RIP Windows Phone: Microsoft moves away from mobile hardware

9 Oct 2017

Microsoft’s mobile hardware dream is over. Image: Roman Pyshchyk / Shutterstock

Windows Phone, we hardly knew ye.

Microsoft has finally admitted that the Windows Phone is toast, after a long period of speculation about the future of mobile hardware at the company.

The head of Windows 10, Joe Belfiore, posted on his personal Twitter account that there are no plans to make any more handsets or new versions of Windows software specifically for mobile.

An admission from Microsoft

There will still be patches and bug fixes issued, of course, as ongoing cybersecurity threats mean users still need to be protected.

Windows Phone began six years ago as an alternative to Android and iOS but, as The Verge reported in January 2016, the mobile hardware sales from Microsoft were less than stellar with only 4.5m Lumia phones sold in that quarter compared to 10.5m in the same time period the year before.

As VentureBeat reported, Microsoft laid off almost 2,000 employees in 2016, which mostly affected its mobile hardware division in Finland. Most of these workers had previously been employed by Nokia, which Microsoft had acquired back in 2014.

App developers less than enthusiastic about the Windows Phone

According to Belfiore, app developers were reluctant to back the Windows 10 mobile platform, with app retention being a major issue for the team. He said that Microsoft tried “very hard” to bring developers into Windows 10 Mobile, offering cash incentives or even writing apps on behalf of developers.

It seems at the moment that Microsoft is focusing a lot of its energy on the new Edge browser it’s developing for iOS and Android. The idea now is to improve connectivity between handsets and PCs, as has been seen with the launch of Microsoft’s Android Launcher, which allows a great deal of interoperability between your phone and Windows PC.

Windows phone image via Roman Pyshchyk/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects