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Windows 11 could run Android apps from Google’s Play Store in future - if Google wants it to, Microsoft says

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Android users could see their favourite apps from Google’s Play Store in Windows 11 because “all stores [and] all apps are welcome on Microsoft Store”, chief product officer for Windows Panos Panay told The Independent.

Microsoft launched its new operating system this week, bringing with it a new user interface and start menu, better integration with Xbox games, and other features. One of the most notable additions was the inclusion of some Android apps through Amazon’s AppStore, using Intel Bridge technology to bring them to the PC operating system.

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Amazon’s AppStore, which is used on products such as its Fire tablets, is built on the open-source version of Android, and as such doesn’t have access to services like Gmail or Google Maps.

"I would love all apps on Windows, no question”, Mr Panay told The Independent, when asked about the decision to partner with Amazon and whether the company would have preferred to use the Google Play Store, “but right now we’re talking about Amazon. At the end of the day, they’re a partner and we’ve come together to bring the right apps to our customers today.”

Mr Panay continued: “All stores [and] all apps are welcome on Microsoft Store … that was the goal. Windows is open … the Store is open”.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed similar opinions in an interview with The Verge, saying that the Amazon AppStore is "a good place for us to start, and I hope that more developers even look at Amazon Appstore as a way to go reach more users … if this works, I would hope that even Google will take a look at it, right? If they feel like this is a way that they can increase the usage of Android apps, we’ll welcome any other app store.

“And, of course, there are parts of the world where already there are many substitutes to the Android app store, which [are] even bigger than the Google app store. And so we’ll see what happens in that dynamic as well."

Android apps on desktop computers had previously come through the Your Phone app, which also allows users to send messages and quickly share pictures between Android devices and computers running the Windows operating system.

“With Your Phone apps, you can instantly access the Android apps installed on your mobile device right on your PC”, Windows wrote in a blog post when the feature was introduced. “Using a Wi-Fi connection, Apps allows you to browse, play, order, chat, and more – all while using your PC’s larger screen and keyboard. You can add your Android apps as favorites on your PC, pin them to your Start menu and taskbar, and open them in separate windows to use side-by-side with apps on your PC.”

Google’s Chromebooks also let users install and use Android apps, and have done so since 2014 – with access to all of the apps in the Google Play Store supported by 2016. It is unclear, however, whether Google would to offer that functionality to Microsoft; the search giant did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

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