Microsoft's Terry Myerson confirmed onstage at Build what many of us suspected in the hours leading up to the event -- the company's going to make it easier for developers to bring Android apps into the Windows Store. To make this possible, Myers said, Windows phones "will include an Android subsystem" meant to play nice with the Java and C++ code developers have already crafted to run on a rival's operating system. Turns out, that's not the only dev-friendly coup we're seeing today: iOS developers can compile their Objective C code right from Microsoft's Visual Studio, and turn it into a full-fledged Windows 10 app. This, frankly, is huge. With one announcement, drawn out of the course of a few minutes, Microsoft may have just changed its mobile trajectory completely.
Haven't been keeping tabs on the matter? Well, today's news (particularly the iOS bit) came like a bolt from the blue this afternoon, but the situation that probably predicated it has been brewing for a while now. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform -- while distinctly charming in ways its rivals aren't -- has never been the place to go if you're looking for the newest, buzziest apps. Even Windows software maintained by social giants like Twitter don't get the same attention as their iOS and Android counterparts; Vine's video-sharing app for Windows Phone got its first update in over a year just a few weeks back. By throwing its arms open to iOS and Android developers, it's possible that Microsoft just solved that problem. And of course, since Windows 10 is built around the concept of Universal Apps, we'll start to see all that converted software running on a slew of differently sized devices down the road.
One of the weightier questions surrounding this shift in thinking is, well: What are these apps going to look like? Sure, King may have ported a version of Candy Crush Saga to Windows 10 without breaking much of a sweat, but plenty of iOS and Android apps rely on a set of specific UI flourishes, interactions and design elements that don't always jibe with Windows 10's aesthetic. We'll soon see how this whole thing shakes out, but one thing seems clear for now: Microsoft's still doing whatever it takes to court developers and this time it could really pay off.