News

Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows Phone support

Microsoft has ended support of its Windows Phone.

Despite fans like chatbot Zo, Microsoft is no longer offering support for its Windows Phone.

That’s according to Engadget, which reports Windows Phones will no longer receive software updates or technical help, ending what Engadget described as a “long, sad story” in Microsoft’s history.

Windows Phone debuted in 2010, but, like Amazon Fire smartphone, it was never really able to hold its own against iOS and Android devices, which is in part because of a “so-so device lineup” and lack of features.

The saga was a seven-year window that saw it pair with the world's former number one mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, indeed the period saw it pay over $7bn for the Finnish company in 2013, only for Microsoft to part ways with the Nokia brand.

Indeed, Windows Phone reportedly had just 1% of global market share as of November 2016, prompting Microsoft to face the proverbial music. The silver lining for Microsoft is it can now focus on other more profitable lines of business, like its Surface product line.

One one-time staunch Windows Phone advocate is Duane Forrester, vice president of industry insights at Yext and former senior program manager of SEO at Microsoft and senior product manager of the Bing Webmaster Program.

As a long-time user of its operating system in mobile devices, and an open advocate for the product during his time at the company, Forrester maintained the UX is superior to the two main options available today.

“Who wouldn't like the option to resize tiles based on importance, making it easier and faster to access the data you feel is most important,” Forrester said. “This goes way beyond merely stacking items on the screen and entered deep into usability territory. You know, for those times when you're trying to access something one-handed and have to stretch a digit across a five-plus-inch screen. It may sound like a small thing, but in the real world, it's the difference between data access, and trying again after mis-tapping on the screen.”

In addition, Forrester pointed to productivity, noting that since Office is widespread in business, the integration between desktop/laptop and a mobile device makes getting things done easier.

“It's the ecosystem thing at play, though it must be acknowledged that Microsoft does have apps that work perfectly well in other OS environments,” he added.

But Forrester said even he eventually switched to an iPhone about two years ago because “I saw a step back in terms of image quality in my photos” which he said was “minor, but there at times”, and he was also lured by access to “a massive app ecosystem allowing me to do so much more on my mobile device”.

But Forrester may not be done with Windows phones yet.

“I have long thought that Windows 10 is a good mobile platform, so it'll be interesting to see if any of the rumors come true,” he said. “I've been asking myself if I'd go back, even with the new iPhone 7s and 8s around the corner. Right now, I'm not sure... as usual... I need more data to make a decision.”

Get the Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest news and insights.

Subscribe

Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is a senior reporter for The Drum, covering digital and search marketing. Based in New York, she writes about how brands use technology to connect with consumers, particularly as innovations like voice search, digital assistants and the Internet of Things change consumers’ lives forever – not to mention the data these platforms increasingly collect and the security and privacy issues therein. She is a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism. Her bucket list includes riding in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

All by Lisa