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Netflix's new Windows 10 app embraces Microsoft's universal dream

The Verge logo The Verge 12/16/2015 Tom Warren
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Netflix is making the most of Windows 10 today. Netflix is updating its Windows Store app to embrace Microsoft's universal app platform to run the same apps across PCs, tablets, phones, and the Xbox One console. While today's initial update will be targeted at PCs and tablets running Windows 10, the same app will hit smartphones powered by Windows 10 early next year.

Netflix's new app has been rebuilt for the Windows universal app platform, and the design has been tweaked accordingly. It's not a huge departure from the existing app, but the performance and user interface has improved. Features like a bigger Live Tile and built-in Cortana support have been implemented, allowing you to search for content within Netflix by using Cortana.

More big name apps are heading to Windows 10

The new Windows 10 features will please Netflix fans, but the release underlines Microsoft's big ambitions with its platform. Microsoft has promised universal apps will be a major part of Windows 10, but we haven't seen many meaningful additions. That appears to be changing, though, and Netflix is the latest to create a universal app. Uber, Shazam, Box, and Twitter have all created new Windows 10 universal apps recently, and a Pandora app will debut later this week. More importantly, Facebook has committed to its own universal versions of Instagram and Messenger for Windows 10, due next year.

Any progress around universal apps is undoubtedly related to Microsoft's big goal of 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in the next two years. Microsoft is currently at more than 110 million machines running Windows 10. "We've been tracking pretty well," says Yusuf Mehdi, who heads up Microsoft's Windows and devices marketing efforts. "We'll have another update on that pretty soon."

It's still really early days for Windows 10 and the future of the universal app platform. Netflix is available on Windows 10 PCs and tablets today, but the phone and Xbox versions are still separate and not universal. That will change over the coming months, but it highlights the challenges of convincing developers to build these apps. "We've got a long ways to go in our Store yet to get to the scale that we want," explains Mehdi. Netflix, Uber, Shazam, Twitter, and others are a good start, but there are thousands more big apps to go until Microsoft can say universal apps are a success.

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