Taxis suck. Waiting for taxis sucks, paying for a taxi is always more difficult than it needs to be, and actually riding in a taxi? Well, that sucks too. That’s why on-demand ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years: They’re fast, clean, and dead-simple to pay for.
At least, they are for iPhone or Android users. Neither service is available for Windows Phone, so Live-Tile-loving mobile users have been stuck with waving their hands and praying for taxis, or using mobile versions of ride-sharing websites, like chumps.
No more. Wednesday, Uber came to Windows Phone.
The Uber Windows Phone app is pretty much the iOS/Android app, but with a very slight Microsoft Metro UI makeover. You’ll be able to digitally hail and pay for rides in the same 41 countries and 150 cities—including Microsoft hometown Seattle—that Uber supports on competing platforms.
Beyond being a blessing for urban Windows Phone users, Uber’s new app is a win for Microsoft itself. While many cornerstone apps are available in the Windows Phone Store, Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem suffers from a bit of an app gap compared to the competing marketplaces for iPhones and Android devices. (Case in point: Uber competitor Lyft says “We do not support or plan to support the Windows Phone operating system.”) Notching yet another high-profile app in its belt helps Microsoft battle the perception that, sure, Windows Phone 8.1 is nice, but it doesn’t have any apps that you’d want to use.
And yes, that’s a picture of Microsoft operating system chief Terry Myerson hanging out of an Uber and waving a Windows Phone.