Tom Warren, The Verge’s ace Microsoft reporter with a startling headline:
Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is seriously considering allowing Android apps to run on both Windows and Windows Phone. While planning is ongoing and it’s still early, we’re told that some inside Microsoft favor the idea of simply enabling Android apps inside its Windows and Windows Phone Stores, while others believe it could lead to the death of the Windows platform altogether. The mixed (and strong) feelings internally highlight that Microsoft will need to be careful with any radical move.
Radical is understating it a bit.
Linux/Android applications running natively on Microsoft Windows desktops and/or Windows 8 phones, not because some nerd went and accomplished a great feat of software engineering, but because Microsoft needs it?!?
That’s not just crazy. It’s almost heretical.
It’s a thought so wild that the phrase paradigm shift doesn’t do it justice. No, this is more like magnetic south switching to magnetic north. This is lions lying down with the lambs territory people, except in this case, Microsoft was the Lion, *nix the Lamb, and the Lion, as is its nature, bullied the lamb around for a few decades, but the Lamb just ate the Lion and is now resting, a satisfied look on its face.
This is end-is-near-grab-the-sandwich-board-meet-you-on-the-corner news.
It’s like waking up one day, and holy crap, the dollar has crashed, and in order to maintain financial stability in the western hemisphere, Mexico bails the US out, air-dropping truck loads of pesos from C-130s all over America, rescuing us from ruin.
Step back 10-12 years when you were young and crazy, undersexed and over-curious with no money and I bet you experimented with Linux. Remember those days? For me it was about the VAX machine…what was it, what did it do and why was my university email address so strange, and why did the guys in charge of that refrigerator-sized box all have beards, suspenders, and grumpy dispositions?
So I did what any geek did in 2000-2001. I downloaded/bought a copy of SUSE OpenLinux or RH or whatever distro was in favor that month, used partition magic to divide up my 16GB drive, and booted into some flavor of Linux, feeling like a stud. Penguins man! Linux on the Desktop! It’s for real this time!
“Hey this isn’t that bad,” You thought. “Most stuff works here pretty good. I could get used to this. Now let me see if I can get that WINE thing to work.”
Four hours of cursing & violent threats to your PC later, you resign yourself to defeat, realizing you’ll never get Win32 to work inside this strange linux thing, you’re just not smart enough. You did the forum crawl thing and the Linux nerds tried to help but you don’t have any concept of what sudo is and apt-get isn’t around yet, only RPMs and it’s all so chaotic.
Besides, at the end of the day, you have Photoshop available and all they can bring out is the GMP, you think smugly.
So you reboot and join your friends in a campus CounterStrike party in Windows 98. And you go on to develop your moderately-successful career as an IT “knowledge worker” supporting Microsoft products until you die, hopefully sometime after Microsoft Office 2042 is released, but you never know.
Except it’s not, and now, 13 years later, it’s us Windows guys -and Microsoft itself!- who are trying to figure out how to run Android applications on Windows cause that’s where all the exciting stuff is happening and it’s where all the cool kids are hanging out.
And here I thought Paul Thurott’s devastating takedown of Windows 8 development was the biggest Windows story this week.