Are the Stars Aligning for Microsoft + Google? (Premium)

While I've mourned Terry Myerson's exit from Microsoft, it may be the best thing that's ever happened to Windows 10. And this is especially true if you care about using Google Chrome or Android too.

I'm not here to throw Terry under a bus: As I wrote this past Spring, he saved Windows from the stupid decisions foisted on this platform by his maniacal predecessor. And he returned Windows 10 to a desktop-centric design that directly benefited the vast majority of its users.

But Terry was also under a lot of pressure to make Windows 10 conform to Microsoft's broader "intelligent cloud, intelligent edge" strategy. And to monetize it differently than in the past. As part of those requirements, he took Windows 10 down a number of debatable paths---the Universal Windows Platform, Windows 10 S/S mode, Windows 10 on ARM, Windows as a Service, and so on---many of which failed terribly.

Worse, he took a hard-line stance on many of these initiatives. He killed an effort to bring Android apps to Windows 10 because "it worked too well," I was told, and because it would make UWP superfluous. Which it is anyway: The very notion of what a Store app has changed a lot in the three years, as I'll discuss in a moment.

But Terry's worst decision, perhaps, and this was likewise made to artificially prop up Microsoft's own offerings, was to keep Google Chrome---literally the number one Windows 10 application---out of the Microsoft Store.

I heard from multiple sources---and, to be fair, from Terry himself---that he would never back down on this one: Chrome could not bring its own rendering engine to the Microsoft Store because of an arbitrary policy requiring Store apps to use the Microsoft Edge rendering engine instead.

The public rationale for this was that Edge's rendering engine was more secure, provided better battery life, and would result in a more reliable apps platform overall. But the real reason was anti-competitive, obviously.

But you know what? Terry is gone. And now things can change. Actually, they are changing already.


This year, Microsoft has really increased its investment in Android, despite the fact that more of its own employees use an iPhone than an Android handset. At this past week's consumer event, Microsoft discussed its Android software and services as much as it did its software and services for Windows. In fact, the two are increasingly intertwined.

You're probably familiar with Microsoft Launcher. But you don't have to take over your home screen to find good examples of Windows 10/Android integration. Today, Microsoft's Your Phone Companion is the number one most trending app in the Google Play Store. Windows 10's Cloud Clipboard feature is coming to Android. Microsoft Edge is there, of course. And so on.

This is all excellent, and the list of integrations is growing. But what many Windows 10 users are looking for is a reciprocal availability of Google apps and services on their PC. Google C...

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