back to article Microsoft takes another whack at killing off Windows Phone 8.x

Microsoft gave the still-twitching corpse of Windows Phone another kick yesterday as it confirmed plans to stop app updates from July 2019. The former mobile OS slinger said that anyone determined enough to add a new app for Windows Phone 8.x to the Microsoft Store would be out of luck from 31 October 2018. From 1 July 2019, …

  1. Flak

    RIP

    No tears shed!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got a Windows Phone

    Does this mean after October 31 my dining room table will start wobbling again?

  3. David Austin

    Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

    I've actually lost count of the number of mobile phone platforms they've ungracefully killed with no upgrade path.

    Do they honestly expect us to buy the ever-rumoured Surface Phones at this point, when evidence points to them getting bored and killing the platform 18 months later? You've had your (several) shots at the phone market; just give up and move on.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Holmes

      Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

      Microsoft failing in mobile is one of the textbook examples students will be taught from now on - alongside Ratner etc.

      It's also wierd to think they busted Google for every Android handset sold on the patents, but now get ass reamed by them for everything they sell on their app store https://goo.gl/NhV35i, and dance to any tune Google play if they want any kind of presence on 80% of the worlds mobile platform.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

        Sad really. When I bought a Lumia 520, the big argument was whether Blackberry or Microsoft would be the 3rd OS for phones. Turns out the answer was neither and we're stuck with just Apple and Google (plus assorted minor bits).

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

      "Do they honestly expect us to buy the ever-rumoured Surface Phones at this point, when evidence points to them getting bored and killing the platform 18 months later? "

      Of course. It's what they've done with countless other technologies and been successful. Define new platform/api/infrastructure, get developers on board, ditch it for something else, rinse and repeat.

      The amazing thing is that everyone keeps falling for it. It reminds me of Johnson's comment on second marriage : 'a triumph of hope over experience'.

      (To be fair, I could make a similar criticism of google and various linux developers. The software industry thrives on fixing things that aren't broken, and failing to fix things that are).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

      No - I'm just waiting for the next iPhone SE to replace my Lumia - hoping its screen won't grow too much, I hate big phones. No way I could get another phone from MS, Windows Phone 10 is far worse than 8, and they demonstrated no will to support a mobile OS. UWP is also a bet they will lose.

      When Windows 7 support ends, maybe I could get a Mac as well, as long as Apple makes something up to date.

      PS: I can't use Linux because my photo workflow would be totally unsupported - it works and I have really no time to try to replace it and lose years of work and compatibility - so, please, don't tell me I should use Linux - I would if I could use the same applications I use now, and my hardware had OEM drivers.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

        Not sure if it will be the next iPhone SE, but eventually the screen will grow. The device won't though, and I can't imagine anyone having complaints about having a bigger screen without adding any size or weight.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

          "Not sure if it will be the next iPhone SE, but eventually the screen will grow. The device won't though, and I can't imagine anyone having complaints about having a bigger screen without adding any size or weight."

          Imagine every year, the iPhone SE screen would grow not in proportion to the body... like an organism.

          My coat is the one with a lively 8" iPhone SE in the pocket.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

        "PS: I can't use Linux because my photo workflow would be totally unsupported - it works and I have really no time to try to replace it and lose years of work and compatibility - so, please, don't tell me I should use Linux - I would if I could use the same applications I use now, and my hardware had OEM drivers."

        I am not going to judge your decision to not go for linux because it's not an easy route, but none of your reasons make it reasonable to go for a Mac. The only conclusion I get is you don't know enough how your hardware & software work and too lazy to change.

        First, there is no guarantee that a new Mac with newest macOS version would give you the same workflow and compatibility. Software might not work and plugin might not be compatible with new version is not an uncommon scene.

        Also the hardware has OEM drivers reason doesn't make any sense. If you are somehow tied to your current OEM drivers (do you mean OEM devices? like a scanner?), you won't even get the option to change hardware or OS, so no Mac from there. Secondly, What photo workflow software are you using? Lightroom? Photoshop? Most up-to-date photo software are not tied to a specific hardware. Some are tied to OS like Windows and/or Mac only, but that's about it. So the OEM drivers should not be an excuse for you to be stuck with your current hardware or OS.

        In addition, if you have "no time to try to replace it", then you would also have "no time" to change to a Mac. Unless you've worked with a Mac, the "workflow" is different and it takes "time to try".

        tl;dr your excuses make no sense. You should have just said you are too lazy to change.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I get is you don't know enough how your hardware & software work and too lazy to change."

          You're not going to judge, you're just saying I'm a lazy ignorant. Instead you just show how little people like you know about real work done on computers. Be careful, about accusing others of being lazy ignorant people, because you could just show it's only you. And too lazy to learn.

          1) "Photo workflow" is not a single software. It's a combination of devices and software to create (and catalog) an image from capture to final output (screen or print). It's something you perfect with time, learning how each piece behaves, and tailor and fine tune it to your needs. It takes time, and a lot of learning.

          2) The software I use - and its plug-ins - is available both on macOS and Windows, fully compatible. I can use one or the other, and the software is exactly the same and works exactly the same. So I don't lose anything. Especially with non-destructive editors - where changes are stored outside the image, and re-applied each time you open it.

          Sure, you have to get used to a different OS, which is the easy part, but not to wholly different applications, which is the hard part, and may mean to lose the work you already did.

          Updating software if and old version is no longer supported is obviously a non-issue. Unlike Linux fanatics, I have no problem in paying for good software.

          3) OEM drivers: I use high-end (and expensive) imaging hardware, camera, color calibration, monitors, scanner, printers. Sorry, I don't use a phone to upload to Instagram.

          Part of their functionalities is in the OEM driver/software they come with. Again, they come with Windows and macOS software, not Linux. Sure, there are some Linux replacement for them, whose quality is utterly unknown being third party products, and may not deliver the full functionalities I paid for. Still, I would need to re-calibrate and re-profile everything - which is time consuming and expensive -, hoping nothing is lost.

          It took years to fine-tune everything, and with Windows/Mac you can get official support. If you use Linux, you're on your own, and I'm interested in making excellent images, not in spending time tweaking a computer. It's not like switching from Office to LibreOffice.

          Believe me, I never liked Apple fully proprietary stack too much - that's why I'm using Windows. But if Windows becomes a full slurping operation trying to force its store/UWP applications, the only real alternative becomes macOS. That's why also I'll get an iPhone and not an Android.

          I would use Linux if and only if it fully and natively supported my applications and hardware. Unluckily, it doesn't yet. I did try if it could be useful, and found it is not, too many compromises and lack of features, so it's not a real alternative.

          Sure, big companies like Pixar can develop their own software and run it on big Linux boxes - just like they did using big Unix systems before - to cut costs down. It's not what single image professionals can do.

          Unfortunately nothing will change in the near future as long as distro fragmentation and GPL issues (see the loathe for proprietary drivers...), combined with its little desktop market share, strongly slanted towards IT professionals, and the little will most Linux users have to pay for software, don't make it an appealing platform for proprietary imaging software. I really don't care if the software is open or close, free or commercial, as long as it does what I need. Right now, Linux software is not up to the task.

          Another fun fact is that actually I use Linux as a software developer (no, it's not image processing...) - unlike you, I know fully what I'm talking about. Most people use hardware and software to achieve their goals, not to affirm a political stance, nor to worship an OS, nor just trying to spend nothing.

          Maybe one day you'll grow up, and you'll learn and understand what grown up people do and how they use computers for, and Linux is not the answer to all needs.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

      My favorite MS Phone: the Kin!

      https://www.wired.com/2010/06/four-reasons-why-microsofts-kin-phone-failed/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Kin

      At the time I had one of these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_SGH-i900. I'd had it for nearly 2 years when the Kin came out. It was usable, but clunky, and it could not be upgraded beyond WinPhone 6.1, not even to 6.5. It was replaced by an Android phone, which was less usable, more clunky, dropped calls, and was generally a bigger pain than the WinPhone. That phone was replaced by an iPhone. I still have the iPhone.

      I nearly bought a Kin to replace the Samsung, but it came and went so fast that I barely had time to see it in local Veriscum stores before it had flitted off into neverland.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

      Well at least they honoured their commitment to provide software updates for ~2 years which is longer than many Androids.

      Upgrade path: their apps are available on Android. You can sync your contacts using the Outlook app.

    6. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Why would you buy a phone from Microsoft ever again?

      > I've actually lost count of the number of mobile phone platforms they've ungracefully killed with no upgrade path.

      They not only killed their own platforms with no upgrade path to the next (or little), but they also killed off Danger's Kin and several others by their contracts with Nokia: Symbian, Maermo/Meego, Asha, Meltemi, and Nokia-X (Android).

      The duopoly of Apple and Google is left because of Microsoft, nor in spite of them.

  4. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    It had an app store?

    Blimey!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: It had an app store?

      All it needs to do is catalogue apps and offer installer packages for download which is not that complicated, but Windows 8's app store uses separate infrastructure from Windows 10's app store.

      Microsoft once again sticking a lick of paint on everything so you think it's unified but every once in a while something like this happens so you know it isn't.

  5. Stratman

    I have a Windows 8 phone which I use for well, er, making phone calls. As an added bonus it also picks up my emails when I'm out and about. Until it stops doing either I'll carry on using it as it fulfils my phone needs.

    It even has a replaceable battery.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >It even has a replaceable battery.

      A pity it doesn't have a replaceable OS.

  6. Alan Bourke

    I had a Windows Phone.

    As an OS it was not bad, especially if you tied it to a wider Windows ecosystem and you didn't mind a Microsoft version of the Apple walled garden approach.

    The problem was with apps of course. The Facebooks et al were there, if grudgingly updated at a quarter of the frequency of the iOS\Android equivalents. The killer for me was the lack of 'second tier' apps - your local transport company or energy provider, or college. They all have iOS\Android apps, why would they bother their holes getting stuff rewritten a third time for a platform with a tiny market share?

  7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    I use my Windows phone almost every day...

    My $30 Windows phone sits there, resting on the bedside table. When its screen suddenly lights up, then I know that somebody has sent me a message on FB. So I reach over and pick-up my Android phone to see what's going on...

    I also use my Blackberry Playbook all the time too. When I hear a faint 'bing' from the Playbook, then I know that somebody has sent me an email. So I reach over and pick-up my Android phone...

    My original Apple iPad is used exclusively to watch QI episodes on YouTube. It's perfect for the purpose.

    Old iPhone -> locating other family members, using its Find iPhone facility, as and when required.

    Etc.

  8. knarf

    So you bought APPs paid good money.....

    But can no longer reinstall them, so do you get a refund then ?

  9. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Such a pity Microsoft can't be bothered to innovate. PDAs running Windows Mobile with a CF GSM plug in module were precursors to the iPhone.

    1. Sam Adams the Dog

      Not

      Actually, the Palm Treo phone was the precursor to the iPhone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Such a pity Microsoft can't be bothered to innovate.

      What do you mean? They've just announced end-to-end encrypted calls on Skype!

      Wow!

  10. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Joke

    Will the last Windows Phone user please remember to unplug the charger.

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Eish, going from bad to worse... WinPhones was announced with as much fanfare as possible, then distributed for next to nothing.

    TBH Android is getting a bit too long in the tooth by now - if only they can develop and distribute a Google-free (sans any Google apps) Android version for most of the 'droids out there.... or something different like FreeBSD...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "TBH Android is getting a bit too long in the tooth by now - if only they can develop and distribute a Google-free (sans any Google apps) Android version for most of the 'droids out there.... or something different like FreeBSD..."

      It's called LineageOS. It's mostly created by developers on xda developers. It comes without GApps so it is technically 'Google-free".

  12. ChrisElvidge

    Remote Control

    I use my 520 as a remote for NowTV box and DLNA from Kodi to my Bluetooth sound bar. (I also have a 650. Well it was cheap for dual-sim.)

  13. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    The most incredible thing is ...

    Windows Phone - from 7 onwards - was actually quite good. Having run it alongside Android and iOS, it was my preferred UI.

    Quite happy to go public on this.

    1. d3vy

      Re: The most incredible thing is ...

      Agree, I had a few windows phones and really liked them.

      Easy to repair if you could get the parts too.

      It was the apps that did it though, not enough of the big ones made it over to the platform.

      I do miss the satnav though, that was brilliant.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: The most incredible thing is ...

        I never used one, but the UI looked kinda of interesting to me. Not sure how well it would work in practice, and the people I knew who had one (all worked supplied, I never met a single person who bought one for personal use) said it took a little getting used to but they thought it was OK.

        Regardless, at least they tried something different. The real problem was trying to use that same UI on a desktop...

      2. RodHull

        Re: The most incredible thing is ...

        Free offline maps as standard, with no fees, no advertisements. Surprised me when I went for a trip with buddy the other day, and his Apple massive phone dropped of 4g and suddenly we're back to paper maps!

        I'm sure you can probably pay for such service, but I've been used to getting navigation FOC since the Nokia 700

    2. RodHull

      Re: The most incredible thing is ...

      I think most of the commentards here have never used a Win7/8/10 phone. Best UI by far, amazing battery life (after that 800 battery fix).. And probably overall, the best cameras. But hey ho, go back to your Android without security patches. Or slippery Apples with broken screens. Personally, I'd be happy with an IOS phone if they weren't so poorly designed, I need a phone that can flex not break designed NOT to slip out of your hand, with excellent camera and 3-4 days battery. unfortunately, I'm having to hope my 950 doesn't drop dead. Don't get me wrong WinPhone isn't/wasn't perfect. But it's got BookFace, Twatter, Email, Inernets.. The only thing I'd like is an 'Application' for is Paypal.

      These days, you just can't get a phone with good battery life, good camera and designed in a way its not asking to be dropped on the floor. Sodding shiny edges. Give me a polycarb phone any day.

      And for balance, OneDrive photo syncing on Win10 phone is f-ing slow! To the point of me still not choosing a replacement phone. because I've still yet to find a quality camera phone with wireless charging.

  14. Tom 35 Silver badge

    The best part

    Is I don't have to worry about clicking on a story to find it's Andrew Orlowski trying to tell us how great it is.

    Too bad about Nokia though.

  15. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Killing the best version.

    In many ways, wp 10 was a downgrade from wp8.

    I'm actually still using a Lumia 625 as a work phone, for the occasional work-related call or text message (most communication is by email or chat). Probably will keep using it for that, until it dies.

  16. Terry 6 Silver badge

    On this site

    There is a considerable glee at the failure of Windows Phone, which is fair enough if you just hate everything Microsoft on principle. But in reality the Winphones were well liked by anyone who actually used them. They worked well, they talked well to car hands free units and they had the chief, basic "apps".

    They didn't have the sort of street cred that makes people rush out to pay too much for an iThingy. Nor did they have the right range for ordinary users, most being either too big, too small, too cheap or too expensive. i.e. There was a big mid-range hole.

    But with the right corporate decisions* they would have been a brilliant alternative to the Apple/Google duopoly.

    *And they also are a brilliant touchstone to identify the grim level of corporate decision making of Microsoft generally.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: On this site

      My friend did like his WP for the first month or two. Compared to the "free with a pack of cereal" Chinese android it replaced it was indeed a fine device. He liked the Samsung that soon replaced the WP much more.

      Everything's relative. Microsoft's efforts were relatively good if you looked far enough down the usability range.

  17. karlkarl Bronze badge

    Thats great. So now can I make personal apps for my theoretical Windows phone?

    No? What? Why?

    Oh fsck off Microsoft! Get the hell out the way so someone slightly interesting can take your place.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Strawman.

      VS2015 is the last version to support Windows Phone 8.1 - the community edition is still free. You can use it to build personal apps. They run just fine once installed.

      What you cannot do is distribute those apps to users who are not developers, because the platform is dead.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Winphone user since v6.1, not a great user of 'apps' (probably why I'm still using one!) day-to-day phone is a Nokia 830 running WinMo10 with the standard list of stuff installed (Office, navigation with offline maps for EU & Africa etc.) plus Viber, Office Lens, Microsoft Authenticator, Run the Map {don't ask!} File explorer & Have I Been Pwned? installed. the annoying bits are quiet hours doesn't always work, unable to set different alert tones for different email accounts, camera occasionally crashes on launch - none of this was an issue with WinMo8.1 -, which my backup phone still runs...

    Overall, for my usage case, I see no need to change either - they send & receive calls, text, email and Viber messages without any problems, which is all (apart from <20 technical photos a day uploaded to Onedrive and the occasional document loaded via Office Lens) I need it for. Yes, it's not cool, it's old tech, it's a WTF is that? comment opportunity for the hipsters, it's battered (screen intact though!) but it's mine, reliably carries out it's core tasks and I see no reason to change it for something that requires more effort to manage for daily use.

  19. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 devices account for a scarcely measurable 0.02 per cent of the mobile market. Quite some way from the mighty 0.12 per cent claimed by Windows 10 Mobile.

  20. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Backward compatibility ???? In *all* platforms.

    It used to be an IBM point of pride that you could still run 30 year old code on their latest boxen.

    Certainly up to XP, MS made a similar boast with Windows.

    Fair enough, you wouldn't expect XP to be able to handle 2002 hardware onwards. Hence Vista/7. But you'd expect it to run something for Win95 - or even Win3.1/3.11.

    So how come the phone OS market turned that on it's head, and lead to a situation where it's almost expected that the latest version of an OS will break older apps ? Which strongly suggests an unstable or infant platform. Not something the corporates are going to look to.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Backward compatibility ???? In *all* platforms.

      > could still run 30 year old code on their latest boxen.

      > Certainly up to XP, MS made a similar boast with Windows.

      Windows 95 could not run Windows 2 programs. At the time I had to run Windows 3.11 on a multiuser system to keep running a useful propriety program.

      That was only 5 years from end of Windows 2 to 95.

  21. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Plenty of warning

    Indeed. However, they were fans who refused to accept the warnings at face value even when they came directly from the Redmond mouth.

    Last year I could not get some Windows Phone users to comprehend why no sane developer would invest any money into new apps for the platform. They lived in a world where Windows Surface will save the day soon and very soon and meantime they could always buy a private import from Asia.

    Well...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019