Universal apps are dead, long live Windows Apps

Kareem Anderson

Universal apps are dead. Long live Windows Apps

As many continue to champion Microsoft’s changing vision, some of us have not forgotten the dead pockets of innovation, marketing, and naming the company has left in its wake. The company’s more recent in-memoriam credits include the RT platform, most of the original Xbox One and Windows teams, and naming conventions like SkyDrive, Metro, and Modern.

It looks like we can play yet another swan song for the short-lived term, “universal apps”.  As with most news about Microsoft or Windows this month, we can refer to sessions at WinHEC for more details. During the Developing for Windows 10, Hardware Platform session held by Microsoft distinguished engineer, Don Box, the news of the new naming convention was further clarified. 

No longer will reviewers, bloggers, or tech writers stumble over the terms Metro, Modern or even universal, when describing the sparse app situation on Windows. Moving forward, Microsoft and developers will refer to the apps as simply “Windows Apps”. Don gives us a little more information on the matter.

“In Windows 10, we have this notion of a universal app platform,” Don said. “And the apps that target it are called Windows apps. Sometimes we say universal apps, but we call them Windows apps. A Windows app can run on every device family: phone, PCs, Xbox, IoT, and other devices like HoloLens.”

Even though Don offered a murky answer at best, there is documentation that attempts to clear up the issue.

Universal apps are dead. Long live Windows Apps
In Windows 10 there will be both Windows apps and Windows desktop applications. “On PCs, we continue to support the two decades-plus worth of Windows desktop applications for running them on PCs,” Don said. “So sometimes we will talk about a Windows app [what we have been calling universal apps to date] and Windows desktop apps. Windows apps run on all devices. Windows desktop apps are PC only.”

So there it is. Microsoft’s official, unofficial, internal, pre-existing double-speak definition of the new apps in Windows. Some may applaud Microsoft’s hard work in clearing up the matter but in reality, most app companies and consumers will continue to call them “apps” plain and simple