Cross Platform Apps Keep Microsoft Competitive in the Smartphone Sector
The Windows Phone might have failed to penetrate the smartphone market, but Microsoft has found other ways to compete in this critical sector.
Microsoft has dominated the domestic desktop landscape for as long as most of us would care to remember, and has slowly but surely achieved prominence in the commercial sector too.
Yet the growing popularity of Apple’s MacBook range has shown that even the most dominant market position is not immune to erosion. Similarly, Microsoft’s spectacular failure to achieve any sort of market penetration with its ill-fated Windows Phone has demonstrated that not everything Microsoft touches necessarily turns to gold.
As far as the latter goes, Microsoft took the decision to make a dignified withdrawal, and leave the handset market to be fought over by the likes of Apple, Samsung and Sony. But just because it doesn’t sell smartphones does not mean Microsoft is prepared to ignore this lucrative and growing sector. By focusing on cross platform apps, it feels it can reap all the gains with none of the pains of trying to foist yet another handset onto an unwilling public.
The role of cross platform apps for today’s businesses
Many businesses need to focus on both internal and external customers who are using a range of mobile devices with diverse operating systems. The days when you could simply have a “mobile app” are long gone. Today, it needs to support Android, iOS, Windows and so on and so forth.
Cross platform apps are built on a bespoke implementation tool such as Xamarin, and done this way, they share approximately 75 percent of the code base across all operating systems. Clearly, this makes it quicker, simpler and cheaper for mobile app development companies to create a native app that can then be “tweaked” in the final stages for each platform.
And who owns Xamarin? That’s right, it is a subsidiary of Microsoft.
Infiltrating from within
Microsoft’s strategy is a thing of beauty. By focusing on developing its own cross-platform apps, the company is able to leverage the success of Samsung and Apple without directly joining the fray or engaging them in battle. Yet it is slowly but surely building up a brand following all of its own in the Google Play store.
Many apps are already being offered on devices, preloaded right alongside the Google apps. The strategy is little short of marketing genius. So what are these apps that are so popular?
Top Microsoft apps
Microsoft is best known for its suite of Office apps for desktop, and so it is little surprise that Microsoft Office Mobile Suite is seen as a flagship app, featuring mobile versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The free version allows you to carry out basic functions, and is more than a match for the equivalent Google product, but for advanced features, users need to subscribe to Office 365.
Another app that has captured the imagination is Launcher. Essentially, this user interface app draws together all the day-to-day apps that users need, such as contacts, gallery and calendar, which are increasingly being used by businesses to manage workflows.
These are just two examples of the growing range of apps that Microsoft has introduced to bring it to the forefront of smartphone usage, whatever type of device you might choose.