Microsoft's new idea to steal Android users is a good one

Microsoft's 'Switch to Windows Phone' Android app will scan a device for installed apps and suggest equivalent or alternative apps for Windows Phone.

News broke a few days ago about a mobile app coming to the Google Play Store, designed to ease the transition from Android to Windows Phone 8. The “Switch to Windows Phone” app being developed by Microsoft and its partner Quixey scans the apps installed on a device, then checks the Windows Phone App store to see if the same apps are available for WP8, and if not, it suggests similar or alternative apps. The list can then be sent to a Microsoft account for easy retrieval should the user actually make the switch to Windows Phone.

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The reaction to the app has been typical. Anytime Microsoft’s name is attached to something, the haters immediately brand it garbage and ridicule it. Some even going so far as to label the release of this app “yet another desperate move” on Microsoft’s part in the mobile space. Of course, Microsoft would prefer to not need to release tools like this one, but what is so wrong with the company wanting to show users of competing devices that, should they want to switch, Microsoft’s at least going to try to ease the transition? Make’s perfect sense to me.

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Android users can find equivalent apps for Windows Phone with just a few taps with Microsoft’s “Switch to Windows Phone” utility.

Maybe I’m getting more ornery in my old age (well, old in Internet years), but I think this is a great move. Windows Phone 8 users have largely been satisfied with the OS and their devices. If an Android user isn’t particularly thrilled with his or her device and wants to give Windows Phone 8 a shot, having a tool like the “Switch to Windows Phone” app available can be invaluable. I don’t necessarily think this app alone is going to win over many users, but it’s a good thing that the app will be there should someone what to use it.

Haters are going to hate, but ripping Microsoft for this move doesn’t make much sense in my view. I only wish Microsoft would do the same thing for iOS, but we all know Apple won’t let that happen. Shouldn’t that be bigger news than Microsoft releasing an app that ultimately does nothing but help consumers make a more informed buying decision?

Should you want to check the app out for yourself, it may not show up in the Google Play Store for a while. It didn’t show up in any results when searching from any of my HTC or Samsung devices, on either Sprint or AT&T’s network. I was able to find the app searching through the Google Play store on a PC, however, and pushed it to a Galaxy Note II. The app said 95% of my Android apps were available on Windows Phone 8 as well. I’ll let you know how true that is when I follow up on my latest experiment with Windows Phone 8 in a couple of weeks.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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