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Microsoft calls it quits on Windows Phone hardware and features

After years of largely fruitless effort, Joe Belfiore confirms what many had long assumed

Microsoft will no longer update features or hardware of its Windows Phone platform, with only low impact work like bug fixes and security updates on its road map.

At this point, it would be reasonable to assume that Windows Phone was already at that stage, but Microsoft has never officially commented on the matter. Over the weekend, however, the lead of Microsoft's Windows 10 team, Joe Belfiore, made the company's intentions clear on Twitter.

"Of course we'll continue to support the platform," he said in response to a customer query. However, that support will only extend to "bug fixes, security updates, etc," while "building new features/[hardware] aren't the focus."

In other tweets, Belfiore admitted that he had switched away from Windows Phone as a personal user due to lack of diversity in apps and hardware. He also said that an Android version of Microsoft's Edge browser is on his team's timeline, meaning that the company is planning to open up software previously only available on the Windows Phone platform.

Microsoft has been attempting to build Windows Phone into a substantial competitor for iOS and Android for much of this decade. In 2012, Windows Phone 8 was positioned as a destination for gaming, with mobile spin-offs of core IPs like Halo developed for the platform. In September of the following year, Microsoft reinforced its ambitions with the €5.44 billion acquisition of Nokia.

However, less than two years later Microsoft took an impairment charge of $7.6 billion related to Nokia - more than the amount it paid for the firm - as it laid off 7,800 people, the majority of whom worked in mobile. In May 2016, another 1,850 jobs were cut, with mobile again the focus of the cuts.

"We have tried very hard incent app devs," Belfiore said on Twitter, capitalising the words "very hard" for effect. "Paid money.. wrote apps [for] them.. but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest."

Belfiore ended that tweet with a sad-face emoji, but ultimately it seems that Microsoft has learned to take a broader view of its role in the mobile space. In response to another customer, Belfiore noted that, "a huge, huge majority of our Windows/Office (and Xbox) users are mixed-ecosystem. Most people have a different phone than 'PC'."

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Latest comments (3)

Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee11 days ago
Not too surprised, but I think they had an opportunity to reskin Android. That said, they could release a live tile based launcher, I know a number of people would enjoy using that interface. Along with their other apps, it would be a good way to build the mobile ecosystem.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 10th October 2017 2:45pm

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 11 days ago
The problem was never that the actual OS was bad, itís just that there was no room for a third.
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Delport Williams11 days ago
Both were industry leaders in their respective fields who failed to see the smartphone revolution coming. Isn't it ironic that they 'died in each others arms', at least in the mobile space.
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