demand for what they built. When it comes to MS' app store, developers know there is nowhere near enough demand to make it worthwhile.

    It's not developer's jobs to fix that. That is MS' job. Until MS fixes it, developers simply won't care.

    I've been saying for at least four years that MS' only hope of ever fixing this situation is to release a device + OS with some unique, highly desirable and easily marketable features that will get consumers interested despite the app gap. That is the solution. Once MS has something good enough that entices consumers despite the app gap (which generates consumer buy-in and a very large customer base), then developers will follow. That is the only solution.

    It is exactly that cut and dry.
    Last edited by a5cent; 06-10-2017 at 01:16 PM.
    tgp, xandros9 and TgeekB like this.
    06-07-2017 11:57 AM
  5. anon(10215379)'s Avatar
    I agree about MS releasing some super desirable tech that everyone will want but how will it do that when it is clearly stepping away from mobile phones the one area with lots of potential?
    06-14-2017 05:40 AM
  6. convergent's Avatar
    No. We don't have to find out which came first. I already told you. Consumers and money come first (a.k.a. demand, or at the very least suspected demand). Developers and apps follow (a.k.a supply). It's economics 101.

    In the early days of the iPhone there were barely any apps either. Just a few Apple hobbyists making their own apps and publishing them. However, the small app store meant the money spent was distributed among far fewer developers, so they still earned enough to make it worthwhile. The rest is history. Demand grew. Supply grew. And so the virtuous circle spun round and round...

    Back then, having a thousand apps in the store was considered incredible, because there was nothing it could be compared to. Today, having 500'000 apps is considered an utter failure. Apple's app store grew quickly, but only because developers knew or suspected there would be demand for what they built. When it comes to MS' app store, developers know there is nowhere near enough demand to make it worthwhile.

    It's not developer's jobs to fix that. That is MS' job. Until MS fixes it, developers simply won't care.

    I've been saying for at least four years that MS' only hope of ever fixing this situation is to release a device + OS with some unique, highly desirable and easily marketable features that will get consumers interested despite the app gap. That is the solution. Once MS has something good enough that entices consumers despite the app gap (which generates consumer buy-in and a very large customer base), then developers will follow. That is the only solution.

    It is exactly that cut and dry.
    No, its not that cut and dry. You are missing some major factors in your post here. First off, there is no way to get an application for iOS, except through the App Store. If you want to draw a comparison, then draw it to MacOS. The apps in he App Store there are pretty minimal and many if not most apps are bought directly from the vendors. So even the king of the App Store hasn't had the thought that making it impossible to run non-App Store apps on MacOS would be a good move. Apple sold a lot of iPhones, and developers wanted to sell them something, so they jumped on the bandwagon. The other fundamental shift they made was to dramatically drop the price of their apps, or make them free. Prior to the App Store, a typical app on a smartphone was $20-50. That turned into Free-$1.99.

    With Windows, there is a vast library of apps out there, they are just not in the Windows App Store. Microsoft doesn't hasn't demonstrated that they have the clout to get developers to switch. Neither has Apple really... they have had minimal success in this regard with MacOS, as I've said.

    This is now a bit of a staring contest to see who will blink first. Windows 10S can be switched to Pro. Will enough customers stick it out on 10S to wait for the apps and create demand; or will they take the easy way out and just go to Pro. The apps have to show up or users won't stay for long when there is an easy out. With iOS, there was no other place to go. If you recall, there was a lot of ranting about the closed App Store at the beginning.

    I believe this is going to take time, but will slowly happen. One thing Microsoft could do to speed it along is to identify the top 100 apps that users think of as essential and seed some development funds to them to commit to getting their apps in the App Store and doing so with a level of quality that is on par with the non App Store version. They may also have to suspend their share of revenue for a few years to take away that barrier for the near term. They could slowly phase it in several years out after the App Store is sustainable.

    Waiting for the "paying customers" is not really part of this. There are plenty of paying customers, they are just shopping elsewhere.
    anon(10215379) likes this.
    06-14-2017 07:28 AM
  7. anon(10215379)'s Avatar
    I believe this is going to take time, but will slowly happen. One thing Microsoft could do to speed it along is to identify the top 100 apps that users think of as essential and seed some development funds to them to commit to getting their apps in the App Store and doing so with a level of quality that is on par with the non App Store version. They may also have to suspend their share of revenue for a few years to take away that barrier for the near term. They could slowly phase it in several years out after the App Store is sustainable.

    Waiting for the "paying customers" is not really part of this. There are plenty of paying customers, they are just shopping elsewhere.
    Exactly! You are so right. MS is not some poor company or start up. They lost 7 BILLION on Nokia. That would have floored any other company. They can afford to "seed some development fund(s)" into its store.

    They not only need to get key apps - some apps on the Windows store have less functionality and in extreme cases look worse than their counter parts on iOS and Android - but incentivize developers to have the apps on MS be equal too or in reverse better than on the competing platforms. Windows 10s is targeting the education sector. Most students, to be frank have iOS or Android cellphones. If the new apps on Windows store (on W10s) are not as good (in functionality and design) as what they have on their phones then Windows will continue to be something you have to put up with for school and work. After school or work in other words the rest of your life, then the other platforms are the way to go. So, the question is do they have the vision and guts to do this? I guess we have to wait and see.
    06-16-2017 05:48 AM
  8. convergent's Avatar
    The only thing about seeding development funds is there needs to be some commitments made to receive them. The app has to be on par with other platforms. I've seen the seeding thing done before and the developer just built some half-$$$ piece of crap to check the box, and then didn't fully support it vs. other platforms... quickly it was worse than having no app at all.

    The thing is that Windows S is not a phone OS. The developers don't have to port phone apps to the platform to accomplish the goal. All they have to do is port their Windows apps. The biggest reason to me that they may not want to do it is that they believe they will lose revenue by doing this. They go from direct sales of x licenses at y revenue to x+ licenses at y- revenue. Microsoft should establish a model with its developers that for some period of time they will not take a share of revenue until the developer's license sales exceed a percentage above what the developer had before joining the app store. That would take away the negative and assuming the platform is successful Microsoft will eventually cash in anyways. And frankly if all the apps you used were in the app store, it would be much easier to deal with updates and such instead of having them check when you start the app every time... often creating delays if you are in the middle of doing something and then have to do an update.
    06-16-2017 06:34 AM
  9. a5cent's Avatar
    @convergent

    First, I may have too specifically focused on W10M here. I generally take an app to be a small piece of software built for mobile devices. If it was built for a desktop OS I'd not call it an app. The OP mentioned "apps", and in the thread title the OP mentioned "W10M". Since there is a lot of developer interest in W10 (just not in the UWP platform), I assumed we're really only talking about W10M. If that is incorrect the OP should probably clarify.

    In theory we shouldn't have to differ between Windows mobile apps and desktop software, but we're still far away from those being the same thing, so in practice we must still differ. You seem to have taken the opposite approach and assumed we're talking mainly about the W10 Store. So we're really just not talking about the same thing. That accounts for some of the differences, as both platforms must be understood and explained in very different ways. As far as I can tell we're pretty much in agreement on everything relating to those issues.

    HOWEVER, my two main points really had nothing to do with either the W10M or W10 ecosystems. They were:
    1. Developer involvement has absolutely nothing to do with "warm fuzzies" and being "valued" by MS.
    2. The only way to raise developer interest is by raising demand.

    You haven't contradicted the first. The points you make support it. I assume we're therefore really only arguing about the second point.

    As far as I can tell your counter-position is based singularly on the idea that MS can and should pay for app development. This is an old and tired idea. What you're suggesting is that MS foster a centrally controlled app ecosystem, where MS chooses which projects get sponsored and which don't. In a more political context we'd call that "picking winners and losers". The entire model could be directly pulled from a primer on communism. The idea is doomed to fail for the same reasons communism did.

    I suspect the software industry is also more complicated than you are making it out to be. A few years ago I spent, as part of my job, weeks talking with various CTO's about their plans to develop for W10M. The results were pretty sobering. Nobody was willing to do it, not even if MS payed them for it, because they didn't want to be saddled with the maintenance costs (two thirds of the costs of software are typically incurred after the initial release as part of maintenance). If MS had payed for that as well, they still would have refused, because nobody wanted to hire additional staff just to support MS' endeavors. Contracting W10M app development out to a 3rd party seemed like the logical conclusion, but most refused that too, because they were not comfortable giving 3rd parties access to their IT backend infrastructure.

    If that still doesn't convince you, consider that MS already tried the approach. Not only did it fail but in some cases it actually back fired. Some companies who would have developed for W10M ended up cancelling their efforts. Why? Because if MS is paying companies to bring their app to MS' store, then any notable company would be stupid to release their app without having the MS money man come by first. They basically held their own app for ransom.

    Even in the situation where everything works out perfectly, it still fails. Why? Because in a free market, developers make apps because they hope to gain something from it via customers. That is why they are motivated to make the best possible app they can. That's an entirely different approach from making an app that is just good enough to cash MS' check! If MS is paying for app development, this is the best we'll ever get, and if you think that can be contractually prevented (specifications, requirements, etc) then you've definitely never developed software. ;-)

    Having MS pay other companies to develop apps sounds plausible, but only until you understand what is really going on behind the curtains. It's a terrible idea that deserved to fail and did. It will not work. Never has. Never will.

    I'm pretty sure I'm not missing anything in this area. I think I understand it better than most. Create demand or go home. That's all there is to it.
    06-16-2017 05:27 PM
  10. convergent's Avatar
    @a5cent

    Yes, I think we are apples and oranges. Since its a Surface Pro forum, I assumed we were talking about desktop apps, not mobile apps. If Microsoft wants to get back into mobile (phones), they are going to have a tough go. They've gone in and out of this so many times, going back to Windows CE and Windows Mobile that there is no trust in the market for them. If buying Nokia didn't get it done, I see no path for them.
    06-16-2017 05:31 PM

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