Microsoft Scuttles Years Of Developer Goodwill With Final Slap To The FaceAugust 20, 2014
As per the various reports and the internal memo from Jo Harlow, it’s become clear that Microsoft has no interest in keeping it’s Android handset lineup alive,any further. This follows the 18,000 layoffs the company just announced. This sudden job cut itself has received backlash and it’s regarded as the biggest (and worse) ever in the industry.
This whole drama has got the other side as well. Microsoft is cutting all its efforts for Nokia X lineup. They are terminating the further development and pushing the platform into maintenance mode or just say in the grave. They did it second time to the X platform. They did the similar thing when the company announced Nokia X2 with the newer version of the platform while denying the upgrade for previous generation, there is supplementary update though. What does that mean? There’ll be no further products running Nokia’s version of Android. Instead there will be bug fix updates (if Microsoft really cares) for these devices and don’t expect it remain for long time either. This also means, developer will also stop considering Nokia Store as a viable option to publish their apps. While introducing the X platform, Nokia made sure to make porting existing Android apps to its platform easier with the right transition path. Developers were provided with a set of SDKs and APIs and were even offered a helping hand from the company to ignite the interest. And since there will be no developers now there won’t be new apps. Because of this sudden termination, developers will also start thinking twice before making apps for Windows Phone 8, which is already struggling when it comes to the apps users want. This is not the first time Microsoft is doing something like this. Earlier too when the company moved from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, it broke the app compatibility and didn’t offer devs an easy transition path. Company did this again with the termination of Windows Phone 7 and shift to Windows Phone 8.
Contrary to this, Nokia as a company was always helpful to developers targeting its platform. When Nokia started considering MeeGo to replace SymbianOS as the OS of choice for its high-end phones, it had Qt in its portfolio. Developers could easily write and re-write their apps for both the platforms. It was all happy-happy until the famous Mr.Elop (CEO of Nokia back then) declared that he is killing both MeeGo and Symbian. Now the obvious fear in the minds of the developers is that what is the guarantee that Microsoft wouldn’t kill Windows Phone 8 just like that? Maybe they wouldn’t, but at this time things aren’t in the favor of Microsoft. It’s going into infinite loop for Microsoft and its Windows Phone. Developers aren’t interested in making apps for the platform because it has no user base. Flipboard is still coming for that matter. Users are not interested in buying WP devices because there are no apps they want. Further, Microsoft isn’t providing any good transition path to these developers so that they can port their apps easily to the Windows Phone. This will effectively put OEMs under pressure. It can be seen already, as HTC and Samsung both haven’t released new generation of handsets even after allowance for cheaper and better hardware. Although, Microsoft is trying hard to unify its desktop and mobile operating systems, app availability for its Modern UI still remains a concern and on Windows Phone,it’s more noticeable as the use cases are entirely different. We are also hearing problems with new Universal Apps as some UI bits are different. Company has to iron out the kinks there. For Microsoft, the biggest concern is to regain the devs’ trust and get them aboard the Windows Phone party. They are the souls of the ecosystem. One more stupid move by Microsoft and it can say goodbye to whatever market share Windows Phone has. Microsoft needs to communicate with developers better and assure them of good future with Windows Phone. Only then Microsoft can actually look like the 3rd horse in the race.