Throughout the lifecycle of the product we call Windows, the programs or applications we run on them gone through far more naming conventions. When I started with Windows 3 back-in-the-day, we call them programs and really, up until Windows 7 that name pretty much stuck. You would occasionally see “Application” but generally we call them “Programs”. Enter in the iPhone, the App Store, the Google Play Store and yes, even the Windows Phone store and we have shrunk it all down to “Apps”. But with Windows 8, we decided to throw in some confusion for the fun of it. We have Modern Apps which run on the Start Screen in Windows 8. Then we have the Desktop Apps which run in the desktop environment. Don’t forget that we have Windows Phone apps because those are different than Windows apps – Modern or Desktop. It seems that in Windowsland, App can mean a lot of different things.
Which is why I think Microsoft has hit it squarely by settling on Windows Apps for Windows 10. It conveys the message that they have been promoting: One Windows for all devices. But it does much more than that. It avoids the confusion of what has become Universal apps today which to be honest, really aren’t that universal and clarifies to the consumer that this app works on everything simply because of its name. While the verdict is still out on how successful Windows 10 will be, I think one of the master strokes for Redmond may be in this simple but powerful name for applications.