Viber, the messaging service with perhaps – among its competitors – the best messaging app for Windows 10 Mobile and PC, is pausing further development for its UWP app “until further notice.”
Viber & UWP
In 2015, Microsoft introduced its Unified Windows Platform – UWP – framework. We know the perks of being a UWP app today, but Viber was one of the first to showcase what is possible with UWP. Microsoft highlighted the Viber app with UWP’s launch.
So, the news of Viber abandoning the platform is quite disheartening, to say the least.
In a response from Viber’s support team, Trinity L., a member of the support team, states that “in order to allocate our limited company resources in the most efficient way possible, [Viber] has decided to put any updates for Windows Phone 10 and Windows 10 on hold until further notice.”
The reason behind this move is quite obvious: there are not enough users to justify the resources used in the development of a UWP app.
Viber has an excellent history of updating its apps on all platforms; the UWP Viber app received its last update in January. Unfortunately, Trinity goes on to say that “there are no releases planned in the foreseeable future.”
Windows 10 Mobile
The UWP framework is not limited to Windows 10 Mobile – that’s the beauty of it. If an app is developed for Windows 10, it can be ported to Windows 10 Mobile without much work. It can also be ported to Xbox or HoloLens.
It’s a unified platform for all Microsoft devices. However, Windows 10 on the PC has an advantage: Win32. A standard Win32 app can work on anything – Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, or 10. That’s not the case with UWP.
Therefore, it makes much more sense to develop for Win32, rather than UWP. After all, Win32 serves more users and is consistent across all Windows versions going back more than a decade. It’s simply more efficient.
Windows 10 Mobile has a miserable market share of 0.3%. Viber doesn’t have to target for Windows 10 users on Mobile, and the PC users can simply use the Win32 app. The UWP app, therefore, is a waste of resources.
The depressing image we described above won’t remain the same for long. Microsoft’s UWP framework is gaining traction, slowly, but surely.
Since the UWP framework is only available on Windows 10, the only way to make UWP more appealing is to increase the Windows 10 market share. Microsoft is working on that, and the free (somewhat forced) Windows 10 upgrades boosted that process considerably.
Once Windows 10 has a market share that can justify abandoning Win32 users and reap the benefits of UWP, we might start seeing more apps make the plunge.
Until then, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.