While probably not a big surprise, Microsoft has said it will no longer support Windows 10 Mobile devices starting this December. Essentially, Windows Phone is now on a year-long walk towards its death. It is a situation that has been coming for some time and all but kills Microsoft's first-party mobile business.
It was nearly two years ago in 2017 when Microsoft announced it was stopping new feature and hardware development for Windows 10 Mobile (and by extension Windows Phone). At the time the company pledged to keep supporting the platform in terms of security and software updates.
However, it always felt Microsoft was waiting for enough time to pass to properly shutter the Windows mobile experience. The company now says security updates for Windows 10 Mobile will end on Dec. 10, 2019.
“Windows 10 Mobile, version 1709 (released October 2017) is the last release of Windows 10 Mobile and Microsoft will end support on December 10, 2019,” reads a Microsoft support note that was updated this week.
The simple fact is Windows Phone never really took off and only got worse through the Windows 10 era. Microsoft's $7 billion acquisition of Nokia's Lumia brand was a disaster. CEO Satya Nadella wrote off that outlay when he took over.
“With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device.”
That's the reality of Microsoft's position in Mobile. The company is increasingly thriving as a software developer of apps for Apple and Google but struggled under its own ecosystem.
The question now is whether this kills any hopes of Microsoft returning to mobile hardware development. Is the long-rumored Surface Phone dead? Maybe, but then it is not inconceivable for Microsoft to be working on an all-new Windows-based mobile platform.
Call us skeptical.