Less than 48 hours before the feverously anticipated Windows 10 Devices event on Tuesday, rumors have been circulating the internet suggesting that Google of all companies may present its own apps for the Windows 10 ecosystem at the event. This move, if true, is quite surprising given the historically antagonistic relationship between the two technology giants.
Perhaps the most prominent example of the storied feud between the two is the Android patent dispute. Other examples include Google blocking Microsoft’s perhaps rather invasive first party Windows Phone YouTube app, or Microsoft threatening Google for potential antitrust behavior. Even Google getting rid of Exchange ActiveSync support for its Gmail service.
And yet, there are plenty of signs things are changing. As we reported this week, Microsoft and Google have finally agreed to drop all lawsuits between each other, agreeing to cooperate for the benefit of the consumer. “Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers,” both companies said in a joint statement.
Microsoft is putting its apps on every platform. The company is even developing apps for iOS and Android that has not yet been developed for its own platforms, such as Send. Microsoft is working to get Google-developed VP9 codec into the Edge browser. Both companies, alongside several others in the industry, are working together to create royalty free video formats for the future.
If this rumor is true, that Google is going to present apps for Windows 10, what does this mean for Microsoft’s future? I’m of the opinion that Google doing such is great for Microsoft’s future.
One of the most common criticisms against Microsoft’s mobile platform is the lack of quality apps for its modern/store/metro/universal/touch-centric ecosystem. This creates a big chicken and egg dilemma where app developers have no incentive to develop for the Windows Store because there aren’t enough customers, and no customer wants to buy into the Windows ecosystem because “there are no apps.”
Google’s refusal to participate in the Windows system was a sign that the company believed not participating did not hurt its position in the mobile industry. In fact, refusing to do so might have even hurt Microsoft’s competitive ability.
Google changing its tune is pivotal because it suggests Google can no longer safely ignore the Windows ecosystem. It would be a sign to the industry that Microsoft’s platform is viable, especially given its rapid adoption rate and expanded Steam usage. Which would invite other developers to follow-suit.
It could perhaps even damage Google’s position. If one of the major reasons for why Windows Phone was shunned was the lack of strong support for Google services, Google presenting at the event removes one of the major obstacles to Windows 10 Mobile adoption. Microsoft’s ecosystem also has a competitive edges that Google doesn’t: the Xbox gaming platform, and virtually every legacy desktop application in existence. Adobe, in it’s own way, is also populating the Microsoft platform, with its support for touch-based versions of its full heavyweight creative applications like Photoshop and Illustrator.
Microsoft, in recent years, has gone from a company trying to extinguish the competition, to a company trying to make as many friends as possible. The Surface team is sponsoring the Adobe MAX conference. Microsoft presented its Office offering for the iPad Pro, as well as partnering with Apple in the enterprise. Microsoft is open sourcing several of its most prized projects, and is now willing to make peace with Google.
Some vocal loyalists have panned Microsoft for catering to the whims of other platforms over its own. If, and it’s admittedly a really big “if”, Google is actually putting its foot into Microsoft’s door, this may be a sign that Nadella’s strategic leadership is really paying off. I honestly see no downside to having Google’s support in Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Perhaps what goes around, comes around.
Editor’s note: This rumor originates from a random Arabic site, which has no proven track record at the time of this post. However, given the nature of recent events between Google and Microsoft, this rumor may have some validity to it — you be the judge of that. We’ll just have to wait until October 6th to find out. In the meantime, discuss in the comments below if you think this is possible and the impact it may create.