Google is dashing the hopes of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 users who were hoping for native business apps like Gmail and Drive. That's because by Google's reckoning, there simply aren't enough users to drive demand.
Google is no stranger to the Windows platform. The company offers a Google Search app for Windows 8. When it comes to business and productivity apps, Google is being a little more selective.
Clay Bavor, director of product management for Google Apps, recently told V3 that his company is devoting its energies to its own Android mobile operating system and Apple's iOS. "We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are, but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8," he said.
Since both Android and iOS have massive user bases, it's a shrewd if unsurprising app-development strategy. Yet the search and online advertising giant signaled that it is open to the possibility of Windows apps if user counts grow.
"If that changes, we would invest there, of course," said Bavor.
Windows Notches Encouraging Gains
While it's early in the product's life cycle, signs indicate that the Windows 8 ecosystem is picking up steam.
Microsoft revealed that as of late November, 40 million Windows 8 licenses had been sold, outpacing Windows 7 according to early estimates. The tablet-friendly operating system officially went on sale on Oct. 26, and Windows Phone 8 devices debuted a few days later on Oct. 29.
A month after they hit store shelves, the software maker boasted that the Windows Store, Microsoft's curated app marketplace, had begun to take off. The Windows Store catalog had doubled since launch and developers were starting to see some revenue, with some apps crossing the $25,000 mark.
The Windows Phone 8 picture is a little murkier. Ballmer told shareholders last month that in the few weeks since the mobile operating system had gone on sale that Microsoft was "already selling four times more phones than at this time last year."
Google's reluctance to publish Gmail and Drive apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 may suit Microsoft just fine.
During a refresh of its SkyDrive apps in mid-November, the company announced that SkyDrive usage had doubled during the previous six months. SkyDrive connectors and apps are available for Windows, Windows Phone, Mac, iOS and Android.
The cloud-based storage service had experienced the surge after the company switched on the platform's file-syncing capabilities earlier this year.
"About 6 months ago, we released the first sync apps for SkyDrive making it easy to view and manage your personal SkyDrive from the File Explorer in Windows and Finder in OS X," Microsoft blogged. "We're excited to announce that since then, you have put more and more of your files into your own SkyDrive and in the last six months, you've doubled the amount of SkyDrive storage being used."