I was using Windows Phone right from the modest Windows Mobile 6 to the Windows Phone 8.1, until I made a jump to Android not so recently. Microsoft planned a big comeback with the Windows 8, but the app problem with the Windows Store seemed to be perennial in nature. Windows has been the last train to hop for developers, with quiet a lot of them straying away and now some are withdrawing their apps almost non chalantly.
That being said, the Windows Phone hardware is not doing great either, Microsoft’s frantic attempt to push the Lumia sales is evident in the recent bid to rebrand the Lumia series. As per The Verge, Mint has been the latest app to vanish from the Windows Store and this has created a furore among Windows Phone users, who for the record know that it won’t be the last app to be withdrawn from the Windows store.
The apps which have been withdrawn from Windows Store are not menial in nature as they come from some of the big publishers including American Airlines, Bank of America, Pintrest amongst many others. The very fact that Microsoft itself is withdrawing its own apps (PhotoSynth and Lumia Specific apps) from the Windows Store is not helping the things either. Cumulative effect of this entire saga will weigh heavy on the Windows Phone users who will be deprived of access to essential applications.
Microsoft has managed to sell only 5.8 million Lumia Windows Phones last quarter which is a stark contrast to the 20-Million units Xiaomi sold last quarter. Microsoft seems to be shifting focus towards a more effective phone portfolio which sort of translates to a Surface Phone. But just like we said earlier, Microsoft is yet to deliver the complete Windows experience that we can carry in our phones.
As if all these problems were not enough for Windows store, it has also dejected many users with late induction of apps, for example Instagram was late by two years to get the Video feature on the Windows Phone. Microsoft is trying hard to spin off a closely knitted developer ecosystem which will let users port apps from other platforms without having to do much coding but we feel it is just not enough.
It wouldn’t be fair for us to trickle down to a single root cause when it comes to depleting applications in the Windows Store but the prima facia suggests the way Windows has been handling their platform updates can be one of the main reasons. The shift from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 has been a quantum leap and the app publishers had to bear the brunt for the same, unlike Android wherein the switch to Material Design was a relatively smoother affair. Publishers on the other hand have been complaining about the lack of users and revenue on the Windows Phone store.
Microsoft needs to do something about this or their app store will soon be deserted by many publishers. Blackberry had been a victim of the same order, the App store was scantily populated and this led to the steep decline in users, they did allow side loading of Android app which without access to Google services was of not much use. At last Blackberry is offering a full fledged Android on their new offering the Priv, but it is still premature to gauge if the switch to Android will do the needful.