Windows Phone has long been dead, and now Microsoft has officially confirmed it. Although the company hasn’t gone right out and said it publicly, it has updated its support document for Windows 10 Mobile to that effect.
Microsoft confirms the end of Windows Phone
If you are among the few still using a Windows 10 phone, then Microsoft has a suggestion for you. The company is advising users to switch to either iOS or Android.
In an FAQ document, Microsoft answers several questions related to the end of support for Windows 10 Mobile. When answering the question, “What should Windows 10 Mobile customers do now?” the company suggests users buy an Android or iOS device.
“With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device,” the company says.
In other words, Windows Phone is dead. The company plans to end support for the Windows 10 Mobile platform gradually over the next couple of years. Microsoft says it won’t be offering any updates, including security updates, “non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates” for Windows 10 Mobile after Dec. 10. Devices running Windows 10 Mobile version 1703 won’t be getting support after June 11, which means Windows devices like the Lumia 640 and 640 XL, which were launched in 2015 and run on version 1703, will reach the end of support in June.
Going ahead, Microsoft will pull out other backend features as well. For instance, automatic and manual device backups will end on March 10, 2020. Services like photo uploading and restoring the device from a backup will also cease to work after that. However, third parties can still release their own updates.
Hints have come before
This is not the first time Microsoft has accepted the end of Windows 10 Mobile. In October 2017, the company said that it wouldn’t be developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile. A few months later, the New York Police Department ditched about 36,000 Windows Phones for iPhones in anticipation of the end of the Windows Phone.
It seems Microsoft has also realized that it can’t compete with others on one other front. At a recent media event, CEO Satya Nadella said the company does not see Cortana as a rival to Alexa or Google Assistant, but rather, as a supporting product for other systems.
“You should be able to use it on Google Assistant, you should be able to use it on Alexa, just like how you use our apps on Android and iOS,” the CEO said.
A disastrous end
Microsoft has a long history in the mobile market. The company had a decent presence in the market in the early part of the century, but it brought a smash hit. After the launch of the iPhone in 2007, Windows handsets lost even more ground.
In 2014 in an attempt to close the gap with Apple and Android, Microsoft acquired Nokia’s smartphone business for $7.2 billion. Instead of helping Microsoft, the ill-fated deal increased its troubles. After Nadella took the helm, Microsoft slashed jobs and wrote off $7.6 billion in 2015. A year later, the company took a $960 million impairment and restructuring hit related to the disastrous deal. Thereafter, Microsoft shifted its Windows 10 Mobile focus to the commercial market only.
Even though Microsoft’s dream of dominating the smartphone market is over, the company still enjoys a major presence on phones, thanks to Office and other apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft is also developing a streaming technology dubbed Project xCloud. The service, seen as “Netflix for games,” will allow users to play Xbox games on phones and tablets.
Microsoft is also reportedly working on foldable devices. The Verge claimed recently that the company is investing in both foldable devices and dual-screen hardware. The company will have to adapt Windows and many of its apps to work on foldable displays and devices with dual screens.
Foldable devices seem to be a growing trend in the smartphone market currently. Samsung plans to release a foldable phone soon, and many others have revealed their intentions of launching a foldable device of their own soon. If Microsoft is also planning such a device, it would have to come up with something totally unique; otherwise it may face the same fate as with its other smartphones.