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Farewell, Windows Subsystem for Android(WSA)

WSA store

Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) is a feature that allows users to run Android apps on Windows 11, providing a seamless experience similar to running native Windows apps, while also expanding the ecosystem significantly.

It was an exciting news when WSA was publicly announced in June 2021 , and first released in October of the same year. Just less than 3 years later, WSA is running to the end of life.

Microsoft is ending support for WSA.

The Amazon Appstore on Windows and all applications and games dependent on WSA will no longer be supported beginning March 5, 2025.

Customers that have installed the Amazon Appstore or Android apps prior to March 5, 2024, will continue to have access to those apps through the deprecation date of March 5, 2025. 

Windows Subsystem for Android™️ | Microsoft Learn

WSA used to be the key motivation of many users to upgrade to Windows 11. No one could have imagined that the gap between the ending and expectations would be so huge. But we can try to deduce why it was born and why it’s so short-lived.

Why Microsoft Developed WSA

To figure out why Microsoft developed WSA, we need to briefly understand the history.

Over the past decade, Apple ushered in the mobile Internet era with the iPhone running iOS, and Google occupied the largest mobile system market with Android.

Microsoft, which has reaped the dividends in the PC era, also wants a piece of the pie. But Giant’s turnaround was difficult, and its investment in mobile systems failed.

Nokia Lumia Phone

Microsoft couldn’t abandon its PC business, which is its most important foundation. Therefore it tried to build a universal system running in different hardware, delivering seamless AIO experience across platforms like phone, tablet, Xbox, etc. However, even now, it’s not an easy job.

After tasting the bitter fruits of failure, Microsoft finally realized that the success of a system cannot rely solely on its own investment, but requires the support of the application ecosystem.

Therefore, it began to please developers, embrace the open source community, and develop excellent tools such as VSCode, Windows Terminal, and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Microsoft began working to expand the number of applications, allowing traditional Win32 desktop software to be converted and uploaded to Microsoft Store.

However, compared with the ecosystem of Apple and Google, this is not enough. Finally, Microsoft reached out to Android and launched Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), hoping to move a large number of applications to Windows.

The vision is very good, but it is a pity that Microsoft failed once again.

Why Microsoft “Kills” WSA

Compared with the success of the WSL, why did the WSA, which also had genius ideas, fail? Before we start exploring this question, we must first understand the direct reason why Microsoft stopped the WSA project.

Adding the Android runtime environment to an existing Windows operating system means a lot of work, and will significantly drive up costs for businesses. Money to cover these costs came from revenue generated with Amazon Appstore. However, the insufficient number of applications has led to a scarcity of users in the Amazon Appstore, so Microsoft cannot obtain enough revenue from it.

In fact, the WSA project had hidden dangers from the very beginning.

WSA does not operate independently for some reasons, as it relies on the Amazon Appstore to distribute applications. Do you know how many countries and regions support Amazon Appstore on Windows?

Only 31.

There are more than two hundred countries on the planet, and WSA only supports 31 countries and regions, not including those large markets with huge populations. It can be said that the failure of WSA is doomed.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft learned from the lack of application ecosystem and developed WSA. However, WSA failed because of the same problem. What an ironic ending.

Even so, we can also expect that things will keep changing. Will Microsoft give us another surprise based on WSA? Who knows.

A nice and careful observer. Mainly focus on News and Reviews.

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