Hi, remember me? I’m Lucas, and about a year ago, I published my last article here on MSPoweruser because I made the switch to iOS.
A lot of things changed in the last year but a lot of things also stayed the same. iOS has impressed me so much that I got myself an iPhone 7 Plus, but before some of you call me an iSheep, I also got myself a Surface Pro 4. I also have been following the tech news, and since I also still have a Windows phone, which I sometimes still play around with, lying around one could say I am still quite familiar with the OS.
Now, the news about the app gap in the Windows Store is really nothing new. It has been there since Windows Phone 8.0 and while for a bit it became better, it later started to get worse again. However, now that I am using the phone with the most apps available I can tell you that from my perspective the app gap is just bad publicity, nothing more.
First of all:
Yes, there are far fewer apps available in the Windows Store than there are on iOS and Android. No, this is not good.
Yes, apps in the Windows Store lack the quality and the features their iOS and Android counterparts have. No, this is not good.
Yes, apps in the Windows Store are updated less frequently and if, then much later than their iOS and Android counterparts. No, this is not good.
It is just not as bad as it looks, though.
I do have a lot of apps on my iPhone. 134 to be exact. A lot of those apps are just games that I sometimes play and more often than that just ignore. There are some apps that I use daily and that I do use a lot. Those are apps that I do not want to miss. The rest of the apps on my iPhone I do use rarely. They might be quite useful in some situations and nice to have, so yes, it is good I have them, but I really do not use them often enough to consider them deal breakers.
In fact, even the apps that I use every day are not deal breakers because alternatives are available in the Windows Store. Some might be worse, or uglier, some might even be better (I would have to use a Windows 10 mobile device regularly to know for sure, but I do know those apps exist).
Considering all those aspects, yes, the app situation is worse on Windows than it is on other platforms. Just speaking about apps, the user experience will be not as satisfying – for me personally and for a majority of consumers. It is not a deal breaker, though. It may not be good, but it is okay or at least acceptable.
If someone wants to buy a new phone they will not buy a Windows 10 mobile device because of the apps. Then again, they shouldn’t buy an Android or iOS device because of apps. The problem with the app gap is not the app gap, but that it has been made to look much worse than it is. Apps are important (oh yes, they are!). Still, the Windows Store offers an at least acceptable user experience when it comes to them.
I think it is like that: for the average user, “no apps” is a deal breaker; and that is comprehensible. The Windows Store has apps, though, and not all of them are necessarily bad. For a good number of average users, the situation will be good enough.
I personally have other issues with Windows 10 mobile which I have addressed more than enough. I am not so sure whether those issues are “good enough” for the average user but that is not the topic here. The app gap problem consists of a lot of people thinking Windows 10 mobile has too few apps. No wonder, there have been a lot of bad news lately. Banks dropping their support, apps being removed – all that news do not shine a good light at the Windows Store, but they also overshadow the good news, the good apps, and the brilliant apps that only the Windows Store has to offer. And to be honest with you, I have not seen any Microsoft campaign addressing this issue.
There was a marketing campaign addressing the app gap perception some time ago for Windows Phone 8. Know what? That was when Windows Phone actually grew in numbers. It never reached the numbers that Microsoft would have wanted it to reach, but that was because Microsoft stopped to early (different topic, different issue). Now it is too late since Microsoft focusses on business users with its phone OS. That is a new approach that I think will be much less successful than Windows Phone once was.
There are some users that only want apps, apps and more apps. There are apps that are so important to users that they will never switch their phones to a different OS. There are, and those people make a good amount of people in the market. They do not make 99% of the market, though. With the app gap as I have described it, Microsoft would probably never have overtaken the iPhone in terms of market share, but it really could have stayed in the third place.
If the market share stays like it is now, then yes, the app gap will eventually be a bigger issue. For now, the app gap is there, but hell, it is really not nearly as bad as it sounds. It can still get better, but it can also get worse. With Microsoft’s business strategy, however, and its latest news regarding x86-programs running on ARM-processors, I do not think it will get better, but with full Windows in your pocket it might matter even less.