The End of Apps (Premium)


At Build 2019 this week, Microsoft pushed its vision for “people-centric” computing, where the industry transitions from being focused on individual apps---Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the like---to being focused on people. In many ways, the software giant has been working towards this goal for years, if not decades. It started with Microsoft Office, which evolved from a basic bundling of related applications to become an integrated solution in which functionality from one application could bubble up in another as the user created then-new compound documents.

Few remember this, but Windows 95 attempted to end the app-centricity of personal computing by offering a document-centric user interface in which the user could think “new document” instead of “I need to create a document, so now I need to remember which app I use for that type of document.” That we still struggle with this same issue today, in particular on mobile platforms---“I need to share a picture with my wife, so now I need to remember which app I will use, and where it is on this multi-screen grid of icons”---is unfortunate and even a bit sad.

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