Windows 10 is now running on over 270 million devices. That’s arguably the most impressive number that Microsoft shared today at its Build 2016 developer conference, especially as it means the company saw 70 million devices added since January. But neither then nor now did Microsoft share any updates about the number of apps and games in the Windows Store.
Back in November 2014, the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store combined had over 500,000 apps. Then in September 2015, the company updated its Microsoft by the Numbers website with a not-so-round number: “There are 669,000 apps for phones, desktops, and tablets in the Windows Store. Hundreds more are added every day.”
Six months have passed. Microsoft’s biggest event of the year, which also happens to be a developer event, seems like a good time to share an update. Given how well Windows 10 is doing, and how often Microsoft boasts that the Windows Store is seeing more usage compared to previous Windows versions, there is likely some positive news.
The universal Windows platform (UWP) allows developers to build a single app that changes based on your device and screen size. One app can work on your Windows 10 computer, Windows 10 tablet, Windows 10 Mobile smartphone, Xbox One console, and HoloLens headset. There is potential here.
Even if only 100 apps were added every day (again, the quote above says “hundreds”), by my calculation there should be about 850,000 apps in the Windows Store right now. Maybe the number is getting quite close to 1 million, and Microsoft is simply waiting for the seven-digit figure. After all, both Apple’s App Store and Google Play passed 1.5 million in the middle of last year, so it’s possible the company wants to avoid direct comparisons.
But still, if there is good news to share around momentum, Microsoft should be doing so. Last month, Hulu launched its universal Windows app for smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Last week, Twitter adopted UWP, expanding its app to Windows 10 Mobile.
Back in October, Microsoft promised Facebook and Instagram universal apps, but five months later, we’re still waiting. The company re-emphasized today that they’re coming, along with a Facebook Messenger app, but didn’t reveal any other big titles.
The Windows Store is very behind. It may never catch up. But as we were reminded once again today, Microsoft’s app strategy is to let Windows apps run across a wide variety of devices. If there’s growth, the company needs to get developers excited by talking about it.