Windows Phone has been another victim of the mobile phone duopoly since it’s inception. Like BlackBerry, WP has a perceived app gap. Unlike BlackBerry, Microsoft had the money to pay some of these app makers to bring their apps to the platform. Yet even with native versions of these “must have” apps that are often used as the reason people aren’t buying platforms other than Android and iOS in quantity, Windows Phone stickers suffered.
In Build 2015, Microsoft introduced “Bridges” which work make it easier for Android and iOS app developers to port their apps over to the Windows platform. The Android bridge, called Project Astoria, seemed to be getting off to a good start. Users learned that many apps could be ported across and would work without any additional coding. The user could do it themselves. Indeed, looking at Windows fansites, BlackBerry fans would have been reminded of our own history two years before as we were changing apks to bars.
Microsoft has now decided to kill Project Astoria while keeping the bridge for porting iOS apps. In a strange move, Microsoft cites confusion from developers as the reason behind the move. Regardless of the real reason behind it, Windows Phone users can bid farewell to the idea of being able to port their own apps, or the hopes that like BlackBerry, Microsoft may one day add an android app store for direct installation as BlackBerry did with Amazon.
Windows Phone users must now count on the good graces of app developers to bring their apps to the platform. Or hope that their market share increases enough to make it worth it to the developers to bring them over. But as any BlackBerry user will tell you, it’s hard to increase that market share when you don’t have the apps the competing platform users use.