Windows 11: Reception and Android App Move
July 5, 2021
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by Stephen Kanyi

Microsoft just announced the release of Windows 11 and it has rocked the tech world. Following the official release on Thursday last week, investors flocked to Microsoft shares raising their value by 1%. This put their annual returns on the stock at just over 18% even surpassing the S&P 500’s 12.5%.

With a market of over 1.3 billion users on Windows 10 worldwide, it is easy to see just why investors have been so bullish about the new release.

Windows 11 product manager Panos Panay officially unveiled the software at a live-streamed event on Thursday 24th June. He promised “smaller, faster security updates – a common complaint about Windows users – and said they would happen in the background.”

Features

While the most essential features have remained more or less the same over the years, Windows 11 promises to be a significant upgrade on its predecessor.

Starting with its interface the new version has a centrally aligned ‘Start’ menu much like Apple’s Mac. It also has a list of new startup sounds and enhancements for PC Gaming and Multitasking.

Microsoft has also done away with features such as Cortana and Skype which most users would agree were just clutter.

The most notable change in Windows 11 is its ability to support Android Apps. These apps would however run apps from the Amazon Appstore and not Google Play.

Microsoft Chooses Amazon instead of Google for Android Apps

This particular feature has been a surprise to most users who would not be able to run their favourite apps from Google Play on the new version.

Why Microsoft chose Amazon instead of Google’s Play Store to run on Windows 11 is a bit of mystery. Common sense would point Microsoft to Google’s Play Store which has more apps than Amazon’s store and a lot more users. Microsoft itself did not provide any explanation for this strange move.

However, a look at the history and the economics at play between these three tech behemoths might reveal a practical reason for what seems to many an utterly bizarre move.

One clue might lie in the relationship Amazon and Microsoft have built over the years. In 2018 for instance, Microsoft bundled Amazon’s famous virtual assistant with Windows 10. Amazon returned the favour in kind by tying in Alexa with Skype support. Such has been the ‘romance’ between the two companies that it wouldn’t be a stretch to think Microsoft would favour Amazon instead of Google for its Android apps.

However, a far more compelling and dare I say economic reason is that both Amazon and Microsoft are fierce rivals of Google in various sectors.

Microsoft is now determined to crush Chrome OS which is now threatening to cut a huge chunk of Microsoft’s core PC market. These two have also battled over mobile operating systems, search engines and even voice assistants.

The Windows Phone was especially a touchy issue. Microsoft wanted a YouTube app for its Windows Phone but it was blocked by Google. Microsoft accused Google of hampering their flagship phone to give them an unfair competitive advantage.

Google on the other hand might not have been too keen on the idea of putting their Apps on Windows 11 as this would have negated one of the main advantages the Chrome OS has over Windows.

As for Amazon, competition between Amazon’s and Google’s Play Store and virtual assistants might have been enough motivation for them to offer better (lower) pricing for Windows.

All in all, however, a lot of users are glad to see some Android apps run on their PCs. And who knows, this might prove to be a successful gamble in the future for both Microsoft and Amazon.

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