Microsoft announced last week that Windows 11 users will be able to install Android apps from the Amazon Appstore on their PCs. Now, a Microsoft employee has said that the operating system will also be able to run side-loading applications, with the aim of giving Windows 11 users as many options as possible.
Android is an open operating system that allows its users to install applications, which are delivered as Android Package (APK) files, from various sources. Platforms like the Amazon Appstore are quite popular, but many developers only publish their apps on the Google Play Store. The fear was that Windows 11’s Android app support would be compromised by limiting itself to the Amazon Appstore, as that platform lacks some of the most popular Android software.
Distinguished Microsoft engineer Miguel de Icaza responded to these concerns on Twitter. Icaza simply replied “Yes” to a Twitter user asking if Windows 11 would run APK files obtained outside of the Amazon Appstore. Then, in response to another user who called the Amazon Appstore “the Diet Coke of App Stores”, he mentionned “Then bring your own APK.” The message was clear: Microsoft’s partnership with Amazon would not restrict Windows 11 to specific Android apps.
This approach should be familiar to Windows users. Microsoft has its own app distribution platform in the Microsoft Store, but it’s by no means the only source of Windows software. People are free to install new programs through alternative markets such as Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG; they can also simply download an executable file directly from a developer’s website. The Microsoft Store is one option, but it’s not the only option.