Microsoft Garage, the company’s project for rapidly bringing experimental apps and services to life without the rigour usually associated with getting a Microsoft product to market, is two years old and the company is celebrating the achievements of the group with this blog post.
I don’t necessarily believe that Microsoft has anything to celebrate. The Garage nay have brought some interesting products to life, but in failing to deliver them as cross platform mobile applications it has at the same time given the lie to Microsoft’s message that building for Windows and Windows Mobile UWP could be a low impact addition to building for iOS and Android.
As I’ve said before, if Microsoft’s own initiatives can’t or won’t expend the effort to deliver apps cross platform how can the company legitimately ask third-party developers to do so?
Right now Windows Mobile is dead, a victim of the app gap, Microsoft’s post-Ballmer indifference and the inability to get developers interested in the platform. The death of Windows Mobile is a heavy blow for the concept of Windows Everywhere and the idea that developers should build UWP apps going forward.
Hololens may be the future – but for now its niche and low volume. The Xbox One is a gaming machine and Microsoft’s efforts to make it more media centric and PC-like nearly killed it. Neither warrant much effort in terms of general development support.
So with no value in building UWP, why would developers use the Microsoft Store for new software? I can’t see that they will in general. A Win32 app is universally accessible across Windows versions pre-dating the Store and leaves the developer in control of all aspects of the customer relationship.
So instead of celebrating the ‘success’ of the Garage, Microsoft should be having an inquest into how it could have leveraged the enthusiasm of its interns to push the cross platform message.