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Windows Phone chief promises file manager, improved Facebook app

Mark Hachman | May 5, 2014
Microsoft's Windows Phone ecosystem appears to be at something of a crossroads: While the company is still working to add more apps to the platform, users are asking for improvements to existing apps to place them on a par with the Android and iOS versions.

Belfiore said that app development for Windows Phone was a "marathon, not a sprint." "Fundamentally, the ISVs who write these apps are making business decisions about how they can make the most money — and as WP has grown, and as MS has invested time & money in the apps, and as the platform has gotten better/stronger... more and more apps have shown up," he wrote.

Unfortunately, Microsoft only has so much say on third-party development timetables. A good example of that is Google, which has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Microsoft. (The most recent app, authored by Microsoft, is little more than a Web page.)

"We think we've developed an awesome platform with Windows Phone, and definitely look forward to welcoming Google's apps on it," Belfiore wrote. "We have these apps high on our 'want list' so it's something we've invested in (ahem, YouTube) and are absolutely willing to continue investing in."

But the other complaint, expressed by several users in the thread, was that Windows Phone was simply being left in the dust — by Microsoft. Users complained that OneNote, for example, received a major update on iOS and the Mac before Windows Phone itself.

Windows Phone: a second-class citizen?

Belfiore took issue with the accusation.

"Microsoft DOES NOT treat WP as a second class citizen! We have a very senior, well-funded team that has amazing support from our senior leadership and from other groups," he wrote.

"What does happen time to time is that teams who are working on cross platform work make prioritization decisions (or are limited by the nature of WP itself) such that features show up on other platforms first — we are a comanio [sic] about devices AND SERVICES and when you think about something like Skype it's important that they remain compelling and competitive on other platforms as well," he added.

"As a general rule, we work with teams to make sure WP users aren't lacking in benefits... and all the teams here are getting better and better at this," Belfiore said. 

Belfiore also promised that the acquisition of Nokia plus the Windows Phone "developer" program for enthusiasts would help push both new phone hardware and software refreshes out to customers more quickly. And, in the interim, Microsoft continues to work on its own enhancements, such as the work it's doing to improve Xbox Music.

"Upcoming in the [Xbox Music for Windows Phone] app: you'll see perf improvements (we hear you!), better stability, UI improvements (some of you have been asking for a "swipe" to change tracks), etc. etc," Belfiore wrote. "Do take a "months" time view of this, as there's plenty of stuff in the pipeline.

 

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