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Microsoft Rumored To Integrate Android Apps

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  • Security (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrbill1234 (715607) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:10PM (#46231023)

    If they can run Android apps with the same OS level security as iOS, and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store - they may be onto something.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      If they can run Android apps with the same OS level security as iOS, and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store - they may be onto something.

      My guess: they'll run Android apps, but you'll need an anti-virus and all the usual crap to work around Windows' normal security flaws.

      Besides which, who's going to buy a Windows tablet if they just want to run Android apps? They buy an OS to run apps, they don't buy apps to run on their OS.

      • Re:Security (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:53PM (#46231485)

        The majority of people buy the prettiest phone in the display case when they go to sign their contract. I know several people that "accidentally" got a windows phone recently and were surprised to find that all their old favorite games and such simply don't exist as far as their concerned now.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        With tablets, you don't get the option to buy a tablet, and then pick the OS that goes on there. You buy the whole package. If you want a tablet with a MicroSD slot, you can't run iOS. And, perhaps some people would like to run Windows apps, as well as Android Apps. Maybe it would be nice to have PowerShell, MS Office, and other Microsoft apps, as well as be able to play the Android versions of GTA or Minecraft. I picked the Surface over Android because I really liked the hardware, and the apps were suff
    • by Anonymous Coward
      FYI, BlackBerry already does this, including the app vetting, if the devs submit their 'droid app to BB-World.

      Going one better, the latest BB release allows install of 1Mobile and Amazon Appstores via .apk and gives access to GooglePlay via an add-on called Snap.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't the Android platform security already better than iOS? As far as I know, there have been few exploits at platform level, but more related to apps asking for excess permissions and then using them. More app vetting is probably what makes the difference between Android and Apple, although most infections seem to come from unofficial marketplaces (= pirated apps).

    • by ewhac (5844)
      Security? On a Windows platform?

      You must be new here.

    • Windows Phone obviously didn't have a high enough level of malware, so they are importing Android apps.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      If they can run Android apps with the same OS level security as iOS, and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store - they may be onto something.

      Wait, isn't this what Amazon is trying to do with it's Amazon AppStore? How's that going, I wonder?

      I see this as another attempt to EEE [1] - but that only works if the competition is weak or fragmented. Google is likely more than up to the challenge, and in fact, is likely instituting the same anticompetitive behavior that Microsoft does in the PC world (I've heard they force folks who want any Google apps to not run incompatible versions of Android or they can't run Google apps on any of their shipped se

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      If you want to run apps with the OS level security as iOS and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store... why not just get an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?

  • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:10PM (#46231027)
    So MS has 20+% of the apps that Android has, that doesn't sound horrible. How many of those Android apps are garbage? The numbers aren't the whole story, if the 200k are much better quality than most of the 1.1M the Windows phone would win. I am not saying that is the case, just saying that comparing the number of apps in a store isn't useful information.
    • So MS has 20+% of the apps that Android has, that doesn't sound horrible. How many of those Android apps are garbage? The numbers aren't the whole story, if the 200k are much better quality than most of the 1.1M the Windows phone would win. I am not saying that is the case, just saying that comparing the number of apps in a store isn't useful information.

      Right, its like Fake Steve Jobs used to say "I'd rather have the 1% market that was the cream, than 99% of the crap.".

      I find app stores annoying because there's too many copycat apps and too little info. You can't tell if its worth buying the expensive one or the free one. You can barely even screen a fraction of them when it's garden variety purpose.

      But on a different tangent, it seems like this is effectively Wine for Windows. That is the API to run android apps in windows. I love the irony.

      • I'd rather have the 99%, because, well, no matter how you cut it, I'd be making a lot more money.

        Windows devices running Android is, to my mind, the ultimate capitulation. It is a tacit admission than the Windows ecosystem is in a long term crisis.

        • I'd rather have the 99%, because, well, no matter how you cut it, I'd be making a lot more money.

          No, it does matter how you cut it. Currently Apple is making 87% of the profits in the mobile space, Samsung 30%...

          The overage is the amount those two companies are taking money not just from consumers, but how much other companies are pouring money into a black hole.

          And from a developer side the cut still matters, as you can still make a lot more income from iOS apps than Android despite there supposedly being

          • Currently Apple is making 87% of the profits in the mobile space, Samsung 30%

            Does not fempute.

            • I already said in the original message that other companies in the space are losing money. That's why the profits add up to more than 100% [appleinsider.com].

              • Re:Yes, it does (Score:5, Informative)

                by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @05:27PM (#46232479)

                That's not how it fucking works, lol. You even specified "profits" which makes even less sense. Profit is a fixed value of realized net gain. You can't have more than 100% of it, and you can't have less than 0% of it. You can't conflate Company B's LOSS with another's PROFIT to determine the MARKET's PROFIT. There's a reason we separate out PROFIT and LOSS.

                Here's an example since I'm sure you still don't get it (you'll probably REFUSE to get it since you linked to appleinsider.com ).

                Company A: $6 Profit
                Company B: $4 Profit
                Company C: $0 Profit/Loss
                Company D: $5 Loss

                Market X had a PROFIT of $10 AND a LOSS of $5 ACROSS Companies A, B, C, and D.
                You never talk about a MARKET's Profit or Loss as a whole, you talk about its REVENUE, or its Profits ACROSS those Companies which were Profitable, and losses across those which bleeding.

                Company A got 60% of the Profit, Company B got 40%.
                Company D made up 100% of the Loss.
                Company C broke even.

                You absolutely do not fucking count it as $5 Profit across the Market with Company A getting 120% of the Profit and Company B getting 80% (and Company C getting -100%).
                Profit is not a fucking vector. It is always positive. You cannot conflate Profit and Loss and flip the fucking sign.

                So why do Apple shits like to report it this way? Because they're fucking morons who read a table and don't understand what the numbers mean, or they simply want to see Apple have a larger number so they purposefully concoct bullshit like this.

                With 87% and 30%, assuming no other profitable players, you're really dealing with 74.36% and 25.64%.

                Furthermore, your link says 56% and 53%, not 87% and 30%. With 56% and 53%, you're really dealing with 51.38% and 48.62%.

              • by tsa (15680)

                Wow I knew AppleInsider was a bunch of lunatic fanboys but this is shocking.

        • by symbolset (646467) *

          It is a tacit admission than the Windows ecosystem is in a long term crisis.

          The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

      • As good at Google generally is at search, it's surprising that it's so hard to filter through the crap in the Play store. If I'm looking for a specific app, I have to use the main Google search page with "site:play.google.com." The inability to sort through the crap within the Play storefront is just baffling, considering that's basically Google's core advantage; and it really degrades what is otherwise an excellent service.
    • by symbolset (646467) *
      A lot of those Windows Phone and Windows app store apps are just a for-pay app wrapper around somebody else's public website or data API. They are worth no more than a hyperlink. Sometimes less.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I see a lot of that same thing on Android apps too. The MS app store isn't the only one that has this problem. You'll also see that a lot of "website wrappers" simply don't exist as a Windows App. For instance, there is no YouTube app for Windows 8. But if you just go to to YouTube on the browser, it works perfectly fine. There's no need for and app in the first place. A lot of the missing apps that people complain about on Windows 8.1 are completely unnecessary because the websites just work, even on the
      • by exomondo (1725132)
        A lot of the Android ones are too - not so much on iOS though, maybe they get rejected - and have you ever tried searching "fart" on the Android app store? It's fucking pages and pages and pages long, rubbish like that certainly pads it out. Not saying Windows doesn't have the same issue, maybe it does, but saying "hey it has 1.1 million apps" is a pretty pointless metric.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      As someone who owns a Surface2, I have to say the app selection is pretty good. There isn't really much that I would want to go on my Surface that I can't do on it. Sure I can't play GTA on my Surface, but there are a lot of really decent games. 200,000 apps is actually quite a decent number when you think about it. No console has ever had that many different things you could run on it, and most people think there's enough software for consoles.
  • Reverse Wine (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by GerbilSoft (761537)
    I find it rather amusing that Microsoft has to resort to implementing what's basically a reverse Wine because no one cares enough about their platform to write "native" (read: HTML5) crapps for it.
    • Its amazing just how little actual knowledge people have of the stuff they hate - you can write Windows Phone and WinRT apps in C# and .Net.

      • Perhaps, but considering MS has resorted to just creating website frontend "apps", that point is moot. http://www.theverge.com/2013/1... [theverge.com]
        • Right, because that isn't currently prevalent on either Android or iOS...

          And they haven't resorted to creating "just" those things, they've been pushing a lot of high quality stuff to both the Windows Phone and Windows App stores.

          • Not saying Android and iOS stores aren't full of crapp either, but MS is the only store "owner" to actively push worthless frontends as far as I know.
    • by exomondo (1725132)

      because no one cares enough about their platform to write "native" (read: HTML5) crapps for it.

      Native apps for it aren't HTML5, they are .Net, Windows Phone Runtime and/or Direct3D/Win32/COM (subsets) developed in C#, VB, C++/CX and/or C++.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:12PM (#46231047)

    Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's 200,000+

    Thanks for clarifying how you were speaking, or I would have no idea how to compare those two numbers!

    • by CCarrot (1562079)

      Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's 200,000+

      Thanks for clarifying how you were speaking, or I would have no idea how to compare those two numbers!

      I do not think that word means what they think it means...how is comparing two absolute numbers 'statistcally speaking'? That's not even enough data for a proper bell curve...

      Perhaps what they really meant was 'comparatively speaking'? :)

  • right, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:13PM (#46231055) Journal

    ...because, this strategy worked so very well for Blackberry.

    That said, I can't think of a reason why Microsoft should not integrate Android applications, provided the results gives some reasonable user experience. I suspect that "supporting" Android applications where the user has to put up with significant numbers of crashes and hangs, rendering errors, screen geometry issues and so forth would actually hurt the platform further.

    • It ultimately depends on how well it's done. Blackberry's compatibility layer sucks sufficiently that it was never seen as a competitor to Android. Microsoft certainly has the resources to pull it off, but I suspect they will run up against the same issue that BB did, and that is that if you make the compatibility too good, you end up simply damaging your own ecosystem and handing control of your hardware platform over to your biggest competitor.

      • Re:right, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:48PM (#46231435) Journal
        The trick with 'Android compatibility' is that it's really two different problems. One is merely engineering ('merely' in the 'may actually be quite difficult; but there are engineers that are quite smart, trying giving them money' sense) and one is strategic:

        'Android' as in the ASOP is a mixture of GPL and Apache. Exactly how many man-hours it takes to get ASOP running on your platform, or Dalvik and friends running on your non-Linux kernel is an open question, and may end up being quite a few if you want it to work well; but there is nobody to stop you, and you just need suitably skilled software people.

        Trouble is, much of the good stuff in 'Android' (and stuff that Google doesn't exactly discourage developers from using) isn't ASOP, it's Google Play Services, a set of proprietary applications, libraries, and Google-backed web servcies that can be bestowed or denied to your device at the power and mere pleasure of Team Mountain View. They tend to ignore indie ROM-cookers and two-bit pacific RIM clonemongers who quietly pirate GPS; but if a company large enough to target, or ambitious enough to try to cut deals with major carriers in markets Google cares about, tries to distribute GPS without Google's blessing, it's world-of-hurt time.

        At a greater or lesser cost in software engineers, you could get an ASOP-compatible Android compatibility layer running on QNX, NT, OSX, whatever. However, how much that helps you is increasingly limited.
        • There is also the usability issue, Windows apps are different from Android apps and this dissonance subconsciously annoys the user. Ever tried using Mac after been a Windows user for years? same thing. Think of the mouse movement you do subconsciously do when you try to resize a window, there is a big chance that what you do will not work on a Mac.

          • That is also true. I suspect that some of that could be papered over by modifying the properties of the OS-provided widget sets; but I don't even want to think about dealing with all the special cases that would arise...
        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          The trick with 'Android compatibility' is that it's really two different problems. One is merely engineering ('merely' in the 'may actually be quite difficult; but there are engineers that are quite smart, trying giving them money' sense) and one is strategic:

          'Android' as in the ASOP is a mixture of GPL and Apache. Exactly how many man-hours it takes to get ASOP running on your platform, or Dalvik and friends running on your non-Linux kernel is an open question, and may end up being quite a few if y

  • Slippery slope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlg98 (155719) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:17PM (#46231117)

    As a Windows Phone user I think this is a terrible idea. Didn't BlackBerry already try this? Did it help them? I don't think so. It is a slippery slope that only leads to irrelevance.

    The beauty of Windows Phone is that it is not like Android and iOS. Well written WP apps, which follow the Metro (I know they don't call it that anymore) design philosophy integrate beautifully into the environment. Slapping Android apps, which follow very different conventions would diminish the user experience.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Slapping Android apps, which follow very different conventions would diminish the user experience.

      Doesn't really matter, if they don't have any users. Microsoft is desperate for anything to convince people that they should buy Windows phones, rather than the competition.

      Microsoft have traditionally been a cheap crap brand, but Android already has the cheap crap end of the market. If they want to compete at the high end, they'll have to drop the Windows name, because that shouts 'cheap crap' to just about everyone on the planet who's been using it for years.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Blackberry 10 (BB10) has been able to 'side load' Android apps but not being a direct route, was troubling to some users. With the current official BB10 10.2 you can directly load Android apps. 10.2 has been rolled out by many carriers but not all just yet. My opinion to be sure, but the whole 'app gap' debacle is a freaking joke. Many of the so-called major apps BB has been missing are available in competing (and sometimes better) apps. You'd never know it thanks to all the Android and IOS fanboyism b

      • Is BB's actual Android support any better now than it was a year or two ago, because the BB Android support I saw was pretty bloody dismal.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Time was when the euronerd's rallying cry was "The beauty of Symbian is that it isn't Windows Mobile." My how things have changed.
    • by jrumney (197329)

      It is a slippery slope that only leads to irrelevance.

      Its more like a ragged safety net at the bottom of that slippery slope that you hope might save you as you near the bottom, but probably won't.

    • Didn't BlackBerry already try this? Did it help them? I don't think so.

      RIM was in demise long before BB X was released. It was never about the technology - the current BB OS is arguably the most advanced smartphone platform, with the Qt goodness of Harmattan (aborted by Elop) and the QNX platform underneath. (Android is just a bonus to make up the shortfall in verb conjugators and fart apps)

      The real problem was that blackberry's handset business has been declining due to the rise of iOS and Android and

  • So...they're basically going to do the same thing OS/2 did with Windows applications? How well did that work out for OS/2?

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      I don't think Google is dumb enough to hire Microsoft to come up with the next version of Android. That decision for O/S2 was so monumentally stupid that it had to be an inside job, like the Nokia thing.
      • by Viros (1128445)

        I was actually referring to the Windows application compatibility feature in OS/2 that caused a lot of developers to skip out on a native OS/2 version of their programs since the Windows ones "just worked" on OS/2 as well.

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @04:16PM (#46231729) Journal

          Windows 3.1 and Win32S ran well in OS/2. What killed OS/2 in the end was that they had no access to the full Win32 API being used in Windows NT, and when Chicago/Windows 95 adopted the (nearly) full Win32 API suite, developers decided Microsoft, with its vast OEM network, was going to be the winner and abandoned any notion of supporting OS/2. I remember the last floundering days of OS/2 Warp 4, when IBM put out both a browser and an MS-Works-like office suite, as well as some sort of Win32 migration layer to the OS/2 32 bit API in the hopes that they could lure developers. Sadly, even by the mid-1990s, when my involvement with IBM as a VAR ended, Word and Excel had sufficient penetration that that last ditch attempt fell on its face, and OS/2, for all its advantages was relegated to a slow death.

  • by sootman (158191)

    Glad I looked more closely at the summary before proceeding with my original thought for a comment -- I was going to link to that exact article. [stratechery.com] The key point for those who don't RTFAs:

    WHAT SHOULD MICROSOFT DO?
    Choose between devices and services. The problem with pursuing both, as Microsoft is doing, is that strategy taxes are inevitable. If you favor your devices by giving them better services, you are by definition limiting your services on competing devices. Meanwhile, by offering your services on competing devices, you are limiting the competitive advantage of your devices.

  • Hey! (Score:2, Flamebait)

    Remember, back in the day, when the last of the dinosaurs were being hunted to extinction by Cro-magnon man and Sun was still not-wholly-doomed?

    In order to mess with them, MS created the MS JRM, which was almost like the Sun JVM except not, in ways so obnoxious that the courts eventually forced them to back off.

    Now, since Dalvik is Totally Definitely Not a JVM, MS is presumably free to produce MS Dalvik (they'll probably call it 'Microsoft Mobile Platform Interoperability Foundation 2012' or something
    • by oodaloop (1229816)

      Remember, back in the day, when the last of the dinosaurs were being hunted to extinction by Cro-magnon man

      Your timeline is so incredibly off, it's not even funny. It was Australopithicus Afarensis that killed off the last dinosurs, not Cro-magnon!

    • by jrumney (197329)

      Meanwhile Android phones have already started the move away from Dalvik to ART, just as Sun had started the move to Java 2.0 around the time MS belatedly picked up Java 1.1 and got stuck there.

  • Bill, Steve and Satya sit down to plan how to take over mobile.

    Bill, "We've got to do this like I predicted 12 years ago."

    Steve, "Right. Our engineers have been working 24 hours a day on this so we can allow any app to run on our mobile. It's going to be great Microsoft Mobile Everything Everywhere."

    Satya, " .." "With all due respect Everything Everywhere is not going to work, unless you carry a PC in your pocket."

  • by Thomasje (709120) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @04:18PM (#46231763)
    I'll bet you anything this won't support native code, just like BlackBerry's Android compatibility box. Supporting native code would require running an actual Android kernel, because native code can perform system calls and all that -- it's outside of the Java sandbox.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Just like running native Windows code requires an NT kernel? Syscall translation is entirely possible. Heck, even the NT kernel doesn't "natively" run Win32 code; it gets translated into NT syscalls first. It's not only possible to write a "reverse Wine" for Linux programs, it's even been done (or at least started before!

      http://lbw.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] (Effectively dead now, with the POSIX subsystem being discontinued, but it could be revived if MS gave a damn).

    • by jrumney (197329)

      There's no Java sandbox in Android. Android uses Linux user accounts and lately SELinux for sandboxing.

  • This isn't a rumor, it's just a news article. The article is titled "Analysis: Satya Nadella must kill Windows Phone and fork Android".

    Nowhere has Microsoft given any impression that they are considering this, this is simply a writer for The Guardian thwoing out a crazy idea. From a technical and business standpoint, it's a very rough idea for Windows Phone.

    Windows Phone has been doing pretty well too recently, at least as far as market share growth and raw sales numbers are concerned. It's doing quite well

  • by jader3rd (2222716) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @04:36PM (#46231991)
    When OS/2 was struggling for market share, IBM decided that they could bring along more customers by allowing Windows programs to run on OS/2. So they put a whole lot of effort into it and the result was a disaster. The few programs that used to have an OS/2 version no longer did. The program maker didn't see a reason to make an OS/2 version if their Windows version ran on OS/2 too. And customers saw that Windows programs ran better on Windows than on OS/2, so why buy an OS/2 machine if all of the programs you want to run, run better on this cheaper Windows machine?
    • It is interesting you bring up OS/2 since it was originally a joint development effort between IBM and Microsoft. It was taking a long time to get the product out of the door and Microsoft did a fast release of a less than stable version of Windows on DOS before IBM. Microsoft later released Windows NT. What first eroded OS/2 was the price tag which was about 4 times that of Windows and Microsoft OEM licensing. In reality OS/2 had some features that were far better than Windows (non NT) at the time (li
  • Just give up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sable Drakon (831800) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @05:13PM (#46232341)
    Give it up, MS. You've lost mobile all over again. This is just another repeat of WinMo 6/6.5 and not many people are going to put up with it. So instead of bowing out when you knew you were beaten, you've proceeded to beat the dead horse and wasting more money on failed products. The fact that both you and Blackberry have been trying to get Android apps to run on your platforms is telling of a serious lack of confidense on your software. Just give up.
  • by Tom (822)

    Microsoft may soon integrate/allow Android applications into both Windows and Windows Phone."

    So why buy a windows phone to run Android apps then?

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Because you want a battery that lasts more than a day? Because you like the integration with Microsoft services like Skype (and third parties like Facebook)? Because, hardware-for-hardware, they are cheaper than Android devices (yes, really, as of a few months ago when I checked; AOSP may be free but what most people call "Android" isn't)?

  • If I was Microsoft, I would be changing the way things work for Windows Phone app development. I would allow developers to register devices with MS and be able to write and load their own apps on the device without paying any money. The fees would only apply if you wanted to release your app to the world through the marketplace.

    Make sure its not possible to use this to load pirated apps and make it difficult (i.e. gotta go to MS, register the device, install Visual Studio and the Windows Phone SDK, then loa

    • They already did the first part. The dev tools are free. You can do "developer registration" (enable sideloading on a phone) with any Microsoft (Live/Hotmail/Passport/whatever) account, even one that isn't tied to a Marketplace account. This has been the case since some time in 2013...

      They have protections against pirating apps (the downloads from the store are DRM-encrypted and can't be sideloaded) and have also restricted the number of sideloaded apps you can have at a time (actually, that restriction was

  • so were smiling each time one is sold :} or to that effect.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

    Archive for July 27th, 2011
    The Microsoft/Android war: Which patents are at stake?

    "You may already know Microsoft has forced five Android vendors to pay royalties each time they ship a device, and is suing Motorola and Barnes & Noble in cases that claim Android steals Microsoft intellectual property."

    http://ineedinfonow.wordpress.... [wordpress.com]
    Describes nine patents Motorola allegedly infringes upon.
    "Given that a deep-pocket

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