As announced two months ago, Google yesterday shut down Songza, the music service it acquired in July 2014. The Google Play Music team last year finished porting over Songza’s features, meaning the two apps had reached feature parity and so it made no sense to keep both. And yet, while Songza users on Android or iOS are simply being funneled over to Google Play Music, Windows users are being left out in the cold.
You see, there is no Google Play Music app for Windows nor Windows Phone. And Google has no plans to build one.
While Microsoft unsurprisingly doesn’t offer download or installation numbers for specific apps, the Songza apps did have thousands of users. A quick check on the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store at the time of publication showed 305 ratings and 2,392 ratings, respectively. Those numbers are naturally peanuts compared to Songza on Apple’s App Store (18,146 ratings) and Google Play Music (87,054 reviews).
And that of course is Google’s argument whenever anyone asks the company why it doesn’t build Windows Store apps: There simply aren’t enough users. Indeed, our 2015 analysis of how Apple, Google, and Microsoft used each others’ app stores makes it very clear how little Apple and Google care about the Windows Store: Apple has zero apps in Microsoft’s app store and Google has one.
Windows users naturally have decades of Win32 applications at their disposal. Apps, however, are a different story, as has been documented over and over for years during the ascension of Android and iOS. But it’s not just a quantity game: Even if the Windows Store didn’t have significantly fewer apps than its counterparts, I would argue that Google apps would do a better job filling the app gap.
Actually, let me flip that. If Google offered apps in the Windows Store, the Windows app gap would be much less of an issue.
There are many articles about how iPhone users use Google apps more than Apple apps, how Google apps are irreplaceable on iOS, and in general how Apple’s apps are no match for Google’s. It’s no secret that iPhones are often loaded with Google apps.
Here’s a huge oversimplification: Google isn’t going to budge unless Windows 10 Mobile somehow takes off, and Windows 10 Mobile isn’t going to take off without Google’s help. Yes, of course the problems that plagued Windows Phone and now plague Windows 10 Mobile amount to much more than just Google.
But Google isn’t helping the situation. As a Windows user, the worst thing that can happen to your favorite app is the developer giving up on the platform. Next in line is Google acquiring the app.