Microsoft's Windows phones should be able to run Android apps, says ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer


Despite that he's no longer at the top of Microsoft, ex-CEO Steve Ballmer remains involved with the tech giant - actually, he is the largest individual investor over at Microsoft. That's why he was present at the recently-held meeting of Mircosoft shareholders and he expressed his criticism about certain practices over at the tech giant. 

According to the former head of Microsoft, it should once and for all put the kibosh on the still-existing "app gap" that Windows is suffering from by embracing Android. No, Ballmer did not have in mind Microsoft Lumia handsets running vanilla Android; he suggested that Windows for phones should be able to "run Android apps". Ballmer's claims were the result of his dissatisfaction with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's response to a question regarding the absence of some key apps for Windows 10 for phones.


However, if the latest rumors are to be believed, this might not be happening anytime soon - Microsoft's Project Astoria, which was allegedly conceived to bring Android app support to Windows 10 for phones, is reportedly on hold. Allegedly, Project Astoria suffered from technical difficulties and/or security issues, which hindered the development of the emulation tool. Interestingly though, the tool that will enable developers to port iOS apps to Windows 10 (known as Project Islandwood) is still alive and kicking.

Ballmer also had a rather extreme opinion on one of Microsoft's grander undertakings of late - the development of universal apps that should work on PCs, mobile devices, and Xbox consoles. "That won't work," the ex-CEO assumed.

Yet, the thing that aggravated Ballmer the most was most likely the fact Microsoft kept mum and did not release the profit margins for its cloud-based and hardware businesses. The ex-CEO claimed that this is a rather important metric that should have been shared before the shareholders, as it would have revealed the profitability of the company's cloud services. The reason for Ballmer's desire to get more info on the matter is the usually lower profitability of Redmond's cloud business in comparison with the software one. The ex-CEO went even further, claiming that the reported annualized revenue run rate of $20 billion by the end of 2018 is nothing more than "bullshit"“They should report the revenue, not the run rate,” Ballmer claimed.

Judging by Microsoft's market performance in 2015, which characterizes with declining revenue and lowered device sales, Steve Ballmer might have a point or two. Still, it should be noted that Redmond released its new flagship devices, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, merely weeks ago, so any sales of the duo will most likely be revealed in the months to come. What do you think about Steve Ballmer's points?

source: Bloomberg via The Verge

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42 Comments

1. NULUSIOS

Posts: 18; Member since: Jun 18, 2015

Well tomorrow, day after tomorrow, at most by Monday I will have the 950XL, but of course will not mind if the project kept on (which, however, I do not consider dead). It seems that they put it in the fridge because Android subsystem was taxing the whole device though. Or so they said. Any device being able to run another device's software is super and I like it. Proof for are my 2Tb+ in emulation stuff and the first emulator I worked was Spectrum (BASIC only) emulator in ... CBM64 (and I mean I really worked with it, I wrote a program that made pseudo-3D drawings in BASIC of Spectrum... within the Commodore). Imagine actually marketing and selling such ability (because they had the project spread only in developer circles). Mind you, what Balmer says, are just top-management games . Historical figure Balmer does not want the Indian to succeed so soon in what himself has not achieved all these years.

5. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Project Astoria, might be "dead" but if project Islandwood is successful, it's something to look forward to. Ability to port iOS apps ain't a bad thing either cause from what I understand and have used, iOS apps are on par, if not better.

8. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013

True, for most companies the iOS app comes first, followed by an Android app, and then maybe a Windows app.

27. sgodsell

Posts: 7519; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

So wrong, Microsoft themselves killed project Astoria. The reason is not because of resources or speed. The reason was quite simple. If Microsoft supported an Android runtime on Windows 10 mobile, then developers could just continue to make Android apps, which would work for not only Android devices, but Windows 10 mobile devices, BlackBerry, and Amazon as well. So why would developers make a specific Windows 10 mobile app, and then make an Android app as well. Think about it, developers would just make an Android app and it would work everywhere. So in other words Android would truly have the universal app ecosystem, and Microsofts universal apps would still only work on Windows platforms only.

2. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

it appears that Microsoft will port apps from Apple IOS before Android which is a safer action because Apple has as many or more apps as Android does and does a better job of making sure their apps are not security problems. The main reason I wont buy & use Android smart phones at all is security problems. Hackers have a lot of info on how to make Android apps that are serious security threats

4. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

iOS is more vulnerable to malwares than Android.

28. sgodsell

Posts: 7519; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Microsoft was only converting source code for iOS, where as project Astoria was a complete Android runtime, that runs actual Android apps. So Microsoft canned Astoria because developers would only target development for Android and forget about making Windows 10 mobile specific apps. This way if you make an Android app, then it would also work on Windows 10 mobile, but it will also run on Android devices as well. This is the real reason why Microsoft canned their project Astoria.

19. pankajxdx unregistered

'Hackers have a lot of info on how to make Android apps that are serious security threats' is that the dumbest thing I read today..

32. Plutonium239

Posts: 1239; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

There are plenty of apps in the google playstore that contain malware, such as dozens, if not hundreds of those thousands of flashlight or battery apps...

35. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Would like to hear more. How do you come to this conclusion? You know something that even the brightest minds in Google don't?

37. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Plutonium239, windows Phone despite its small market share are still targeted by malware. Malware are reported in Windows Store;https://blog.avast.com/2015/08/04/windows-phone-store-scam-malicious-mobile-apps-arent-unique-to-google-play/ Bottomline, educating user is still key.

42. Plutonium239

Posts: 1239; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Those apps aren't malicious, merely fraudulent.

31. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Your posting read out like one of those Apple Insider articles. If the article is balance, they would educate users rather than incite fear. http://www.forbes.com/sites/symantec/2014/07/24/android-vs-ios-which-is-more-secure/ http://www.pandasecurity.com/mediacenter/mobile-security/android-or-ios-which-operating-system-is-the-most-secure-for-mobiles/

3. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

That but did not help Microsoft grow....he hindered growth in my opinion.

6. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Sounds like a war between a current wife and an ex wife.

7. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

The catch-22 with Windows Phone is that too few consumers buy them because too few developers will make apps for the platform because too few consumers buy them. This includes anything from common games to banking apps. BlackBerry has (finally) realized this with the Priv. If Microsoft wants WP to survive, they they need to understand that it's not the platform that matters, but the available content.WP will never get that content unless they open themselves up to another source, and Android/Google Play is that source. I'd rather have a Fire Phone than a Windows Phone, because at least with the Fire I know that there's a far better chance that I can get the app or game I want.

33. Plutonium239

Posts: 1239; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

No, Microsoft has opened up the content to two other sources, IOS apps being converted directly to universal apps and universal apps being directly written...

9. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 432; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

I know i don't work at Microsoft, Im a fan and have 950 loving it. I really think he is a butt hurt ex ceo mad that he never had this idea. Since he did get rid of the start button that was a disaster.

10. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

I'm not sure how Windows Phones running Android apps is supposed to appeal to customers. I mean, as a customer if I want to run Android Apps, why wouldn't I just buy an Android phone to do so? I didn't see the point of this argument when BlackBerry brought it up, and I don't see it now with WP. It's like conceding defeat, IMO.

11. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

If the floodgates are opened to Android apk apps, any need for native apps are gone, which wouldn't provide the best long-term experience. Wouldn't be the best of Android (as it wouldn't support the wide range of handy widgets) and wouldn't be the best of Windows ('cause it wouldn't be a universal Windows app with proper support for wide-range of form-factorts). Ballmer is wrong on this one like he was on the iPhone. Perhaps this will also be a blessing to universal apps by Ballmer denouncing them.

12. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

What Microsoft needs is a bridge similar to what they have for iOS apps; convert those apps to universal apps and perhaps support widgets with this their interactive live tile concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUfMszCJSwI

13. tedkord

Posts: 17453; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

So, the guy who was wrong at every step regarding mobile and basically destroyed Microsoft's mobile standing has an idea for mobile? Better jump right on that!

14. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

950 was reviewed by GSMArena and the battery was terrible. Less than 9 hrs talk time.

34. Plutonium239

Posts: 1239; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Yes, because we all talk for 9 hours on our phone. Talk time is influenced by many factors, number of apps open in the background, screen brightness, signal strength, and what type of signal(4G vs LTE vs 3G vs 2G). Any responsible phone owner plugs their phone in at every opportunity. Running the battery all the way down is bad for the battery. All phone batteries are Lithium Ion batteries. The life of the battery is determined by the number of full cycles it has gone through, the capacity decays as the battery goes through more and more cycles. A full cycle is from 100% down to 0% and back up to 100%. You can delay the aging of your battery by plugging in where ever possible. Lets say you drop your battery down to 80%, if you can plug in, do it, top it off. Then your battery only goes through a partial cycle. Unlike NiMH batteries, lithium ion batteries do not have a memory effect, and as such there is no negative consequence of topping off frequently, it is only beneficial.

40. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

These tests are done under controlled conditions so apps wouldn't be running in the background.

15. darealist

Posts: 107; Member since: Feb 25, 2015

The apps are junks doe. Microsoft realized Angry Birds is the best game the mobile market has to offer and canceled that plan.

16. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Having the ability to run android apps is useless without actually having the play store.

18. tedkord

Posts: 17453; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not really. There are many Android app stores.

17. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2362; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

" developers ,developers,developers, developers"

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

This will always be funny even after he is dead and gone. Oh god those sweaty armpits...lol

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