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and this has created a furore among Windows Phone users, who for the record know that it won’t be the last app to be withdrawn from the Windows store.

The apps which have been withdrawn from Windows Store are not menial in nature as they come from some of the big publishers including American Airlines, Bank of America, Pintrest amongst many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.

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Senior Author

Mahit Huilgol is a Mechanical Engineering graduate and is a Technology and Automobile aficionado. He ditched the Corporate boardroom wars in the favor for technology battle ground. Also a foodie by heart and loves both the edible chips and the non-edible silicon chips.


30 thoughts on “Windows Phone is Being Crushed by the Dead App Problem and There’s Nothing Microsoft can do About it

  1. umm…this article had nothing to do with the headline. It spoke of missing apps without speaking of the (often better) third party options. It didn’t mention kik messenger, Instagram, or others that have decided to not update their apps in years. It’s those “dead apps” that the headline referred to, not the missing apps the article and media is so quick to bring up.

      • Exactly. It’s not about iOS or Android…therefore, it’s the apocalypse. I remember when Android came out. I owned the G1 and remember the state of the app market then. Microsoft will get this fixed and with the advent of universal apps I really see some turn around coming.

      • I just hope it isnt all about doomsday here, would love to see Microsoft pump life into Windows phone before its too late. The way things have been going on with the Windows phone on both hardware and the software side it should spring into an autocorrective mode very soon.

        • I don’t know which phones you’re referring to when you speak of “hardware” issues. I currently use a Lumia 830 and I consider this the best phone I’ve ever used. Period. And I’ve used far more expensive Android and Blackberry devices – Sony Xperia S, Xperia T, Blackberry Q10 and the like. While I don’t have any experience with iOs, I’ve yet to encounter a phone or an OS that matches Windows for its robustness and its optimal use of hardware resources. I’ve yet to encounter any problems with my dated (relatively) Snapdragon 410 or just the 1 GB of RAM on my 830. And the 10 MP Pureview camera is leaps and bounds better than any other camera I’ve used or seen in person.

          A few of my friends are using the Lumia 640 and they couldn’t be happier with their phones.

          And coming to the new phones, the 950 and the 950 XL arguably have the top-of-the-line hardware (or close), not to mention an OS that could, in its final iteration, make the best use of those monstrous specs.

          Just a little perspective is be in order, I think.

        • I also have to agree with Vijay. What hardware issue are you talking about? I’m on my 2nd Android in 3 years and still on my 1st Windows Phone. I found the Windows phones to be very well made.

    • Wayne, the story intended to point out at the problem associated with the dead apps rather than just referring to the apps itself. We are well aware of the apps which have been stagnant but the reason for developer to shy away from the app is still murky.

  2. “Microsoft needs to do something about this or their app store will soon be deserted by many publishers.”
    Have you ever heard of Windows 10’s universal app platform? Android and iOS app porting tools for Windows Phone, expanded webapp capabilities including access to hardware like the camera, notification center, etc?
    MS has been working for years now to get to this point. The tools are coming out in 2016, W10 on phones hits later this month and starts rolling out to older models at the end of the year. The universal app platform is now on every W10 hybrid, Surface tablet, etc. They have been doing a lot to get apps coming. We probably wont start seeing any significant results from any of this until middle of 2016 or even later. That’s IF is works. No guarantee it will work, but they are doing a LOT.

    • Exactly my point Allen, don’t you think its still a tad bit too late for Microsoft to spring back into action. Being one of the early Windows phone Platform adapter (ditched Symbian) I still feel that Microsoft should have spared some serious efforts earlier while iOS and Android were merrily mushrooming.

      • With the clarity of hindsight, I would say that it was already too late when WP7 came out. No amount of effort or marketing could have made Windows Phone a success. They were never going to get enough users to catch up on store apps to the point of being competitive.
        The strategy now basically accepts that they will never get developers and they will never sell phones without them. They have no choice but find another way. That other way is to create an ecosystem that goes beyond phones and cover tablets, PCs, Xbox, Hololens. Give developers something enticing be a part of. They wont come for a few million phone users, maybe they’ll come for 1 billion universal platform users.
        Trouble is, that takes a LONG time to build. It sucks, and they’re losing users in the meantime, but its the only option they have. Trying to promote WP with ads and paying people to make apps at this point is just flushing money down the toilet. Its not that they’ve been lazy, its that they’ve been extremely ambitions. They cant just catch up – they have to leap way ahead and that is taking a painful amount of time. Hopefully, it works.

  3. I see a lot of people hoping against hope still that this will “turn around”. I have been one of those for far too long and I am just plain tired of waiting on them to fix this problem. I have a 640 right now just because it is cheap and functional and I don’t need a contract to own one, but it is slower than my old 1520, and there are just a few apps I wish Windows phones would have.
    More to the point. I made my peace with it. I hope they keep the Windows phone going just because of how long I have had an Xbox Music/Groove subscription, and it’s going to be a PITA replacing all of those songs on another service. In the end though, I don’t care what their market share is. I can live without 70 billion Apps (of which I will only use 3 or 4). But every once in a while…I just wish MS would get their rear in gear and fix this problem. 8 years of this is too long.

    • They can’t fix it, because it’s a quality issue. MS tried to make it a total numbers issue for as long as they could, but it was never about how many apps, it was always about which apps. Most people want THE Facebook app, not an app the works with Facebook (MS makes the windows phone app, not Facebook)… They want a pinterest app, not a browser wrapper called a pinterest app… etc etc…

      • The problem is the marketing strategy Microsoft still thinking the mobile division like if were the software division and didn’t do any efforts to promote their mobile products also can’t the developers complain if also won’t help quitting the app developing, in fact they thinks the instant soup paradigm thru wants get quick revenues but not waiting that the devices with that OS grew up, Android when was 1,5 2,0 version was too slow to be the amount of apps also is rare, that developers of apps for manage smart tvs, AVR, flight companies, services like Facebook,instagram all by revenues if themselves gets revenues by holding our personal data that should be enough or for, purchase their product

  4. My very first smart phone was the Nokia Lumia 920, it was and still is a great smart phone. I recently “upgraded” to a new phone with the Android OS on it. I have to say that the new super smart phone that I got with Android is really not any faster or smoother than the 920 was. The cameras are about the same in quality, and as for apps, I use very few of them so it was never an issue with me. I think this Windows phone bashing I see in many articles is over the top and seems absurd to me.
    Why did I switch to Android, The main reason is because the new windows phones available right now have poorer specs than the 920 does. and because the phone I bought has a stylus, super res screen, good camera, great battery life. As for apps, well the new Android phone I got has WAY to many installed on it and I only use a handful of them and have disabled as many as I could. I buy a smart phone for a few reasons, camera quality, screen res, smooth and quick user interface, storage and call features, I do not really consider how many apps it has.

  5. This seems to be all hype published by pro Android and iOS people. I have had a cheap (Free-Really TOTALLY FREE no contract) 635 since Crikets initial offering of it. My wife had an iPhone 4s, she did not use it enough to justify the cost. So she now uses a Feature Phone. My 635 becoming the primary Cell Phone in our family. Considering the price, it is hands down the best phone I have ever owned. Apps Apps Apps. REALLY, Windows phone has all the primary apps anyone would need, when I did have an Android Phone, I would down load apps, play with them for 10 mins. and be done with them, only months later deleting them because I never used them.

    • That is just wrong.. I have to drag my iPod touch out more and more to access apps. For online banking, with digital check deposits, even the mobile sites won’t do it, so if your only phone is windows phone, you aren’t doing that. You also aren’t watching any live news on your phone. As the browser doesn’t support flash, and no news outlets any longer have a news app that has any live feed on windows… The list goes on and on and on…

      • The list might certainly be long, I beg to disagree on watching live stream of news or other feeds. I do that quite regularly on my Lumia 640XL. No problem with flash player at all.

  6. To the author I must say that the article does not look anything like the overly critical windows phone articles. So good job that way.
    However, like many others I too feel that the app gap is hyped much more than it really is. Yes, there are quite a few apps which are not there on windows phone OS and low (almost negligible) user base is the root cause. however, I don’t think it is due to the platform changes. Windows 7 to 8 was a quantum leap but, from a developer’s perspective, not much would change from 8.1 to 10 unless they want to make use new features like windows hello etc. That is the case with Android and iOS too as most app upgrades of apps are to include new features. Lastly, windows 10 is a giant step. Universal apps are truly universal in windows OS unlike anything that Android or iOS offer.
    But still the gap is there and to many users of Android of iOS it is the biggest, if not the only, reason not to switch to windows,
    The benefits of windows phone however outweigh the disadvantages by a long shot. The fact that you just don’t feel any lag even with entry level phones, having the best cameras for respective price range, fluid OS with no hanging or heating issues, by far the best battery life for given mah ratings etc. are much more important in my opinion than not having some apps.

  7. Microsoft is much capable and is providing many good apps and games. Now that Windows 10 has arrived many developers are trying to either build apps or upgrade their existing apps for windows. Offcourse there are many Android users who are jealous of Windows and just they want to promote Android. Google itself which has gain popularity from the Desktop Windows is now not been honest to Windows Phone by not providing many google apps. Any how the truth is that Apple was the Past, Android the Present and Windows is the Future in the Mobile Market.

  8. I find it hysterical that not only does Windows Phone suck, and that it’s made no advancements over Symbian that it murdered, it is an app-driven OS after the 8.1 downgrade, never mind 10, which makes everything worse, and more de-coupled than 8.0 was. Hubs made Windows Phone not need apps, and after they were gutted, they needed apps instead. They don’t have the apps they need to not have powerful hubs, and therefore it’s actually a dead platform.

    The reason I don’t think BlackBerry 10 is dead, is because it has a messaging hub, which was by far, the most important hub/thing on Windows Phone 8, and gutted by 8.1.

  9. I think its less about the number of apps than about general “excitement.” WP has not had a flashy new flagship phone for what, a year and half? Now they have the upcoming 950 and 950XL, but MS is botching the release by not providing clear availability dates and by apparently limiting release to only AT&T and the Microsoft store in the USA. And, there’s no word on AT&T actually having the 905XL, they may only carry the 950. These are huge mistakes on the part of MS if they are serious at all about mobile market share. This has led a number of die-hard WP fans to believe that MS is abandoning WP.

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