Windows Phone dies today

Microsoft is killing off Windows Phone 8.1 support today, more than three years after the company first introduced the update. The end of support marks an end to the Windows Phone era, and the millions of devices still running the operating system. While most have accepted that the death of Windows Phone occurred more than a year ago, AdDuplex estimates that nearly 80 percent of all Windows-powered phones are still running Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, or Windows Phone 8.1. All of these handsets are now officially unsupported, and only 20 percent of all Windows phones are running the latest Windows 10 Mobile OS.

Windows Phone 8.1 was a big update to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system, and included the company’s Cortana digital assistant, a new notification center, UI changes, and updates to the core mobile OS. It marked one of Microsoft’s biggest efforts with its Windows Phone work, but it wasn't successful at competing with Android and iOS. 99.6 percent of all new smartphones now run Android or iOS, and Microsoft has given up producing its own Lumia-branded hardware as a result.

While Microsoft still supports Windows 10 Mobile, it’s not clear what that support will include in the future. Microsoft pushed updates to Windows Phone 8 devices, but the software giant barely included any feature updates in the recent Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update. Microsoft is adding a number of features to the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for PCs, but the company has not extended these to the mobile version in testing. Some rumors suggest that Microsoft has forked its Windows Mobile development into a “feature2” branch that will simply maintain the operating system until support ends in 2018.

Microsoft has shied away from officially killing off its phone OS efforts, but it’s been evident over the past year that the company is no longer focusing its efforts on Windows for phones. Microsoft gutted its phone business last year, resulting in thousands of job cuts. During Microsoft’s recent Build and Inspire conferences, CEO Satya Nadella dropped the company’s mantra of “mobile-first, cloud-first” in favor of a focus on what he describes as the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. This new area of focus means Microsoft is now working on multi-device scenarios and cloud-powered technologies that don’t always involve Windows. Microsoft’s new mobile strategy now appears to involve making iOS and Android devices better.

Comments

This sucks, I didn’t like windows phone but I would love to see them have enough of a market to at least iterate on windows 10 mobile. Would’ve been interesting to see them really pull through on an OS for every kind of screen.

I see them just continuing along with CShell, making it better and better. As it improves, Windows Phone 10 improves. At some point, they release a Surface device that they market themselves instead of to carriers (because what carrier would sell a Windows Phone) which ends out being just a 5-6 inch Windows 10 PC with the mobile CShell UI and cellular connectivity. At that point, I think Windows Phone will have become what it was always intended to be. I would buy that phone.

The only way I can see Windows successfully getting back into the mobile phone market in a significant way is if those future phones are nothing like the mobile phones we use today. Continuum was a nice idea, but it was too late to make a difference. Android with Google Play Services has too tight a grip on the traditional smartphone market for a company that is not Apple to have a chance.

Maybe the rumors of Windows-powered augmented reality phones will bear some fruit. That could make things interesting.

yeah, next year is totally the year of Windows phone.

yeah, next year is totally the year of Windows phone.

The level of wishful thinking among Windows Phone fans continues. I’ve heard this same "next year" nonsense ever since the first generation of WP7 phones dropped at AT&T here in the US. I admittedly bought in and had an LG Quantum and despite feeling less than impressed with the way they were managing updates and screwing people over from the transition between WP7/7.5 to WP8, I stayed and bought a damn HTC Radar on T-Mobile. Then a Lumia after that.

"It’ll get better next year!"
"We’re gaining in market share, next year we take on Apple!"
"Just wait until Windows 10 Mobile!"

Yeah…. It NEVER got better "next year". Microsoft fumbled the execution from day one and kept on fumbling year after year after year. That they managed to reach something like 10% worldwide marketshare at their peak was astonishing. Meanwhile, they ignored all of our pleas about working to resolve the app gap and developers took notice. They abandoned the platform in droves. By the time I gave up on the platform in 2015 and went back to iPhone, only two of my regularly used apps still existed.

Since 2015, there’s been a lot of "next year we’ll see the Surface Phone!" comments. Mmmhmm, riiiiight. The delusion is strong. Microsoft is done with the cellular market. They couldn’t make it work with Windows Mobile 6, they couldn’t make it work with Windows Phone 7/7.5/8/8.1, and they’re not going to suddenly make it work with Windows 10 Mobile. W10M exists solely now as a test bed project for non-x86 platforms. It’s Windows RT 2.0.

Post-edit timer reply: BTW Jesse, I know you were being sarcastic. Was just expanding on the sarcasm.

lol no, you went on a rant and realized you got played

You definitely got played, but your "rant" was spot-on.

Remember back in 08 when Munster and other analysts were all, within 5 years Windows will be the leading OS for mobile

the amount of crap they spin is next level, is a wonder thy can even face themselves in the mirror before work each morning

Agreed. Microsoft has done a particularly amazing job with their hardware design since Nadella took over, and I think it would have been interesting to see what they could have come up with phone-wise with him at the helm.

There is still time, Windows Phone was the Nokia/Ballmer era.

Meh. They ruined it when they dropped the Nokia design, phone wise. Newer models were bland. Agreed the surface lineup is gorgeous though and a Surface phone would’ve looked different than what they’ve done so far.

Doubt it. Ballmer took one look at the state of the mobile market and evidently decided that it wasn’t a battle worth fighting.

Hardware-wise, I don’t think people give Ballmer enough credit. I seriously doubt Nadella had a whole lot to do with much of it other than "that stuff you were already working on under Ballmer looks good, proceed."

After Edge just deleted all of my bookmarks after an update, I’m a bit annoyed with Microsoft this morning. I can’t even send them feedback without installing that app separately, even though all of their apps reference it. But, rest assured, I get Candy Crush forcibly installed after every major update…

I don’t feel sorry for them. They deserve their shrinking influence in the market.

I was going to make a comment about Edge’s glitchiness as well but I’m glad to see someone beat me to it.

And don’t get me started on working in IT. Everyone with windows 10 would say "___ isn’t working in Edge!" and I’d say "well don’t use it. It doesn’t support it."

I think this is the first time I ever read "everyone working with W10" and "working in Edge" in the same sentence.

It’s new so people kept trying it. Then coming to me when things wouldn’t work. Internet explorer worked just fine.

Honest question, have you ever complained about Minesweeper and Solitaire being forcibly installed in your Windows machines before?

Minesweeper and Solitaire are not the intellectual and societal cancer that is Candy Crush.

No, but they’ve always been in a folder that you don’t see unless you go looking for them. Now it’s front and center on your start menu.

That said, I’ve done several updates (including preview program updates) and never had it come back since I uninstalled it almost 2 years ago.

They continue to update it. There are some annoying new bugs, but lots of things are still improving. That said, as someone who has owned a Lumia for the last 5 years, I blame Nadella for not even trying when they had a foothold. They abandoned everything people liked about the Nokia phones and just gave up. I’m getting a new iPhone this fall. Which is sad because although the ecosystem is polished, so many things about Lumias were so much better. I’ve had wireless charging for 4 years, part of the reason I didn’t switch to iPhone sooner was because it’s hard to go back…

Nicely said. They had built up market-share, they needed another 5 years of serious investment (mostly to get the market-share higher so that Apps would become self sustaining) and they could have made it a 3 player market.

That said, the true tragedy was that Nokia’s former Microsoft exec chose Windows Phone instead of Android for their smartphone OS….Nokia could have done so much better in Android.

Yeah, well he was ex-Microsoft so of course he went that route.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑