The Windows Phone is dead, long live the Windows Phone!
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
What does the Windows Phone and Theresa May share in common? Their exit, from the tech and political worlds, have been predicted for an age; and both have remained stubborn, clinging on for dear life, despite the obvious conclusion. Unlike the Prime Minister, the smartphone is finally bowing out after seven years on the market.
According to The Verge, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has been dead for more than a year, with the company gutting its phone business, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs, but the tech giant have finally admitted it is game over.
Joe Belfiore, former face of Windows Mobile, revealed on Twitter that Microsoft is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile. The company will continue to support the platform through bug fixes and security updates for existing users, but an update is no longer their focus. He added that Microsoft have "tried VERY HARD" to incentivise app developers, including through payment and writing the apps for them, but the "volume of users is too low for most companies to invest".
The writing on the wall had been there for a while, with even Microsoft founder Bill Gates ditching the Windows Phone and switching to Android. The billionaire admitted that he uses an Android phone "with a lot of Microsoft software". The Windows Phone failed to make an impact on the market that is so heavily dominated by Android, who have more than 80 per cent market share worldwide compared to the 0.1 per cent from Windows.
Business Insider notes that the company has been trying to distance itself from its failing smartphone business. The nicest thingsMicrosoft could say about their smartphones, they argue, was that "winding down the business made the company eligible for a big tax break". The last time Microsoft released a Windows 10 mobile phone - the Lumia 950 - was in 2015. Other companies have been jumping overboard, with HP discontinuing its Elite x3 phone — the last high-end phone running the Windows 10 Mobile operating system.
Popular apps have also been deserting the Windows Phone with China's biggest app, WeChat, with its 700 million strong user base, leaving last month. Tencent, the company behind WeChat, had voiced their irritation at "Microsoft's lack of effort in the mobile market" and had refrained from building an app on Windows 10 Mobile, Neowin reports.
The Windows Phone has been on life support for a while, with the inevitable lingering, and it seems that Microsoft has finally decided to do the merciful thing for the failing smartphone: pull the plug, at last.