Microsoft’s Universal App Platform gets a new member: Netflix

In December Microsoft announced it was bringing Netflix into the Windows Store to run on Microsoft’s universal app platform. Users will be able to run Netflix on PCs, tablets, phones, and the Xbox One console now. The initial update is focused on PCs and tablets that have Windows 10 and will hit smartphones later this year.

Netflix has rebuilt their app for the Windows universal platform to include the appropriate modifications for compatibility. The modifications don’t change it too much but it does have improved performance and user interface. A larger Live Tile and built-in support for Cortana are also new to the app which enables users to search for content within Netflix. Netflix users will be happy they can just pull up the Netflix app on their PC or tablet instead of having to go through their website when they want to watch something.

Microsoft’s Plan

While Netflix has made their changes, Microsoft plans big things with their platform. Microsoft has stated their universal apps will become a huge part of Windows 10. While Netflix is the latest to join their app family, Uber, Shazam, Box, and Twitter have also modified their apps to fit in to the Windows 10 universal platform. Facebook also plans to come up with universal versions of Messenger and Instagram for Windows 10 later this year.

Microsoft plans to ramp up progress on universal apps to 1 billion devices within the next couple of years. Microsoft currently has over 100 million machines with Windows 10. While Windows 10 is still in its early stages itself, so are universal apps. Over the next few months, Microsoft will have some challenges convincing developers to modify their apps to be compatible with the universal platform. The Universal Windows Platform offers developers with a platform where they can write an app once and run it on multiple Windows devices. Many of Microsoft’s partners have already seen the value behind this type of approach and have used the universal platform as a way to develop enhanced user experience. For APIs that are specifically tied to a certain family of devices such as smartphones, the universal platform provisions a way to use the specific functionality within an app.

Microsoft also plans development on driving scale across each type of device. It is important to understand the relationship customers have with their devices and what type of experience they expect to gain from the universal platform apps. The mobile device market has exploded in the past decade which has led to the demand for better app experiences which drives the need to extend web experiences that allow developers to reach users in new ways. Mobile experiences typically mean a different look and feel between a mobile app and website. Mobile apps were typically a scaled down version of the website with less functionality. Some of these functions were also limited by the capability of the device itself.

Another goal for the platform that Microsoft anticipates this year is to deliver a unique experience. The platform is designed to help users build new mobile experiences that are flexible in order to experience a personalized feeling to carry over across all Windows 10 devices. This will be performed through the user of Adaptive UX which enables the user interface to adapt to changes on runtime based on how the user is interacting with it. An example of this is how Netflix offers suggestions for what to watch next based on their viewing history.


Netflix has always offered a huge lineup of TV shows, movies, documentaries, and other entertainment for users. The universal app updates offer a great responsive layout for Windows. From small screens to large displays, the app will scale for optimal viewing pleasure.  Since it works with Cortana, users can search the app through speech. Users can say things like “Cortana, launch Netflix” or “Netflix, find documentaries” and other such commands for a hands-free viewing experience. Users won’t have to type or enter the name of the title they are searching for.

Users can also use Live Tiles to see what they are watching. Users can select small to large tile sizes to pin the app to the Start menu. After the app is pinned, the Netflix tile will display artwork from the Continue Watching list to allow a user to easily return to the movie or show they most recently watched.

The new design of the app will help users find the content they want quickly and easily. The updated app supports vertical scrolling through categories and horizontal scrolling for movies and shows within that category which delivers a great way to navigate through the app to find something to watch. The new version of the app is available in all countries and languages Windows 10 supports. You can visit the Netflix country list by clicking here.

To learn more about changes that Microsoft is making, check out our blog here, or follow us on Twitter here.  Want to talk to someone instead of reading? Give us a call today.

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