It would come as no surprise to our readers to hear that prominent Microsoft pundit Paul Thurrott is predicting the virtual end of Universal Windows Platform apps.
The platform was initially designed to unify the development of Windows Phone and Windows 10 applications and lost most momentum with the death of Windows Phone.
Microsoft has been spending the last 4 years, since the 2015 deprecation of Windows Phone, finding ways to support the Windows Store without developers needing to use UWP, first via Centennial apps, which allowed developers to use their win32 code unchanged, and then more recently via PWA (Progressive Web Applications), which allowed them to use their web code unchanged.
Microsoft’s recent efforts have been to allow developers to access UWP APIs such as geolocation, Windows AI, machine learning and more, directly from previously deprecated platforms such as s .NET, Windows Presentation Foundation, and WinForms.
According to Thurrott, it is now “game over” for UWP, with developers seeing no reason to support a platform which only addresses a portion of Windows users and which would require them to recode their existing applications.
The weakness of UWP will also affect the Store, and we now see users being able to install PWA applications and browser extensions directly from the web, and Microsoft killing Store initiatives such as books and music.
As far as I can see, the future of native applications on Windows has very little to do with the Microsoft Store. However, I do not expect the store to disappear. But I expect that UWP will disappear, especially on the Windows desktop. And that the Microsoft Store remains irrelevant to most users and most developers.
Thurrott’s full article is behind a paywall here.