Early on, Android and iOS app makers aren't that interested in porting to Windows

Relatively low Windows Phone market share is the main reason: There's not enough there to justify the effort. But what about for one billion Windows 10 devices?
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Microsoft surprised the developer community with news last month that it would provide tools for Android and iOS app makers to easily port their software to Windows.

It's far too early to pass judgment on the long-term strategy, but in the short-term, some developers simply aren't interested according to Reuters:The media company reached out to a dozen developers and came away with an overall negative sentiment on porting apps to Windows.

That's a small sample size to be sure. However, it suggests that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do in convincing developers to help fill up the Windows Store with apps previously found on Android and iOS devices.

Of the 12 development shops Reuters spoke with, eight aren't interested in what Microsoft is selling for Windows 10. The remaining four are but it's worth noting that they already offer Windows apps.

What's holding developers back? The time and effort to port their software to Windows compared the potential payback.

Sean Orelli, an app development director with software for Citibank, the New York Post and Conde Nast, sums up that sentiment, telling Reuters that "Windows Phone will have to gain a significant share of the market before this becomes something that saves us time and/or money."

Had Orelli made his observation a few months ago or anytime in the past few years, I'd see his point. Now, however, it seems a little short-sighted to me.

With a new Universal app strategy across all Windows 10 devices, a truer evaluation of where Microsoft stands in the market is not just with handsets but also with tablets and touchscreen laptops. You could even make a case for the desktop if touch-friendly apps can be used with a mouse or touchscreen display.

Take the case of Candy Crush, which is the poster-child app for this new approach.


King, the maker of the popular -- even addictive -- game for iOS and Android, partnered with Microsoft at the company's recent developer event to showcase the new strategy. The new app also highlighted the tool set Microsoft is providing to developers to help port their mobile software; King used it to port Candy Crush from iOS to Windows.

As a result, Candy Crush won't just be available on Windows Phones around the world, but, as a Universal app, will also run on Windows computers.

And it surely won't hurt King that Candy Crush will be pre-installed with Windows 10 when Microsoft launches it later this year. That adds hundreds of millions of devices -- if not a billion by 2018, assuming Microsoft hits its self-imposed goal -- that can run the game.

If that kind of reach isn't worth the time and effort, I'm not sure what is.

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