Microsoft debating Android app support for Windows Phones

by: Robert TriggsJanuary 19, 2015

WIndows vs Android Windows 8 Android Logo Brand -1

Windows 10 will unify Microsoft’s PC and mobile platforms with a single operating system and app store. However, with Windows accounting for roughly only 2.7 percent of the smartphone market, Microsoft needs a plan to win back consumer support in a big way.

According to a former Microsoft employee, the biggest priority for Microsoft this time around is to “stop the leakage” and prevent Android and iOS users from completely abandoning Microsoft’s operating system. Apparently, this has led Microsoft to discuss whether or not Android apps should be allowed to run on Windows Phones.

The benefit for Microsoft is clear, customers will be free to pick up a Windows powered phone while retaining access to their favourite Android apps. Not to mention that Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem would be instantly fleshed out with a huge range of popular applications. Uber didn’t release its app for Windows Phone until July last year and Snapchat still doesn’t run on Windows Phone, for example. However, such a move may disincentivize developers from designing Windows apps in the future, as they would not be backwards compatible with other operating systems. This would weaken Window’s position as an operating system further down the line.

Microsoft’s recent move to open up its Office Mobile software and unifying the code base across other operating systems is being seen by some as a sign that the company is prepared to relinquish its reliance on its OS in favour of providing competitive services with the likes of Google. Microsoft is also under threat from Apple’s and Google’s moves into the enterprise space, so there’s a clear need to begin competing more aggressively against the big mobile players in software as well as the OS space.

Software looks to be a key part of Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy , with enhanced security options, data syncing and office features all expected to make an appearance. Windows 10 will be an important release for Microsoft’s mobile plans, but it remains to be seen whether or not the company will go so far as to open up its platform to its major competitors.

  • Martin Kaiser

    Desperate situation requires desperate countermeasures. However, I am skeptical that this would save the already dead platform. MS should let go a focus on other areas – offering their full-featured services on profitable platforms – iOS and Android.

  • Mohamad Haris Ishak

    just make it fast. windows phone store is full of crappy apps right now.

  • Tjaldid

    But would the developers develop for it or just develop android apps, and since they are giving Windows away for free where would they gain any money from this

  • suspicious_milk

    A lot of Windows phone users are escaping the the ****** Google experience. MS is smarter than that. Just like adding the ability to run Google adware on BB, no one would care and it wouldn’t help anyone.

    • ocdtrekkie

      After using Windows Phone apps, I’d abhor having to go back to Android apps.

    • Lol

      I unfortunately returned to android. Would love to see android apps go to wp. My 1520 awaits it’s reactivation

  • It shouldn’t be a debate!

    • ocdtrekkie

      Because it’s a really awful idea and Microsoft should definitely not do it.

    • AMRooke

      I agree, as the only choices to debate would be either no or %$#! NO. Bringing apps from another platform would kill any motivation for developers to write native WP apps, and the foreign apps would not he optimized for the advanced WP-only capabilities like live tiles and Cortana. Besides, aps aren’t the biggest issue (innovative developers like Rudy Huyn have written WP apps that fill the critical gaps) the US carriers and their exclusive hardware is.

      • torch4x4

        I agree, Cortana is more integrated with apps than Google Now.

  • ibrahim speed

    i hope WP can make up in future but maybe they need to redefine it…

  • Renascienza

    Let’s face the reallity: Windows Phone platfform is dommed. From the very start.

    Android came from a collaborative stack capable to mobilize and play with others. Windows Phone doesn’t.

    iOS have its Apple almost blind fans, carefully cultivated across decades. Windows Phone doesn’t.

    “such a move may disincentivize developers from designing Windows apps in the future” – Yes, this gonna happen.

    Do this thing go to get some more developers attention, but at the wrong way: Is not because the platform is attractive, but because make the port is easy and have low cost. Even so, as a developer yet I wouldn’t worry about the Windows platform because, even if the port demanded only one day of work, there are potentially more profitable ways to spend a day’s work.

    After many years poisoning every partnership, play as money-seeker, abusing users confidence, Microsoft is finally decaying to irrelevance. Need do something about it. Now.

    In its place, my strategy can be even more agressive: completely trash away Windows Phone platform, adopt or clone Android (because is impossible do the same with iOS), keep the code open (because operational system’s code is commodity) and focus to offer (good and market compatible, no more proprietary crap) software and services.

    Windows Phone is not actually a money machine. Is a burden. An unecessary TCO.

    Before Android, when ChromeOS was failing, Google use another players machines and Windows/Mac OS to prevail. You don’t need force your platform to people throats. You need offer services, help people to solve his problems, and so win users.

    Then, maybe someday you can have your own platform, that people like. And just so you can use it to enhance its services.

    • HassanShappi

      Irrational delusions.

    • vimal eddy

      Doomed, dom is playing in fast and furious!

  • Sam

    Go for it Microsoft, it will be an addition to a list of failures… by the way, after spending 400 million USD on NFL marketing, how about releasing the sales figure for Surface 3?

    • HassanShappi

      The Surface Pro 3 is actually turning a profit – after Surface 1 & 2 lost nearly a billion.

      • Sam

        First of all, lets say there is actually a profit. A company making few device and selling it for profit doesn’t make it a success story. At the most, they probably managed their inventory better (less devices, less profit etc). The device at large is an epic fail. Besides, if it was a success story like XBOX, i’m sure microsoft would be running to release numbers and get some more PR. The very fact that they are silent suggests that its an FAIL.

        • HassanShappi

          Just because the numbers aren’t in your face doesn’t mean they are silent, in fact numbers have been reported twice since the June release of the Surface Pro 3 – seeing how concerned you are about it, I’m sure you can find them.

          Has the device been a blockbuster success? Of course not – but recognize the incredible shift it has made between the 2nd & 3rd generations. The SP3 is a great device, hate all you want.

          • Sam

            The very fact that fan boys have to justify tells the story. Just go to a Best buy and see the Surface section empty. Nobody gave it a shit even on a black friday.

          • HassanShappi

            So… did you look up the numbers?

            Why are you hating so much without knowledge? What do you gain from making assumptions and judements on a product you’ve never even used? Why do you care at all?

          • Sam

            Its not about hate. Its just that Microsoft and their business calls becomes case study in top business schools as to how not to stupid. The sooner it happens, the better for new companies.

          • Sam

            By the way, there is another fundamental problem as to why Microsoft is in a slippery slope. Go to top schools and talk to smart engineers and scientists. They just don’t want to consider MS as a potential employer. Not being cool for consumers is one thing, but if a tech company isn’t cool for smart employees, its a downward journey. Microsoft is working around by brining in people who can execute and finish projects. But these folks can’t really innovate and this is what is hurting them in the last 10 years.

          • HassanShappi

            Yeah, that “slippery slope” has led to record profits & growth the last few years. Obviously they ae doomed.

            Look, I get it, you’re a Google fan. That’s cool (not really, but to each his own). So why spend your time & energy illogically hating on another company? …and that’s what it’s really all about, you don’t like Microsoft (probably because you bought a shiny new laptop running Vista that was garbage), let it go. Making wild assumptions based off of assumptions is just making you look even more foolish at this point.

          • Sam

            “record profits and growth”, cracking up… lol… What innovation has come out of Microsoft in the last few years? Besides, why does any argument against MS has to be pro Google or Apple? And just because you quoted Google, their research came up with Google glass, Self driving cars etc while Microsoft is considering Android apps in Windows mobile? Seriously, that tells how pathetic MS’s research is. And that is what i meant by a slippery slope. (Obviously you didn’t get it). Just go and talk to smart kids in schools, tech shows like CES.

            By the way, i would love MS to step up after all its going to be good for consumers. But from what i hear from their research division’s employees, their hiring hasn’t changed a bit. They are not able to attract good talent and the ones who come in just look forward to a 9 to 6 job with no drive/risk for innovation.

          • HassanShappi

            Keep laughing. I’m speaking of facts, while you continue with hyperbole and assumptions.

          • Sam

            Typical pro MS argument, denial of reality. lol.

          • HassanShappi

            No, you’re ignoring facts and jumping from topic to topic – for what, I don’t know.

            Again, you resort to rhetoric and hyperbole.

            I’m sorry but you make it a pointless discussion. Good day!

          • Sam

            Like they say, you can wake someone who is sleeping not the one who is acting to be…

          • Anthony Serna

            Oh how the words of this is just hilarious. Watching the conference, google glass vs HoloLens.

            Guess what, hololens api is built into windows 10, across devices that have NO screen, to phones, to tablets, to pcs. Hololens makes google glass unimportant. Their live holographic demo, plus 3d printing, plus 3d skype calling…the list goes on. Oh did we mention 3d interactive minecraft. We can even go on to how MS created their own holographic processing unit.

            Your right MS hasnt done anything. I would offer you some cheesewhiz for that foot you just tasted.

          • Sam

            Is it true that the only MS fanboys are Microsoft employees? Is that why Microsoft store is often filled with folks wearing those windows color t-shirts?

          • Anthony Serna

            You are quoting business school? Please tell me which school that is, so we can not hire a single person from that school if they are all like you. (they obviously are not).

            News flash, Microsoft makes more money off android than even Google does. Let that sink in. MS makes more money off of Google’s OS than Google does. Did that sink in yet? Why? Because of patents. Even android cannot go and play in the mobile world without over 100 patents it uses. Including the very obvious one, pc syncing. Funny part about it is, without it, you wouldnt even be able to plug your android into a pc to view its files. Something android rely’s a ton on. Including samsung with their kies software.

            Googles top 5 rated patents? Ad’s, all designed to sell your data. MS? software patents, designed to get work done. I know which company i rather use. Dont forget, MS portfolio not only in patents but overal company was recently rated higher than Google for value.
            The surface 1 & 2 took a right off, but they did not loose billions. If you knew accounting and business you would see they didnt loose much at all. They took a write off on un-recognized profits for their year. Meaning they projected this much, and adjusted this much. That does not mean they lost. The sp3 has been a success, every tech site has rated it top notch and nearly every owner of one is satisfied.
            Lets face it your a troll…

          • Sam

            Really? so you know how much Google makes out of Android? There is something called incremental revenue that Google makes unlike the one time fee. Besides, to my point, things like this is what makes Microsoft not cool with smart engineers. Wake up !!!

          • Anthony Serna

            Actually yes we know how much google makes vs ms makes.

            Seriously just search for it. Incremental revenue off ads. As ads dry up, which they already have, and why Google each year is forced to do more about it, their revenue dries up. 95% of all googles revenue is ads. think about it. 95%. They make money by taking your searches, your emails, your sms, everything and then convert that into a targeted ad.

            MS makes roughly 5billion a year off android, by providing software patents.

            So if you are in business, i would tell you to look up more facts, and more about where MS gets their cash from vs the voltile nature that google has with ads. In fact the very extension ad block, screws googles revenue stream.

          • Lol

            Mr troll hello.

          • Sam

            great device? Any device running metro is just not productive. Its probably is good only for guys using one app. Its a pain for anyone wanting to multi-task.

          • HassanShappi

            Says the guy that doesn’t use one…

            Whereas I use mine for work everyday. “Multitasking” much quicker & more efficiently.

            Do you think anyone is actually using metro apps for productivity? Have you ever even used Windows 8? You’re sounding less & less educated on the matter, you’ve clearly never used a Surface Pro 3 and now it sounds like you may have never used Windows 8 – meaning your opinion is useless.

            Thanks for playing.

          • Sam

            Oh really? So Microsoft was stupid to realize that they should bring back start button? or to realize that they should support a version of windows which boots into desktop mode by default (than the metro)? Why do you think the head of the software division moved on within couple of months after Windows 8 release?

          • HassanShappi

            You’re irrational hate is getting to you, to the point where you’re fumbling your words and I can’t fully understand you. Calm down.

    • Ddd

      Or even Xbox One. last official sold numbers were LAST April, since then smoke and mirrors shipments bullshit and whispers to the press that might come true if they whisper loud enough.

  • marrecar

    If they were as open as Google’s android, the sales of WP would be much greater. I think that their devices are great, packed with great features, but Windows platform draws me away from them. That’s why I prefer android, because it’s open and extremely customizable. If Microsoft does that with new platform, I might consider buying one of their phones.

    • Anthony Serna

      ASOP is open, google’s android is not. In fact Google’s android, the one you see on all phones right now, is as wallgardened as any OS. Them letting you install non-signed apps is great, until you get that fbi lock (i deal with that dam virus for a living). As well, register your windows device as a dev device and you can install any compiled app for it. Without the need for a store. Launchers? Sure, if your into static icons. I have yet to see a gooooood launcher with free stuff. And 90% of the android populace doesnt even know it is android. They get it because the salesman told them that 100$ junk L90 was an excellent buy. Remember 70% of all andriods are considered low end. Over 70% still dont have kitkat, much less 5.0.

  • OhStopItYou!

    no no no..don’t do it please don’t do it. I said please didn’t I?

  • McLaren F1P1

    Windows 10 is gonna be awesome for desktop! For phones, I don’t know and tiles don’t suit me! They should focus on desktop. An idea will be some sort of standard connectivity method like a more battery efficient Bluetooth like signal between smartphones of any OS with desktop Windows 10 to allow the smartphone act like a mouse or keyboard! Will be an extra feature to boast in that your smartphones can be your new mouse or keyboard as it’s now integrated in Windows 10! No 3rd party apps required!

  • Bio AE

    It’s quite simple. NO
    I came to windows phone FOR windows phone. Android can go to hell for all I care.
    (Even though there is no such thing as hell anyway)

    • MasterMuffin

      Hating Android on an Android site and adding a statement againts religion at the end? You’re either crazy or crazy and I like it, upvote for you :D

      • crutchcorn

        Yes, men with that level of caliber get 1+s :P

    • Marty

      Get married. You’ll discover Hell… :p

    • Gabriel Belmonte

      Grumpy cat maybe?

    • Lol

      It’s quite simple. I left Windows phone because the (. I crossfire apps were better on android). If they started to sell android apps on wp I would activate my 1520 in a heartbeat again

    • New Wave

      Who cares what a bunch of Old farts at M$ “think” anyway.

      Stick a fork on Wintel, it’s done.

    • jpatton117

      Thats nice that you are in it for Windows phone….but your ecosystem would get much better if say someone like me could get a Windows phone because of Android support. I use my phone for work and would like to use Windows. However many of the apps that I use for work wouldnt be available to me. And not popular apps but proprietary apps that are created by companies that I work with, none of which will be adding a Windows Phone version..way to costly.

      • Bio AE

        Oh yeah, I see how well that’s been working for BB.


    This would give WP the push they need to get into more peoples hands. Phones like the Nokia 1020 would be more desirable if it had compatibility with APKs

  • Charles7

    Adopt Open Mobile’s Android Comparability Layer (ACL).

    Get enough players to adopt it and the app game is over, but there needs to be one standard that will work cross platform.

  • bozs13

    Do it now. I’d gladly buy a 1020 successor that can run Android apps.

  • Drake Richter

    This would not be the best path for Windows.
    Improving the user experience on Windows devices and enhancing how different devices work together, and making must-have hardware to run that software, is the only way to go. Part of improved user experience is apps designed for that device and OS.
    It’s a delicate game they’re playing, but they have the financial muscle to do it.

  • Will S.

    Still doesn’t fix the main problem – why on earth would anyone buy a WP over Apples coherence and Androids customisation?

    • Android Developer

      Maybe now it will become more customizable .
      I have no idea what will become of WP if it will support Android apps.

    • torch4x4

      WP provides better user experience, for instance simple things on WP requieres extra steps in android, it’s not a bad OS, Cortana is more integrated with apps, etc etc. but the low market share result in no love from developers, at the end nobody cares.

      • Will S.

        “for instance simple things on WP requieres extra steps in android” – like what?

        • torch4x4

          is not in the apps or the OS capabilities, is in the daily user experience for simple things like returning a missed call, setting up any image as a lock screen, find things in the phone, word prediction with more sense, etc. etc. and also some things can be simplified with a “pin to home screen”, cortana has a dedicated button, there’s a camera button, camera zoom with one finger, etc. etc. the list continues… there are more capabilities and features on android and more customization but is carrying some absurd ways to do things from early versions, when you know WP in depth you will notice those differences. I’m an android user with a galaxy note 4 and I like my android but I like few things in WP that I cannot have, not even with a launcher.

          • Lol

            Same here. I deactivated my lumia 1520 and got a note 4. I’m refusing to sell the 1520. Amazing phone. Amazing os. But no good apps. Android has all the “exclusive ms apps” and they are actually better

          • torch4x4

            The problem with MS apps on android is that aren’t integrated with the OS like on the WP, for instance with the Outlook app if you receive an email containing dates to add to calendar you cannot do it, Office also not integrated, OneDrive is too slow on android, Bing weather contains ski resort conditions on WP and is a sh!t on android, some others are the same, but I noticed some exclusives on android.

    • Nobõdy Evër

      Preference perhaps?

    • Anthony Serna

      Simple, android customizations are rather shitty. Oh yea another icon pack. Great…tell me when you can have 85 widgets on your android home screen, with updates, background tasks, and great without clutter, and have hte OS not chug like a 2yr old. Lets see it, put 80 active widgets on your home screen with update support and your s4, and i will wait for your youtube slug fest.

      Why would they choose?

      1. security, at the moment no known OS killing virus or malware.
      2. Ease of use
      3. Smoothness, a 521 runs like a 925, which runs like a 930. When your 50$ phone feels like a 400$ one, its amazing.
      4. full app install to sd card without root. Even now on android the ones that install to sd, are gimmick installs still leaving some at the phone layer.
      5. sd security. Currently androids security for the sd is horrendous and why snapchat pulled storing data on sd card, there is no security layer without breaking something at hte os layer here.
      6. Great OS even on low specs.
      7. Easier to get to functions.
      8. Data sense that does a much better job at saving data than on android, including compressing webpages for you.
      9. 1020
      10. Great C++ native code support, apps simply love doing it in c++ and not java (this is the dev side of me)

      I could go on, i currently use a z3 and 930 for daily life, z3 cause i have to for work tasks (not apps, i have to have the phone for demo’s), and the 930. I would choose the 930 in a heartbeat.

  • Fred

    “and prevent Android and iOS users from completely abandoning Microsoft’s operating system” That’s already happened. It’s less than 1% marketshare in countries that matter (the Microsoft quoted numbers are from outer mongolia or some such other marketing stunt).

    • Aditya Misra


      Countries that matter are the Russias, Indias and Chinas of the world where smartphone penetration is low and the potential for actual growth in volumes is huge. In another five years, India and China will have 250 million smartphone users combined. And they buy their phones contract free and pay in full.

      Your Ameican market is close to saturation and there is not much actual growth happening. Market share is being swapped between companies but the market size is effectively stagnant.

      Why do you think the likes of Huaweil, Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo, Zte, Meizu do not care about the US market?.

      Microsoft is doing very well in these markets along with the Eurozone. Even IDC have forecasted WP to overtake Ios in 2016.

      I hope next time you do some actual research before posting inane and baseless things

    • Anthony Serna

      With ten it just got a 1.5 billion count available to devs

  • crutchcorn

    Oh please…. Please… Please…

  • joe

    They need to put more xbl games on android

  • Karly Johnston

    jajaja… welcome to Blackberry

  • Otto Andersson

    You people aren’t thinking the benefits
    If I could straight up run android apps on my windows pcs without horrible blue stacks or modding and with Windows style multitasking, that would wonderful. I think this would be super beneficial to Ms!

  • Alex Niehaus

    Honestly lack of apps is what drove me back to Android. I gave Windows phone a year and the lack of or poor quality of a lot of the apps I used on Android drove me crazy. I Loved my Lumia and WP8.1, but basically having to use my Web browser(which I thought was a pretty crappy browser to boot) for everything drove me away.

    Having the full suite of Android apps could definitely bring me back.

  • farshad1967

    No no no

  • Cheli0S

    WP rules. Android, naaah.

  • Phillip Hernandez

    We will have to see what Windows 10 or Windows Mobile 10 will be like. Design changes are for customization but where it really matters is OS capabilities. Ps I’m a Windows Phone 8.1 Nokia Lumia 635 user. I’m super excited to see what it’s like.

  • Sylvester Echols

    They need to do something better than what they have. Windows App Store was expected to be better years ago. Sounds like catchup to me. (Hell is definitely real)

    • Anthony Serna

      it took android 4 years to reach what it took windows phone 2 years in terms of market apps. Right now they need games, to keep the click bait happy, spend 10 dollars on gems people happy. Did you know the average android user installs a totaly of less than 10 apps other than the ones that came with the phone, games included. 10 apps, think about that 10 apps out of 1.3million. The google market has hit saturation in terms of numbers. At this point its all shovel ware.

      • Sylvester Echols

        Uh not really. Doesn’t look like that at all here. Why bother if they were so successful?

      • Ian Baxter

        And how are these games going to come when Windows Phone uniquely does not support OpenGL? Nor has it kept it’s C++ compiler modern. It’s simply to much pain to convert, easier and smarter instead to spend the time getting a long way towards the next Android/iOS title.

        • Anthony Serna

          DirectX is just as capable. Modern c++ compiler….yes in fact VS is so old no one uses it and when they try no apps or games can be made. Making something for IOS or Android is not easier or harder, it simply is numbers. DirectX and c++ is uniquely faster and better than its competition.

  • Guest

    Developers will abandon developing apps for windows phone

  • Mark Hutchison

    Yea…cause who would want that app?

  • Chris

    Honestly, as a windows phone user I believe it can only do good things for windows phones. There is a severe lack of third party support for the phones and adding an entire pre-existing market just opens up soo much more. As for people against this, they are stubborn, they don’t want a market that they do not prefer as an option on their devices. But that is all it is, an option, it’s not going to corrupt your system, there are plenty of features and options you don’t use already on it. And I am sure there are one’s that you would hate as equally or more than if they put the Google play store on. Thing is that they don’t put a whole lot of support into the OS since we already have windows phone 10 on it’s way and they already are taking a gamble on that. They NEED this edge, this feature that will draw people in since the largest disadvantage of the phone is the store/support. Hopefully WP10 will take care of the smaller bugs that the updates in WP8.1 (specificaly Denim) have been giving us.
    As a side note, Chase Bank pulled their app from the Windows store (which i use, or used to) an many others have, if this isn’t a call for the ultimate 3rd party support, I don’t know what is.

  • Sunil Chandwani

    Microsoft must follow android apps on windows platform because as an os windows platform is much much premium then android platform the only drawback is poor app support. we should not forget that every android user praises the apps only not the OS. Microsoft should give the os experience to its users before giving any experienceMicrosoft must follow android apps on windows platform because as an os windows platform is much much premium then android platform the only drawback is poor app support. we should not forget that every android user praises the apps only not the OS. Microsoft should give the os experience to its users before giving any app experience.

  • Michael Godfrey

    id rather have android on a windows phone then no apps on it at all