Here's why Windows Subsystem for Android got killed off, according to a 29-year Microsoft veteran

GraniteStateColin

Active member
May 9, 2012
325
60
28
Visit site
I don't understand. The article quotes: "'...WSA without a store is awesome but doesn't help windows financially,' said Clinick."

But it had a store, the Amazon store. Does this mean that Amazon pulled support of the store from Windows first, leaving WSA without a store, or that the Amazon store was not generating enough revenue for MS and so they decided it wasn't worth continuing to pay Amazon and provide internal support to maintain it? I suspect he must have meant the latter, but if so, then why say "WSA without a store..."?

Seems like saying, "We cancelled making cars because cars without steering wheels aren't useful." While the market is thinking, yes, but your car has a steering wheel...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CadErik

GraniteStateColin

Active member
May 9, 2012
325
60
28
Visit site
Sadly, like so many decisions made in isolation by MS, this also means a few of our systems that were running Windows and tied into the MS ecosystem only because they could double as testbeds for Android apps will now be replaced by Linux boxes (some of our devs prefer Linux but were willing to use Windows with WSL because of WSA). This in turn reduces interest in other MS products and weakens the ecosystem.

I'm not saying specifically that MS should have kept WSA -- maybe this really was a waste of money and effort, but I don't understand how MS can repeatedly be so blind to the synergistic value of providing broad options of support for its OS users. Looking at a profit center of a single offering in isolation is largely meaningless. When you remove legs from the table, eventually it collapses, even if some of them, on their own, weren't carrying any weight.

Even their huge success with AI is limited to a subset of the full users they would have had if they had not dropped mobile and Cortana. Every time they drop something, they weaken their influence in all other related areas that intersect with it in some way. Sometimes, that's undoubtedly worth it (you can't keep spending billions on something with no return). But I see no evidence that MS even considers these broader effects, the spiderweb of consequences to cutting threads.
 

fjtorres5591

Active member
May 16, 2023
236
58
28
Visit site
I don't understand. The article quotes: "'...WSA without a store is awesome but doesn't help windows financially,' said Clinick."

But it had a store, the Amazon store. Does this mean that Amazon pulled support of the store from Windows first, leaving WSA without a store, or that the Amazon store was not generating enough revenue for MS and so they decided it wasn't worth continuing to pay Amazon and provide internal support to maintain it? I suspect he must have meant the latter, but if so, then why say "WSA without a store..."?

Seems like saying, "We cancelled making cars because cars without steering wheels aren't useful." While the market is thinking, yes, but your car has a steering wheel...
The Amazon store is only a fraction of the google store content and it leans heavily towards games and utility, less so towards productivity and services, where the real money lies.

The comparison woukd be more like "we stopped making cars because the only insurance company refused to do business with our customers.

In the Android world PLAY SERVICES (unlike PLAY) is a lock-in chokehold that idiological idiot regulators ignore instead of questioning. Imagine if DirectX were the only allowed way to access core Windows APIs, not just for games, but everything. No Vulkan, no Unreal, or any other middleware. You can replace the store, you can replace the browser, you can replace the maps, but replacing Play services is hard, expensive, and legally iffy.

It's a nice choke point Google maintains.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CadErik

Sean Endicott

Staff member
Oct 28, 2014
41
16
8
Visit site
I don't understand. The article quotes: "'...WSA without a store is awesome but doesn't help windows financially,' said Clinick."

But it had a store, the Amazon store. Does this mean that Amazon pulled support of the store from Windows first, leaving WSA without a store, or that the Amazon store was not generating enough revenue for MS and so they decided it wasn't worth continuing to pay Amazon and provide internal support to maintain it? I suspect he must have meant the latter, but if so, then why say "WSA without a store..."?

Seems like saying, "We cancelled making cars because cars without steering wheels aren't useful." While the market is thinking, yes, but your car has a steering wheel...
The Amazon Appstore is so lackluster that it's almost unfair to compare it to the Google Play Store. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be "without a good store," but I didn't want to put words in the mouth of the Clinick. He has far more knowledge of it than me, so if he says WSA doesn't work financially, I believe him. But I do agree that the phrasing could have been more clear.
 

GraniteStateColin

Active member
May 9, 2012
325
60
28
Visit site
The Amazon Appstore is so lackluster that it's almost unfair to compare it to the Google Play Store. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be "without a good store," but I didn't want to put words in the mouth of the Clinick. He has far more knowledge of it than me, so if he says WSA doesn't work financially, I believe him. But I do agree that the phrasing could have been more clear.

The Amazon store is only a fraction of the google store content and it leans heavily towards games and utility, less so towards productivity and services, where the real money lies.

The comparison woukd be more like "we stopped making cars because the only insurance company refused to do business with our customers.

In the Android world PLAY SERVICES (unlike PLAY) is a lock-in chokehold that idiological idiot regulators ignore instead of questioning. Imagine if DirectX were the only allowed way to access core Windows APIs, not just for games, but everything. No Vulkan, no Unreal, or any other middleware. You can replace the store, you can replace the browser, you can replace the maps, but replacing Play services is hard, expensive, and legally iffy.

It's a nice choke point Google maintains.

@Sean Endicott and @fjtorres5591 , I understand the differences between the two stores (and agree with @fjtorres5591 on the chokehold that gives Google on many of the apps). We develop for both of them. But that's not anything new, so that couldn't explain this current decision. MS started with the Amazon store and with no access to Google Play Services, so this can't come as a surprise to them. They knew the only Android apps they would have would be those in the Amazon Marketplace (and via sideloading, like we do for testing).

Does anyone know what caused this new CHANGE? I'm trying to understand the sequence, the cause and effect. Which came first: MS dropping WSA, so then Amazon removed the Marketplace, or Amazon decided to remove the Marketplace from Windows, so MS decided that was the final straw without Google Play services and so then announced the end of WSA?
 

john clove

New member
Mar 29, 2017
6
0
1
Visit site
firstly, ive run android emulation on windows without a hiccup, using googles play store. no problem, but there are more than 2 app stores around so why can't microsoft partner with one of them... an android subsystem is a cracking idea they just need to make it easier to use and setup..
 

grahamf

Member
Nov 19, 2012
324
0
16
Visit site
I'm not too surprised. When i tried it, only apps from the Amazon Appstore could be installed and there didn't seem to be a clear way to "sideload" apps or other app stores onto it.

Plus it kept on triggering my webcam/microphone and that was creepy as f***.
 

ShinyProton

Member
Aug 9, 2023
59
19
8
Visit site
The Amazon Store was even more useless than the Windows Store. That's a pretty dire situation that just precipitated the WSA toward the cliff.

There was simply no point to have WSA without a decent Store. It was a technological curiosity at most. And without consumers, there are absolutely no reasons to keep this alive.

In the end, the biggest loser remains Windows. Without any modern apps - the Store being pathetically empty - it is grappling for air. Luckily, gaming and offices can still maintain the OS alive because, consumers have been gone for long.
 

TechFreak1

Moderator
May 15, 2013
4,611
5
38
Visit site
Obviously Google was never going support this subsystem in Windows... did the execs forget the sheningans Google pulled with the Youtube app???

The Subsystem for Android - had zero legs to begin with as due to their stranglehold on the Playstore.

Sigh... it was so bleeding obvious.. what a waste of resources they really should have focused on Windows based mobile offering instead bringing that massive cut axe down.

Fortunately, Microsoft does still have Windows on ARM and they cannot mess this one up. So, I hope beyond all hopes that Microsoft is doubling down on WoA. If they're going down the route of Webapps?...

That's not going to cut it, many applications are not suited for webapps such as DAWs, production and professional editing software. You also can't have game development sdks as Webapps... the list is endless.

Edit: Just read the upcoming Surface event article, apparently the Pro 10 will have a built-in NFC reader. That is a very curious add-on. Could be used for Merchant payments (payments made by customers in businesses i.e restaurants) and Digital wallets?

Also the Surface Laptop has an ARM variant, maybe there is hope after all.
 
Last edited:

GraniteStateColin

Active member
May 9, 2012
325
60
28
Visit site
The Amazon Store was even more useless than the Windows Store. That's a pretty dire situation that just precipitated the WSA toward the cliff.

There was simply no point to have WSA without a decent Store. It was a technological curiosity at most. And without consumers, there are absolutely no reasons to keep this alive.

In the end, the biggest loser remains Windows. Without any modern apps - the Store being pathetically empty - it is grappling for air. Luckily, gaming and offices can still maintain the OS alive because, consumers have been gone for long.

Clearly, Google Play services would open up a lot more apps, but as long as Amazon is selling Kindle Fires (and to be fair, that market may have dropped), then there is a viable Amazon Marketplace. Kindle Fire runs loads of apps, and all only from the Amazon Marketplace.

Sideloading onto WSA was also quite easy. It was a command line, but a single line with WSA running:
adb install <app filename>.apk

And that works for any app that runs on Android, as long as it's not dependent on Google Play Services.
 

Sean Endicott

Staff member
Oct 28, 2014
41
16
8
Visit site
Clearly, Google Play services would open up a lot more apps, but as long as Amazon is selling Kindle Fires (and to be fair, that market may have dropped), then there is a viable Amazon Marketplace. Kindle Fire runs loads of apps, and all only from the Amazon Marketplace.

Sideloading onto WSA was also quite easy. It was a command line, but a single line with WSA running:
adb install <app filename>.apk

And that works for any app that runs on Android, as long as it's not dependent on Google Play Services.
The "quite easy" steps you just listed are far beyond what millions of people will ever do on a device. I understand it's not technically difficult to install an APK, but a ton of everyday users just click to install apps and will never use command line or anything similar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Laura Knotek

Laura Knotek

Retired Moderator
Mar 31, 2012
29,412
27
48
Visit site
The "quite easy" steps you just listed are far beyond what millions of people will ever do on a device. I understand it's not technically difficult to install an APK, but a ton of everyday users just click to install apps and will never use command line or anything similar.
That's the main issue. The majority of Windows users install .exe programs, not apps from a store. App stores are mostly for mobile devices.
 

GraniteStateColin

Active member
May 9, 2012
325
60
28
Visit site
The "quite easy" steps you just listed are far beyond what millions of people will ever do on a device. I understand it's not technically difficult to install an APK, but a ton of everyday users just click to install apps and will never use command line or anything similar.

@Sean Endicott , sorry, that was just a side comment in response to @grahamf saying "...there didn't seem to be a clear way to "sideload" apps or other app stores onto it." I know most users won't go to a command line. Just pointing out that if you want to sideload, it's fairly straightforward.

Do you know the answer to my original question here: which occurred first -- did MS announce that they were dropping WSA, and so Amazon terminated the Amazon Marketplace in Windows or did Amazon terminate access to the Marketplace, which led (at least in part) to MS announcing the end of WSA?

This seems to me to be a critical piece of the news story to understand the cause and effect of those two related events.
 

CadErik

New member
Feb 6, 2015
11
1
3
Visit site
I don't understand. The article quotes: "'...WSA without a store is awesome but doesn't help windows financially,' said Clinick."

But it had a store, the Amazon store. Does this mean that Amazon pulled support of the store from Windows first, leaving WSA without a store, or that the Amazon store was not generating enough revenue for MS and so they decided it wasn't worth continuing to pay Amazon and provide internal support to maintain it? I suspect he must have meant the latter, but if so, then why say "WSA without a store..."?

Seems like saying, "We cancelled making cars because cars without steering wheels aren't useful." While the market is thinking, yes, but your car has a steering wheel...
Agree... the quote is not making sense
 

CadErik

New member
Feb 6, 2015
11
1
3
Visit site
Microsoft recently announced the end of support for Windows Subsystem for Android. Now, a Microsoft veteran shared why the feature failed to stick around.

Here's why Windows Subsystem for Android got killed off, according to a 29-year Microsoft veteran : Read more
The Amazon store had a small subset of all their apps available through the WSA - you can barely find a weather app, I couldn't find a single app I needed there. I am worried there are other agreements in certain apps that prevented Amazon from publishing more of their apps on WSA. I don't really get the revenue thing either... WSL doesn't bring revenues to Azure directly. If WSA revenues were tied to their store revenues, there was some poor management there. Who on earth would buy WSA apps? And why would bother counting ad revenues when such as small subset of apps is available.
 

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
323,730
Messages
2,244,293
Members
428,107
Latest member
xzorax