Microsoft announced this week that they are officially ending support for Windows Phone 8.1, the most popular version of its mobile operating system. The end of support for Windows Phone 8.1 means that Microsoft will not be pushing any sort of updates that include security patches and bug fixes. Going forward, people who stick around with a handset running 8.1 or older version will be left on their own, unless their handset is eligible for a software update.
Support for older versions like Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.x ended in January, 2016 and October, 2014 respectively.
Starting in 2010, Microsoft previous attempt at restarting its mobile OS failed to gain much traction and is now all but a distant memory. Lack of crucial features and popular third-party apps were the main issue Windows Phone struggled with.The demise of Windows Phone follows several popular apps including WhatsApp ditching several versions of Microsoft’s mobile operating system over the past two years. Note-taking app Evernote removed its app from the Windows Phone Store earlier this month.
Even as thousands of users – if not more – will continue to use Windows 10 Mobile, it has become evidently clear that Microsoft has formally given up Windows Phone, formerly known as Windows Mobile, a nearly decade-old effort to fight Android and iOS and make a dent in the mobile market. With Microsoft quitting on Windows Phone, BlackBerry giving up BBOS, Mozilla killing Firefox OS, nobody is really putting up a fight to break Android and iOS’ duopoly, which is not great news for consumers.
What now? Microsoft has been moving away from Windows Phone towards Windows 10 Mobile, which is essentially an extension of its desktop platform that’s geared towards letting users take their files and apps with them – but it’s no real rival to Android or iOS. The company has been working on numerous cloud-based and cross-platform apps and services lately, so Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t seem like much of a priority anymore.