Why no one should hold his breath over the commercial success of Microsoft's HoloLens

Microsoft HoloLens is wonderful mixed reality, head mounted, smart glasses technology. But great technology is not enough to ensure success. A framework that is optimized for developer commercial success, is not only just as important, it is more important.

Patmore Douglas 9/30/2016 1:24:00 PM

Microsoft HoloLens is a pair of mixed reality, smart glasses, mounted on a user’s head, to produce a unique video /audio information enhancing experience, for users.

HoloLens span the range of overlaying information and interactive images and video on top of the real world, to having a full virtual world experience. It is really quite remarkable.

Software applications for the technology include video games built for users to engage virtual characters and other elements, which interact with users and real world. One software application allows customers to customize predefined kitchen designs, by interactively altering the designs.



Another application allows users to interactively view a virtual aircraft engine, zooming in and out, and examining in detail, operating subsystems in the aircraft engine.


So what do I find wrong with HoloLens? It has to do with the way HoloLens applications will be sold. They will be sold through the Windows 10 app store, which has been a resounding commercial disappointment for developers. Instead of Microsoft maximizing financial success with HoloLens and its broader set of new generation apps called Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, Microsoft insists on selling HoloLens and other UWP apps, through its monopoly app store, which has been a failure since its inception. Gone are the days when Microsoft listened to its third party software developer community: Microsoft insists now on doing things its own way, whether or not it’s less than commercially effective.

Microsoft needs to provide choice, similar to the type seen on the Windows desktop platform, where developers have countless opportunities to sell their apps, and where developers aren’t subject to oppressive regulations by Microsoft. The solution doesn’t have to be completely open ended like what you see with Windows desktop. Microsoft could make available app stores as a service, so that third parties and developers could return to the days, when they had countless avenues to sell their apps, and have next to complete freedom doing so. Microsoft is using the same essential approach to selling HoloLens apps, as it has used to sell Windows store apps, and failed. Microsoft is seriously expecting different results, this time around.