Will Windows 10 bring revival to its mobile platform?July 29, 2015 No Comments
Featured article by Nic Grange, Retriever Communications
With the release of Windows 10 comes another opportunity for Microsoft to align its direction for mobile to better serve developers and IT departments. Together with a subtle name change to Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft is looking to draw a line in the sand on its failed attempt to chase Apple in the consumer market with Windows Phone.
While Microsoft has certainly lost some of its dominance with users who have opted for alternative form factors to their desktops and laptops, it has a chance to regain some of the ground since many of those users are starting to realize that the alternatives are great for consuming content but not so for content creation. This is Microsoft’s opportunity to pull back some of what it has lost, if it can encourage enterprises to use the Windows system across their office computers and mobile devices. For enterprises that already have experience with Microsoft, it may be a relatively easy choice to upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile; for companies that are new to it, Windows 10 would serve as a worthwhile investment.
One-stop shop for developers
Windows 10 Mobile development, namely the universal app approach, would serve as a useful area for developers. While certain platforms have come and gone, Microsoft has always provided very dependable developer tools, primarily with Visual Studio.
In the recently released 2015 version, users no longer have to select the specific target up front (e.g. Windows Phone), instead they can choose to build a universal app project. This will be appealing to many developers who don’t want to build completely different projects to support different Windows targets.
Beyond looking at the market share numbers, which are largely consumer focused, enterprises heavily invested in Microsoft products, as a core piece of their infrastructure, would also benefit from developing applications on the Windows platform. This includes enterprises running Windows and Office on desktops, using Microsoft’s Active Directory to manage users or adopting its SQL Server for storing data.
Easy way to develop mobile apps
Writing a mobile application that needs to connect to platforms such as Azure is always going to be easier using the Windows platform, so developers are likely to favor it.
Many enterprises have also begun adopting cloud services, such as Office 365, which leverages the Azure platform and becomes a natural extension to use more Azure services especially since the internal Active Directory is already synchronized with the Azure cloud service.
This comprehensive approach serves a dual purpose. Essentially, it allows the enterprise to use its existing user controls with mobile applications which is important for mobile as companies are starting to route their mobile traffic directly through the Internet rather than forcing users through a VPN connection into their corporate network. Additionally, it lets companies share some of the security and scalability responsibilities associated with mobile with their cloud provider, while only having to worry about securing and supporting one connection to the Azure service.
Low implementation risk
Microsoft is working hard to help transition existing apps without requiring much change and effort through the MS’ four-project initiatives (Astoria, Centennial, Islandwood and Westminster) to reconnect with companies that have drifted away as users and attract enterprises that aren’t invested in Microsoft yet. This initiative helps developers transition their Android, older Windows, iOS and Web apps. While using this approach may not be a long-term one for developers, it at least allows them to try out the platform without committing too much effort.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 platform looks like a promising enterprise-focused option that may benefit IT departments and application developers. Those who originally went with Microsoft are highly likely to come back as long as Microsoft can convince them that the majority of the hard decisions have already been made and that there will be more stability in the future. Windows 10 is a platform that should be taken seriously and application developers and IT departments may find great benefits along with a low risk in exploring its possibilities.
Nicolas is the Chief Technology Officer for Retriever Communications. A part of Retriever since 2004, Nic held several software development positions including project lead. Prior to that, he spent almost 2 years in Retriever’s UK office implementing projects for Retriever’s European customers. Nicolas holds a B.Eng. in Software Engineering from University of Technology, Sydney.
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