Microsoft announced it will pull back support for devices powered by Windows 10 Mobile, its last attempt to be a major player in the smartphone platform market.
While the news is hardly surprising (the company acknowledged it was no longer a focus as far back as 2016) it does mark another unfortunate milestone on the company’s mobile journey.
From December, Microsoft will stop offering security updates; non-security hotfixes; free assisted support options; and online technical support content.
Some connected device features will be available a little longer: automatic or manual device backups for settings and some applications will continue until 10 March 2020. Other services, including photo uploads and restoring a device from an existing backup, “may” continue to work for another 12 months from end of support.
For owners of some Windows 10 Mobile devices, support will end earlier: 11 June. This depends on the version of the operating system used by their smartphone, with the final version not being available for some earlier devices.
It is perhaps a sad endictment of Microsoft’s mobile efforts that it now recommends customers “move to a supported Android or iOS device”. The company has been working to make its apps and services available for the dominant mobile platforms for years, stating its “mission statement is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more compels us to support our mobile apps on those platforms and devices”.
There is no doubt its commitment to mobile dwindled under the leadership of Satya Nadella, having gone all-in with the acquisition of the bulk of Nokia’s devices business under an earlier regime. The company also struggled to generate much support from third-party device makers, in the face of competition from the dominant platforms.
And the experience has been costly for Microsoft, in terms of cash and subsequent goodwill writedowns.