It seems that the still unconfirmed Windows 10 Cloud might not be so bad after all. Well, it still depends on how the Windows Store app narrative plays out but at least there’s hope. It recently came to light that the locked down version of Windows 10 will still allow the installation of “regular” win32 apps but with one important catch. Said app should be made available via the Windows app store. This piece of good news might actually mean more to Microsoft than would-be users.
Windows 10 Cloud is shaping up to be the weird offspring of Windows 10 and Windows RT, with some mixed traits of Chrome OS thrown in. It is seen to be Redmond’s response to the growing threat of Google’s Chrome OS in the education and enterprise markets. As such, it seems to be offering a more constrained Windows 10 environment, where users are a bit more limited in what they can tweak or the apps they can install.
In a way, it’s like Windows RT all over again but, at the same time, a bit more hopeful. Windows RT’s app limitations were partly technical. There just weren’t enough ARM-based software to complement the virtually non-existent apps on the Windows app store back then. Windows 10 Cloud, despite the name, is a more traditional platform, running on an x86 machine. Technically, there is no reason why it can’t run traditional desktop apps, except for the fact that Microsoft says so.
According to some Windows 10 app developers, Windows 10 Cloud actually does run win32 apps, but they have to be installed via the Windows Store. This practically means developers have to, at the very least, use Microsoft’s convert tool to dress up their win32 apps as UWP apps. It also means going through Microsoft’s app approval process.
This does seem like a sort of compromise between still supporting what Microsoft dubs as “legacy” win32 software while also preserving the security of a Windows 10 Cloud system. There are still very few such “UWP win32” apps on the Store, but that could grow in the days to come. Microsoft seems to be laying the foundations that will discriminate against such regular apps, with a popup, disabled by default, warning users of the risks when trying to install software from outside the Windows Store.