Microsoft Finally Signals End Of Windows Phone

Microsoft has finally admitted there is no recovery from its ignominious retreat from the smartphone sector, after it advised Windows 10 Mobile diehards to switch to either Android or iOS handsets.

The Windows Phone platform of course has been dead as a dodo for a while now, but fans had been hoping that Redmond would be more committed to its successor (Windows 10 Mobile).

But alas CEO Satya Nadella remains a cloud man first and foremost, and the firm has now announced it is ending support for Windows 10 Mobile this year.

Support end

Microsoft broke the news via a ‘End of Support’ webpage, first spotted by the Thurrott website.

It revealed that official support for Windows 10 Mobile platform will end from 10 December 2019.

“As of December 10, 2019, Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free,” said Redmond.

“Third parties or paid support programs may provide ongoing support, but it is important to recognise that Microsoft support will not publicly provide updates or patches for Windows 10 Mobile,” it added.

That said, after support ends in December 2019, Microsoft said that automatic or manual creation of new device backups for settings and some applications will continue for 3 months, ending 10 March 2020.

“Some services including photo uploads and restoring a device from an existing device backup may continue to work for up to another 12 months from end of support,” it added.

But the news is pretty clear, Windows 10 Mobile users really have to start thinking about switching to Android or iOS handsets this year.

Microsoft co founder Bill Gates for example “switched” to an Android smartphone a couple of years ago.

Burning bridges

In reality Microsoft’s decision has been a long time coming.

Microsoft sold its feature phone business to Foxconn subsidiary FIH and HMD Global for $350 million (£242m) back in 2016.

HMD Global then brought back Nokia branded smartphones to the market in 2017.

Microsoft’s commitment to mobile devices had been questioned ever since it acquired Nokia’s smartphone business for £4.6 billion in 2013, as its ‘Lumia’ phones were the flagship range for Redmond’s Windows Phone operating system.

But Satya Nadella rapidly lost faith in the mobile business after a number of ill-received Windows Phone devices, although Redmond had repeatedly maintained (until now) that it was still committed to Windows 10 on mobile devices.

Microsoft is rumoured to working on new ‘Surface’ smartphones, but these seem to be aimed at the business and not the consumer segment, and the question is whether anyone will care and will they be prepared to buy into any Microsoft handset ecosystem in the years ahead?

Quiz: Do you know all about Microsoft Windows Phone?

Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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