[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times April 3, 2014.]
SAN FRANCISCO — While Microsoft has dominated in a world ruled by PCs, it has lagged far behind in the smartphone and tablet battles.
Part of the problem has been many developers haven’t wanted to devote resources to creating apps for platforms in distant third place behind Apple and Google.
But, in a vicious cycle, the lack of apps is likely one reason customers have stayed away from Microsoft’s tablets and smartphones.
Wednesday, the first day of Microsoft’s annual Build conference for independent developers, the company took a big step toward solving that dilemma — and toward a more cohesive, unified experience for those who use a range of Microsoft-powered devices.
Microsoft’s response came with what it calls “universal Windows apps.”
The company introduced the technology in a wide-ranging, three-hour opening keynote, during which it also introduced a digital voice technology called Cortana, an update to Windows Phone software, and an update to Windows 8.1.
The keynote also included an appearance by new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who answered pre-videotaped questions from developers.
In reply to a question about his vision for Microsoft, he said it was: “To thrive in this world of mobile first, cloud first. There’s going to be more ubiquitous computing everywhere and more ambient intelligence everywhere.”
[Continue reading the story here.]