If the recent patent truce between Microsoft and Google didn’t freeze hell enough, perhaps this recent one might. Just hours before Microsoft’s October event, word got out that Google, who isn’t exactly buddies with Redmond, will be bringing its apps to Windows 10. And no, they don’t mean via a web browser. This would seem uncharacteristic of Google, who has so far resisted making such a move. But if true, it could usher in an unprecedented, but perhaps also uneasy, period of cooperation between the world’s largest platform makers: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
Google and Microsoft have never been the best of friends in the platform turf wars. Microsoft has repeatedly sued Google or its Android partners for patent infringement. In addition to counter lawsuits, Google has practically retaliated by not supporting Microsoft’s native Windows app platforms. And when Microsoft tried to get around that through a YouTube app of its own, Google successfully blocked it. In a nutshell, anyone who wants to use Google’s apps and services on Windows will have to do so through a web browser.
The winds of change, however, are blowing, and it is coming from Microsoft. The software giant has started to embrace, some might say invade, mobile platforms other than its own. It has been steadily staking a claim on Android and even appeared in an Apple event to advertise its Office suite. Not it has agreed with Google to drop their mutual patent lawsuits. Perhaps that agreement includes Google developing Windows 10 apps as well.
A Windows 10 version of Google’s web apps might at first not sound like a big deal, especially for desktop users who can access Google’s services in a browser. But any Windows 10 app that Google would make would most likely be based on the Universal Windows App platform, meaning it would also work on Windows 10 Mobile, and maybe even on an Xbox One. It could be one of the things that WIndows 10 Mobile needs to make it a lot more enticing to users, which, in turn, could drive up developer interest in the long run.