Tencent, Microsoft link app stores in China

Intel joins in with plans for better PC-Android integration

Tencent and Microsoft have struck a deal that will see the Chinese gaming giant's Android wares available on the Microsoft Store, and playable on Windows PCs.

A Microsoft China announcement explains the deal means Windows users can install mobile apps on their PCs. It quotes Tencent veep Lin Songtao expressing his enthusiasm about the size of the PC market, and plans to help developers to ensure their products run in Microsoft's OS. A unified account system is on the cards, so that users don't have to worry about extra logins.

Stop us if you've heard this one before, because you have – remember the Android Subsystem for Windows that piped the Amazon.com app store into Windows back in 2022?

Sadly for Microsoft and Amazon, that collab was ditched a few months ago, when Microsoft ditched Android Subsystem and severed the link to Jeff Bezos's Android mart.

While it ran, it made over 50,000 mobile apps available to Windows users. The Tencent tie-up, more modestly, will offer just 1,500 or so when it launches.

Given the precedent of failure with Amazon, readers would be forgiven for thinking this new effort is doomed before it starts.

But wait, there's more! Microsoft's announcement sneaks in a mention that Intel and Tencent have worked together on an upgraded Android engine that will allow mobile apps running under Windows to take advantage of PC hardware.

It's 2024, so that also means tapping into AI capabilities found in PCs – including background tasks like smoothing video at high frame rates.

Which is just the sort of thing gamers desire.

Intel is very keen on this stuff. Speaking at the event where Microsoft and Tencent announced their tie-up, Chipzilla's vice-president and general manager for its China Software and Advanced Technology Group spoke of future collaboration "to leverage the computing power advantages of the Intel platform and the open, integrated technology framework, with the help of Intel's PC industry ecosystem chain and Tencent App Store's deep accumulation in the mobile application ecosystem, to jointly achieve a converged PC application ecosystem and use the 'core' to help enrich and better user experience."

Tencent's catalog includes some of the world's most popular and lucrative games – such as PUBG and Honor of Kings. A unified account system that lets players move between platforms has obvious appeal to both the Chinese company and to Microsoft, as it fights to ensure the PC remains relevant and welcome in China. Beijing is increasingly keen to promote and adopt local tech – at the expense of American giants. ®

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