R.I.P Windows Phone

No matter how low the Windows Phone market share was, it did have its own fair share of enthusiasts and supporters. In a technological world where the look and feel and Android and iOS is fairly static, Windows Phone had offered a brand new perspective to UI and design. Not everyone took to the unconventional design, but those who did, stayed loyal for a long time.

The problem was never with the OS, but how Microsoft handled the entire lifetime of the mobile version of the operating system. Except the early years, they never really seemed entirely committed to the platform and in turn affected its growth and market permeation. With little or no information and then offering half-hearted interest in the device, the product was eventually headed to inevitable doom.

Windows Phone was Microsoft's replacement for Windows Mobile on the smartphone device range. For a change Windows Phone looked at targeting the commercial audience too instead of simply being limited to the Enterprise like its predecessor. Windows Phone featured a brand new user interface derived from the Metro design language. 

It was launched in October 2010 with the first version Windows Phone 7, with the next major upgrade Windows Phone 8.1 releasing in April 2014. Windows Phone was then replaced with Windows 10 Mobile in 2015; which unified the application ecosystem, along with the expansion of its scope to small-screen tablets.

But the one thing that always plagued the Windows mobile environment was lack of application developer interest. It turned out to be a chicken and egg problem for Microsoft which they could never solve. The market share stayed low due to lack of apps and application developers did not come on-board due to the low market share. Microsoft did try a last ditched effort with Project Astoria to port Android apps to Windows, but eventually discontinued it in favor of their own Unified Windows Platform (UWP), to support building apps that ran on any device running Windows 10. The continuous dilly-dallying made the platform too volatile to invest in.

At the time of Windows 10 Mobile release, they lost further market share as they bailed out on a lot of devices after doing a long running public testing phase. This left a bitter taste with the users and were completely disappointed after been shown hope of getting the much awaited upgrade. They felt like they had the rug pulled from under them at the very last step. The final nail in the coffin though was the acquisition and liquidation of Nokia. While the intentions were noble (to stop the monopoly and bring in other hardware players), they ended up very fewer variants and options available in the market to even stand a chance at recovery.

With market shares so low, no developer or company wanted to invest costly resources to stay on the platform anymore and slowly and steadily began the exodus of apps and users away from Windows Phone. Finally in 2017, through a series of tweets, Microsoft admitted the inevitable

We have tried VERY HARD to incent app devs. Paid money.. wrote apps 4 them.. but the volume of users is too low for most companies to invest.  https://t.co/ePsySxR3LB  - Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) October 8, 2017

While they agreed to support existing devices, no new features were intended to be built

Of course we'll continue to support the platform.. bug fixes, security updates, etc. But building new features/hw aren't the focus. https://t.co/0CH9TZdIFu  - Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) October 8, 2017

Belfiore also admitted he switched to Android, just like Bill Gates and will concentrate on building apps for Android and iOS instead. Microsoft finally faced the reality that people did not want Windows on phones anymore. They instead been working on building the Office Suite, Edge Browser and Microsoft Launcher for Android instead. They could not break into the hardware space and have gone back to their forte i.e. software.

After using Windows Phone for close to 5 years, it was really sad to see it go down like this (even though we have accepted the inevitable long time back). Now, the only question remaining is…. What do we do with the windows phone still lying at home?

Goodbye Windows Phone… Rest In Peace… So Long and Thanks for all the Fish !!


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