One of the primary criticisms of Microsoft’s app strategy has been the (perceived) focus on consumers rather than enterprises, where Microsoft has long been the leader. Partners and business customers alike have been struggling with how to translate more complex business activities into the Windows 8.x app model. As a result, Microsoft today has launched Windows Apportals as a way to help business users “organize and reveal only the data and apps needed for a specific role or task.”
Apportals are essentially nested apps that were designed to help streamline multiple business activities, and reduce “app fatigue.” They can run on any Windows 8.1 device, whether desktop or touch, they are deployed through the Corpor App Store, and they leverage Active Directory to help security trim what is viewed and shared based on a user’s role. In short, anything that can run in Windows can run within an Apportal.
From Microsoft: “A Windows Apportal is a Windows 8.1 app that can integrate your entire Line of Business (LOB) stack into a single, modern, touch-based experience. The concept behind Apportals is simple – introduce the same nested folder structure common in a desktop OS to the modern mobile OS. The result is a UI experience that allows the user to drill from the Start screen (composed of Live Tiles) to another mini-Start screen (composed of Grid Tiles). And best of all, because an Apportal is built out of the OS, everything that runs on Windows runs in a Windows Apportal, including Desktop Windows 7 Applications; Modern Windows 8 Apps; and Web Applications.”
Here’s a quick video demo via Wonderful World of Marketing:
Here is a second video from the same team digging deeper into Apportal functionality:
I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about Apportals next week at the Worldwide Partner Conference (#WPC14) taking place in Washington DC, but if you’re looking for more details, here are a few more links: