Windows 10 is present on close to 700 million PCs, 10% of the world’s population, which in theory should mean a growing and even thriving market for Microsoft Store developers.
Unlike other stores, however, Microsoft has never released any information on how much money they have paid out to developers, and have become increasingly reluctant to share how many applications they have in the Store.
We, therefore, turned to a developer of a somewhat high profile and unique app in the Microsoft Store, to get an insider perspective, and as expected things are not pretty.
Webrox is a French multi-platform developer who started in 2011, initially on iOS and Android, and the also expanding to Windows Phone and the Microsoft Store. Their flagship app is Tubecast, an app which amongst other features lets Windows users send video wirelessly to a Google Chromecast dongle. The app has had more than 1 million downloads in the Store, and has formed the basis of other apps such as Spoticast, Tubecast VR, Video 360, LanDrive and more, who all offer unique features not normally available to Windows users.
We asked the CEO, Stéphane Graziano about their performance given the changing marketplace for apps, expecting some growth in line with the growth of the Windows 10 platform.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed, with Stéphane noting “there is absolutely no adoption for the Windows Store, even with the user growth, because nobody care.”
Stéphane feels Windows is simply not an app platform anymore, noting “when you start your computer, you are going to the web and use File Explorer. Optionally if you are a worker or student you could use Office, but you would never go to Windows Store, why would you go there ?”
Windows is, of course, strong in specific areas such as gaming, but for that users have other sources of apps such as Steam. And when it comes to performing specific utility tasks, Store apps tend to be less powerful than the ones which can be freely downloaded from the web.
He confirmed the common refrain that Microsoft has changed their developer technology too rapidly for developers to keep up, and that the Store’s only source of success was the captive Windows Phone customers, who have now mostly departed the platform.
With BUILD 2018 starting in only 2 days, Stéphane notes that when Microsoft says “opportunity“, it is a sign that the market is “very, very low” and it is notable that the majority of BUILD will focus on Microsoft’s growth areas, the Cloud, with even Windows taking a back seat.
So there’s no chance the Windows Store works, the good news is Satya get it since a while so MS will not lose so much money, that’s what a CEO is supposed to do.
See Stéphane’s email in full below:
MSPU: What is commercial performance like? Has sales increased in line with the growth of W10, or as you say it remains relatively flat, possibly due to the death of Windows Phone?
Stéphane : Honestly it’s a disaster,
When you hear the “opportunity” word in a MS conference, it means the market is very very very low. There is absolutely no adoption for the Windows Store, even with the user growth, because nobody care. When you start your computer, you are going to the web and use file Explorer.
Optionnaly if you are a worker or student you could use Office, but you would never go to Windows Store, why would you go there ? For Games ?
– Gamers are on Steam
– Kids play with console or iPad!
But what about tools people used before ? With the Windows Store apps are sandboxed and common tools can’t work so there’s no need…
To finish, add the big amount of bugs in the Windows Store (update process hang, errors 0x8007XXXX, purchases not synchonized, wsreset…come on !)
Windows Store only had its little viability on Windows Mobile and it’s dead (in fact there’s still a WP8.1 relatively big market in India/Vietnam/Brazil but nobody care).
Even if MS is a big company, there’s no money/market on Desktop and tech is changing every 6 months, nobody can follow these updates (only press and fans!). It’s sad because there’s a lot of fans worldwide but not enough to build a real&solid market for business.
So there’s no chance the Windows Store works, the good news is Satya get it since a while so MS will not loose so much money, that’s what a CEO is supposed to do.
In the same time, we are feeling lucky because our company lived “great days” of Windows Phone and I think we changed something in the ecosystem… we brought the casting feature to its top and the 360° videos for everybody, and we are really proud of the work we did.
Everybody is leaving the boat today, even the press (don’t you?) and developers are not highlighted anymore which is a very bad situation : now the main press subject is to destruct Microsoft because they failed. Ok they failed, we know, what’s next ?
If you want to use this mail to write an article, I grant my permission only if you publish it completely.