Microsoft developer directions: One Windows core doesn't mean one store

Microsoft developer directions: One Windows core doesn't mean one store

Summary: Does a common Windows core across phone, PC/tablet and entertainment console mean there also will be a single store across these platforms? Not yet, if ever.


During this week's Build 2013 developer conference, many of the nearly 6,000 attendees were hoping and expecting to hear more about Microsoft's unified Windows platform vision.


But next-to-nothing new was said -- at least in sessions I've attended and heard others discuss in the past two days -- about the progress Microsoft is making toward "write once and run on any Windows" vision.

Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelism Chief Steve Guggenheimer teased the keynote crowd a bit today by advising developers who wanted to get a head start in building apps for Xbox One to cut their teeth by building Windows 8 apps. This wasn't a startling revelation, given that we already know that the Xbox One includes a Windows core that includes many of the same components that the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 cores include.

In an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit on June 27, Guggenheimer shared a few more tidbits about Microsoft's cross-Windows dev-platform vision.

When asked whether there might be a possibility of any "framework for a 'universal app' structure, Guggenheimer reconfirmed Microsoft is working to improve code reuse across the different Windows platforms.

(His exact response was: "Well, it is always a little different on different devices because of the size & input differences, but we are doing a lot of work to make it as easy as possible to reuse code and layout when building across multiple devices.")

Guggenheimer declined to provide any new guidance as to when and whether there will ever be a unified store for Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox.

"Nothing to disclose on Stores today," he told another questioner on Reddit.

Later in the Reddit session, Guggenheimer was asked again whether there ever will be just one store across phone, tablet/PC and Xbox.

"We have some good learning from the client/server model on where the common core is effective and where it is not. We want to continue to take that learning to the devices/services model," he replied. (I kind of take that as a no, but maybe I'm reading into things.)

Guggenheimer provided some hints on other developer topics during today's Reddit.

On how Microsoft plans to encourage development of higher quality apps, Guggenheimer said "One of the things we are doing on our team is looking at a combination of downloads and ratings as a way to give feedback to our partners and developers. We're also amping up our technical team and resources to help developers improve their apps.

On when and whether Microsoft plans to bring WinJS support to Windows Phone, he answered "We hear ya :)"

On the topic of why Microsoft isn't fully supporting XNA as a gaming-development framework in the future, Guggenheimer reiterated that Microsoft's work to create more commonalities across Windows variants requires "some tradeoffs."

"XNA was a great tool but we've been going towards a common core we need some common frameworks and programming models. Using Unity allows devs to target more devices with the frameworks," he said.

(Microsoft and Unity announced a new partnership at Build today.)

Microsoft officials have said that in order to publish apps in the Xbox Store, developers will have to be Microsoft Studios publishing partners. But when chided for not announcing details of plans for supporting indie gamers on Xbox One this week, Guggenheimer deflected that criticsm.

He said: "The intent was not to announce a program for indies, but we did want to give developers confidence that from a technology perspective that we are really building towards a common core without announcing any new or specific programs for the Xbox One."

And as to why there was basically nothing at Build this week about what's coming on the Windows Phone development/OS front, Guggenheimer simply said "there was nothing new to disclose on Windows Phone today," and "stay tuned for more to come." As I've noted previously, the timing of Build this year was not great for Windows Phone, as Windows Phone 8 GDR3 isn't expected until fall 2013, and Windows Phone Blue not until early 2014, according to sources.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Software Development, Windows 8, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Well that's disappointing...

    Well that's disappointing.
    • But what if Windows RT ran on the Phones...

      If Microsoft started installing Windows RT on their phones... while the UI still looked & acted mostly like the Windows Phone OS we know & love now... would unification come sooner?

      I'm not a developer so I don't know...
      • I doubt it, because it would violate so many laws.

        The Microsoft Windows RT is locked in and you can NOT move it to another user or device, it also reports back to Microsoft each month (check the full EULA). Whereas there is legislation to allow you to move your phone between services and even make changes that violate the Win RT EULA if you could get it to accept them.
        Deadly Ernest
        • It wouldn't violate any laws, so stop with the FUD

          He asked instead of WP8 on hardware, install WindowsRT on hardware - absolutely nothing wrong or illegal at that.

          All phone OS report back to their respective companies each month (Read ALL the EULA's) so not sure what that was about.

          And that one sentence was a kicker - "The Microsoft Windows RT is locked in and you can NOT move it to another user"

          You can easily move RT to anyone you want, as their is no connection between RT and carriers (Surface doesn't even support that natively), anymore then there is a connection between Windows Phone and the carriers. And Windows has always been locked to the hardware in the sense that "one copy = one device".

          To answer cybersaurusrex's question correctly, you should have just said "I'm not sure, but any hurdles would be solely technical in nature, as their is nothing illegal about coding RT to run on any hardware available.
          William Farrel
  • Wow

    Thanks for simply summarizing the AMA.
  • Microsoft developer directions: One Windows core doesn't mean one store

    Key word is yet. This is one of the goals Microsoft is going for.
  • Microsoft Fragmentation Is Insoluble

    Why did Microsoft fragment the Windows platform in the first place? The more they put off the job of unifying them, the harder it gets.
    • Reminds me of the iOS fragmentation...

      There's the iPad app, and the iPhone app.

      You either get one, the other, or you can pay for both.

      Honestly though, I like Android's application scaling.

      That's one thing it's really good at.
      • There's less fragmentation there than you'd think

        you can get the iPhone app on an iPad... if you want it.

        No Apple's main fragmentation is directly analogous to Microsoft's.... Nothing you buy for the Mac App Store is available in the iOS app store, and vice versa. You have to write the app twice.

        In both cases, it feels counter-intuitive to a customer... but unavoidable, as PCs are mainly Intel and mobile devices mainly ARM.
      • It learned after every thing else

        Android learned after IOS and windows previous OSes.
    • This isn't childs play...

      "Yet" is the key word. It takes time and patience to execute a move like this. If anyone can do it it's Microsoft. All of their peeps need to chillax and switch to decaf until more information becomes available.
      • "But next-to-nothing new was said"

        "yet" = vaporware

        With nothing new to say, they might as well have called the damm thing off...
      • Re: It takes time and patience to execute a move like this

        It only took them about 3 years to come up with the mistakes known as "Windows Phone" and "Windows RT", how long do you think it will take to fix them?
        • basic rule of life is it takes five times as long to fix a mistake as

          it does to make it in the first place. That should give you an idea of how long.
          Deadly Ernest
    • Why did Apple and Google do the same?

      you figured they would learn from MS's mistake.
      William Farrel
  • Build 2013 has convinced me to move onto Android Development though

    Its been pretty sad Build 2013 so far for Indie Developers. This has just confirmed our fears that Microsoft has drifted away from us. So long Developers Developers, Developers.

    No common development, different developer subscriptions, Nothing much to offer .NET (Silverlight and XNA devleopers) still poor MS Bing Advertising eCPM rates, Windows 8.1 only works in US-English .... The mess just goes on. Unity is really not comparable to XNA as a Indoie Game Development environment. Its limited to being basically a 1st /3rd person Shooter game engine, not a Framework.

    XMarine and MonoGame Get It - C# and XNA is a Great Platform for cross platform Indie Games development. My XNA Games can run on Android, Sony, iOS, and yes WP8 and W8.

    Still asking $99 for Windows Phobe Devleoper subscriptions, and another $25 ? for Windows 8 developers. Are they taking the P*ss. My mind is made up, its not worth renewing WP developers at that price, without any support to my XNA games. What si obvious is that the Indie Game Market on Windows Phone has stalled, and I can see the number of WP8 Games FALLING, if Microsoft withdraw all our Apps, after not renewing our Developr Subscriptions. Who Cares about Windows 8 Markets now !

    XMarine are the future, Microsoft have dumped on us. Build 2013 has failed to convince .NET, XNA and Silverlight to ever trust in Microsoft platform again.

    The really sad part is that Microsoft does has lot and lots of little pockets of good technology, but is uanable to bundle them ALL together into a robust C#, Managed code like the ,NET framework. They have lost the unified framework. All their bright little ideas are disseminated all over the place, which is why Developers re confused, low Apps rates and so makes it difficulet for OEMs and Market the MS product base.
    • Don't know...

      "Still asking $99 for Windows Phone Developer subscriptions, and another $25 ? for Windows 8 developers. Are they taking the P*ss. My mind is made up, its not worth renewing WP developers at that price, without any support to my XNA games."

      Well if you build an app that means anything these prices are not a problem at all. They are actually a good way to minimize the amount of crap in stores and also to channel the income to the developers who make the apps that matters most. I mean, it has always been important to Microsoft that their platforms are as commercial as possible. That is a win-win-win situation to MS, partners and consumers.

      And what comes to the XNA... well DX11 in Windows 8 is quite much a mix of "old" DX and XNA, making it more like a XNA+. Some things got removed but to me it was more confusing to move from older DX versions to Windows 8 API DX than moving from XNA to it. Especially it was a shocker to me that method names have changed so much. I have ended up reading much XNA docs to find out how things work.
      • Not convinced

        So, on your basis, why not put the Windows 8 Development subscription to $99 as well ? As a Indie weekend non proffesional developer I agree I don't make really great games, but they are as fun as many in the Market. With 1.3 Million Free Downloads proves some worth.

        The loss of Developer interest in Windows Phone, as demonstrated by the dramatice drop in Marketplace submissions tailing off over the last 9 months, will just enforce all those commentators views that there are 'just too few' Apps in WP8/W8 marketplace.

        Great, when we can code DX11 in managed C#, avoid memory management issues, and exploit lots of useful XNA like libraries I will be convinced. So far the samples all look ugly and awkward to develop in, as a throw back to pre XNA days. When MonoGame are offering XNA onto Android and all other platforms, its an obvious choice for us Indie developers. C++/DirectX is just not fun or productive devleopment to my mind.

        We are just walking away from this platform. I will leave this platform to all you deep C++/ Direct X level Geeks.
      • Apple and Google can get away with that sort of thing

        I'm not sure Microsoft can, not for Phone 8 at any rate. It has badly alienated developers, and needs to increase the numbers of developers who are willing to write for its mobile platform. Yes, they're getting the app counts up there... but they're not good apps.
        • A lot of those windoze phone apps

          Are nothing but Trojan horses, ready to unleash nothing.