It’s really getting interesting to see how far Microsoft is willing to go to beat the game out of Google. After its recent round at Scroogled campaign, the software giant has released an application at Google Play Store aiming to get people out of not just that store but also the whole Android operating system.
Named “Switch to Windows Phone“, the application first logs in to your Microsoft account and then scans your Android phone for all the installed applications. After showing you a percentage of apps that are matched with apps available for Windows Phone, the list of the apps is saved to your Microsoft account. You can then install a companion app on your Windows Phone that will show a list of all those apps — or alternatives, if originals don’t exist — on Windows App Store.
The idea may be clever to hijack Android users and help them find a compatible app on Windows phone, but it isn’t quite matured yet. I haven’t given it a try since I don’t have a Windows Phone, but Dieter Bohn over at The Verge has given it a try and he is dissatisfied like the people who gave it a 1-star rating on Play Store.
Dieter wrote, “Scanning was relatively quick and painless on Android — the apps says it matched 87 percent of my installed Android apps. However, once I logged into the companion app on Windows Phone (and had it crash a couple of times), I discovered that some of the “matched” apps weren’t quite exact.”
For many people, a close alternative really isn’t the solution. Most people have set up and personalized their account on an app and they wouldn’t want to switch to another app, even if that does exactly the same, because setting up another account requires a bit of work. What’s worse, the Switch to Windows Phone app on Android won’t show you a list of Windows apps that are available. You will have to be on a Windows Phone’s companion app to see the list, which is something disappointed this user named Brandon Hull who gave the Microsoft app a 1-star rating with the title, “Garbage”, on Google Play Store.
There is a reason why people don’t want to change their smartphone OS. A smartphone, after a good amount of time since the user starts using it, becomes a hugely personalized device that the user tends to keep with him all the time. Even the apps that are installed become a must-have for them. For an odd example, I like Pocket to save articles and read later. I have tons of featured articles and how-to videos saved in my Pocket. If Microsoft suggests me to use Readability, which is exactly the same as Pocket, I wouldn’t be using that because all my stuff are on Pocket.
The same goes with switching from Android to Windows Phone. If the same apps are not available, users are not going to like it.
Microsoft fails a big time on this again. First, they don’t let Android users know what are the compatible apps available on Windows Phone (which could probably make some people switch, ultimately). If someone trusts Microsoft enough with his heart, he can be very much disappointed after he makes the switch to Windows Phone only to figure out that the apps he must have on his smartphones are not yet available on Windows Phone.
What do you think about this effort from Microsoft?