Sunday 5 April 2015

Microsoft says open source Windows is "definitely possible"

Microsoft says open source Windows is "definitely possible"

Windows has been around for a long time, it's made a lot of money, and Microsoft, quite naturally, has been very protective of it. But the times, they are a-changin', and Microsoft may one day have to change with them in ways that once would have been unimaginable.

Windows is still the big dog in the OS marketplace, but alternatives—particularly the open source Linux—are making inroads that can't be ignored. Open source titles are biting into other Microsoft-dominated markets as well; this particular report is being typed on on the open source (and remarkably good) OpenOffice. The shift is significant enough that Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Microsoft Azure, acknowledged at the three-day ChefConf 2015 that "it's definitely possible" that Microsoft could one day make Windows open source.

"It's a new Microsoft," he said. "Every conversation you can imagine about what should we do with our software—open versus not-open versus services—has happened."
Having conversations is a long way from actively planning to make the change, but simply acknowledging that somebody, somewhere, has discussed the possibility is a big change in attitude: As Facebook engineer Phil Dibowitz told Wired, "This wouldn't have happened two years ago." And let us not forget that owners of Windows 7 and 8 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge for up to a year after its release; that too would have been unthinkable in the past (and pretty much right up to the moment that Microsoft announced it.)
So, open source Windows: Entirely hypothetical, but not off the table. Think it's possible someday?
Open Source Means More Than Free:

The future of tech lies not with for-pay software of the kind traditionally offered by Microsoft. Linux has moved into the massive computing centers that power the internet, and open source OSes such as Google Android are running so many of the world’s mobile phones, tablets, and other devices. The future, even for Microsoft, lies in selling other stuff, including cloud computing services such Microsoft Azure and all sorts of other apps and services that run atop the world’s operating systems.
In open sourcing Windows, Microsoft could expand the use of its OS. Open code is easier to test, easier to shape, easier to build into something else. And if the OS is more widely used, that means a bigger audience for the Microsoft applications that run on Windows.
Earlier this year, Microsoft open sourced a tool called .NET, a popular way of building online applications, and the hope is that this will expand the tool’s reach. Outside coders are even working to move the tool onto Linux machines and Apple Macs. In the end, Russinovich says, this will help Microsoft sell other stuff. “It’s an enabling technology that can get people started on other Microsoft solutions,” he says of .NET. “It lifts them up and makes them available for our other offerings, where otherwise they might not be. If they’re using Linux technologies that we can’t play with, they can’t be a customer of ours.”
What’s more, if Microsoft open sources Windows, the operating system can still be a money maker in its own right. Windows code would be freely available, but so many of the world’s businesses would still need a vendor who can package, distribute, and update the OS. That’s the way Linux works. And Android too. Open source is a complicated thing. It’s not as simple as free versus not-free. When code is open sourced, shared with the world at large, the results are myriad.

Will Microsoft Corporation Put Android Apps On Windows 10 Phones?

Will Microsoft Corporation Put Android Apps On Windows 10 Phones?

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is reportedly experimenting with emulating Android apps in Windows 10, according to a recent Neowin Report which cites "multiple sources from inside the company."

If Microsoft lets Windows 10 devices run Android apps, it might help Windows Phone close the "app gap" with iOS and Android. The combined Windows/Windows Phone Store has over 500,000 apps, while Apple's App Store and Google Play both host over 1.4 million apps. However, offering Android apps on Windows 10 would also undermine Microsoft's own ecosystem of "universal apps," which can be run across smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Xbox One consoles.
Let's take a look at the logic behind emulating Android apps on Windows 10 phones, and why it could be a bad move.

Microsoft's gone down this path before:
This isn't the first time Microsoft has experimented with Android to sell smartphones. For example, the short-lived Nokia X was an Android device, cloaked in a Windows Phone-style launcher, which could install select Android apps through its own app store. The idea was that Microsoft could pocket a cut of Android app sales, users would get a wider selection of apps, and the Windows Phone skin would promote sales of low-end Windows Phones.

Yet shortly after its release, the Nokia X was rooted, which allowed users to install Google's first-party services -- such as Search, Maps, and the Play Store. As a result, the rooted devices ironically tethered users to Google's ecosystem. As a result, Microsoft discontinued devises and ended its brief courtship of Android apps. In its place, Microsoft doubled down on low-end Lumia devices like the lumia 430, which only costs $70 unlocked.

Therefore, if Microsoft decides to emulate Android apps in Windows 10, it must prevent users from installing Google's first party apps. But if Microsoft launches an Android store within Windows 10, it might discourage developers from creating "native" Windows apps, since Android apps would reach a wider audience of Windows and Android users.

Android apps didn't help BlackBerry:
Adding Android compatibility to Windows 10 also doesn't make sense when we consider that BlackBerry tried the same thing by letting users "sideload" Android apps to BB10. This gave BlackBerry owners backdoor access to a large number of Android apps.
Since the sideloading process was cumbersome compared to a one-click installation, BlackBerry signed a deal with Amazon .last June to launch its Android-based Appstore on BB10. That partnership added nearly 300,000 apps to BlackBerry World's 130,000 apps.
As a result, BB10 users had three ways to install apps: sideloading, Amazon Appstore, and BlackBerry World. But BlackBerry couldn't monetize the first two sources. The only apps which generated any revenue for BlackBerry were its native BlackBerry World ones.
BlackBerry wasn't trying to generate app revenue by tethering itself to Android. It was trying to reclaim lost market share, but that plan didn't pan out, either. Since BB10 launched in Jan. 2013, BlackBerry's global smartphone market share has plunged from 3% to less than 1% today, according to IDC and Gartner.


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