back to article Microsoft's 'successful' Nokia slurp kills off Lumia photo apps

The debacle that was Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business continues to unravel, with Redmond turning the end-of-life gun on a bunch of Lumia applications. In the kind of announcement that could have been put together by the marketing division of Sirius Cybernetics, Microsoft cheerily told the world that it …

  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    After "plays for sure", it seems to me everyone should have seen this - and all the future server shutdowns - coming. The cloud is not forever. It's just someone else's computer. A computer they will eventually turn off.

    1. Captain DaFt


      It looks like "The Cloud" will last a good long time.

      It's made of vendor's servers, so the cloudy bits that quit being profitable will just be dropped to make room for some other cloudy bit.

      When the cloudy bit you rely on quits being profitable to its vendor, how unfortunate for you.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Alas!

        I remember the screams when Zing went under many years ago. People that had their only "copy" of their photos stored there were screwed if they couldn't get them downloaded before they turned off the servers. This in the modem days as I recall. There was a lesson then and people haven't learned it.. the internet may be forever but storage, websites aren't.

        1. VinceH

          Re: Alas!

          "There was a lesson then and people haven't learned it.. the internet may be forever but storage, websites aren't."

          The problem is that some people are well and truly addicted to the cloud cuckoo land flavoured Kool-Aid. I know people like this - indeed, I have clients like this.

        2. coolcity

          Re: Alas!

          To say "there was a lesson then but people haven't learned it" is a ridiculous and ignorant comment. There are literally tens of millions, maybe even hundreds of millions, of people using services like this now that didn't even own a computer back in the days of Zing. In fact if you surveyed the general public I can practically guarantee 99 out of 100 people will never have even heard of it.

          The vast majority of people simply want to open their phones and use their apps as and when they please, they are not interested in this sort of issue which in the greater scheme of things is of little importance to them in their day to day lives. It's a niche subject, not one that's going to be on the worlds to-do list of things they need to get clued up about.

      2. Unicornpiss

        Re: Alas!

        Clouds do eventually blow away. Or dissipate after raining on you.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      After "plays for sure" I would have thought that anyone with an ounce of sense would avoid purchasing any consumer content (music, books, magazines, videos etc.) which was tied to a single provider or service.

      But people still do it. Look at all the people buying music, books, TV shows and movies from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Sony etc. through their respective vertical platforms. While it's less likely that some of the bigger platforms could fail, it still means platform lock-in and restricted choice the next time around when buying a device. It's just a bad idea no matter how you dice it.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Bigger vendors

        Amazon acquired mobi and closed it (that's what Kindle is based on).

        Sony eBooks (PRC series) are gone.

        Even if a Company doesn't go bust it might simply "lose interest". But there are a load of other reasons I'll only use Cloudy Docs to Collaborate in realtime and then scrap the Cloud copy after download. A nice Peer to Peer Encrypted collaboration tool would be good.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Amazon still lets you download the mp3 you buy. I just buy them download then put them on my own NAS ( mirrored, backed up and UPS).

      3. coolcity

        Nonsense. Almost everything out there is tied to a single vendor. Most of these services are subscription based and since most people buy based on value for money the chances of the vast majority of them buying into a second service are virtually nil.

        No company advertises their product stating that people should buy a backup because their service might not exist one day, and if they did people would avoid that company like the plague anyway. The only other alternative is to forget the cloud and go back to the way things were before it existed.

    3. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Pretty poetic! I see an article with headline "The cloud is not forever. It's just someone else's computer." and sub heading " A computer they will eventually turn off."

      Parts 1, 2, 3, ...

    4. TheVogon

      Glad to see Microsoft are finally tidying up the mess of multiple apps that do much the same thing.

      I can't wait for the new Surface phone and the Lumia 950 / 950 XL allegedly due to be announced next month...and the Surface Pro 4!

      1. coolcity

        Really? So what's the alternative to Refocus, which I used a lot? I actually agree with you in principle and I like Windows phones. I'm very happy with the excellent Lumia 950 I purchased but I do miss Refocus and haven't seen a viable alternative.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The cloud is not forever."

      The sun has got his hat on

      Hip hip hip hip hooray!

  2. thames

    I've never seen a Lumia Windows phone, and I don't know anyone who has one, but I suspect that the few people who do are getting a feeling of deja-vu.

    1) Buy Window Phone - it's great!

    2) OK, it's not great, but the OS upgrade will be.

    3) That OS upgrade? It doesn't work on your phone. Buy a new phone.

    4) Next upgrade - see #3.

    5) But the Nokia apps and cloud services are so great and that's why you should use Windows Phone!

    6) Those cloud services? We're binning them. Try our new ones after we delete all your data.

    From what I've heard from the developer oriented announcements from Microsoft, software development has been moved under the thumbs of the traditional software divisions in the company and they aren't all that keen on spending resources on phone development when they are struggling to get their mainstream PC and server releases out. The phone announcements always come last, as an afterthought. The phone features always lag the PC and server builds.

    Instead of just letting the phone and tablet division die off slowly, they should just pull the plug right now, admit that it's a failure, and put it behind them. If Nokia couldn't sell Windows phone, it's pretty difficult to see how Microsoft expects to do better.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      I hope they don't pull the plug on the phone division, I've been through iOS and Android and I much prefer Windows Phone.

      The Storyteller server might be going away, I've never seen the app, so I have no idea how it works, but a lot of the other apps mentioned are being moved into the main Photo app. Maybe more people will see these features now, because they don't have to download an additional app...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Problem for non-windows phone users is they don't appreciate how easy it was to flip between many of these apps.

        If you're in camera, no need to come out of the camera and chose a different app to do a different thing, you just chose lens, clicked the app and the camera converted to this. All very slick. The difference is, you want have to even do that.

        So yes crappy that cloudy services are being EoL, but it's not the end of the world.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      That could equally apply to Android / iOS.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To Thames,

      What you correctly describe is the modus operandi of Microsoft. It how they make money.

      See Server services where you basically need to have them all on the same version.

      See Word, Excell .. format where you have for each new office version a new file-format .

      Etc etc

      1. TheVogon

        "Word, Excell .. format where you have for each new office version a new file-format ."

        There hasn't been a new MS Office file format for nearly a decade.

        1. Not That Andrew

          You evidently haven't tried to use more than a moderately complex Word or Excel file from 2010 or later on 2007.

    4. Mage Silver badge

      they aren't all that keen on spending resources on phone development

      They'd be mad to do so seeing as they make no money from it, apart from the mess their GUI strategy has got into for their core profitable markets.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually its like this:

      1) Buy Window Phone - it's great!

      2) The Nokia apps and cloud services are also great.

      3) Most see it as different to the other phones (not android or apple), or don't even know it exists, so don't want it.

      4) Microsoft refocusing their efforts as they haven't got the market penetration they need/want.

      6) Those cloud services? We're binning them. Try our new ones after we delete all your data.

      Windows phone has a very nice interface, not tried win phone 10 yet, but from what i can see, as i they are now trying to be like the others, they are going to be screwing up the interface ease of use, with that burger menu (what ever its called). I had an android phone before, my wife has a galaxy s5, prefer the windows phone interface by far over them. Far quicker, easier to navigate, not messy, didn't at first, took time to get used to, but wouldn't want to use the android interface again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You know that WP tiles are basically square android widgets that lack there functionality and customisability of android widgets. You can put lots of widgets on your homescreen and an android phone can be make to work like a WP. You then don't need to suffer WP at all.

        You could even install A WP launcher for android..

        WP is so dead, Microsoft are even developing their own android launcher, Google for arrow launcher to find a beta copy...

    6. Not That Andrew

      Yeah, I'm not quite sure why they can't just dump it all into Sky/LiveDrive (or whatever they are calling it these days) and give the poor souls who relied on those apps 5 or 10 GB extra free to make up for the annoyance

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Justin Clift

    Would be interesting if they Open Sourced the code for these apps

    It would be interesting if they Open Sourced the code for those apps. Could make for good example code for other people to use, and it could encourage plucky upstarts in that space for their platform.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Would be interesting if they Open Sourced the code for these apps

      Except they aren't killing the code, they are just killing the separate apps and moving the functionality under the Camera app, so you don't have to download different lenses any more...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would be interesting if they Open Sourced the code for these apps

        That would make open sourcing it a bad idea... why?

  5. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    and for those without Windows 10?

    > “Our goal is to provide experiences that work really well on all Windows devices. In order to do that, we need to focus on making our Windows 10 core Photos and Camera apps great.

    Phew! What a good thing that Microsoft are making Windows 10 available to all Lumia models. </sarcasm>

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: and for those without Windows 10?

      And look at all the wonderful features Apple have added - so long as you buy the next model. Hardly a position unique to Microsoft.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: and for those without Windows 10?

      They aren't pulling the apps, they just won't be supporting them any more, so WP 8 users will keep their old lenses (apps) and can continue as normal (except for Storyteller).

  6. Gray

    An enhanced user experience!

    "... we’re committed to providing a great photo and camera experience in Windows across devices, and we’re listening to your feedback as we continue improving our apps.”

    Well, Sparky, that's about all that needs to be said, right?

    Grandma used to keep the family photos pasted into an album. We get it out on Thanksgiving and laugh at all them old black & white pictures. Now that we've got Microsoft standing behind us, we can all be certain that our Windows devices photos in the Microsoft cloud will still be there in full, glorious high-resolution color for our great-grand kids to laugh at fifty years from now. Okay, Microsoft ... ? That's feedback, Microsoft ... are you listening?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: An enhanced user experience!

      Before your grandparents' wedding photos lasted 70 years or longer. Now with super Cloud technology you're lucky if you can keep them for 7 years. Something not even your parents would have thought possible!

      Ignore the Cloud with the silver lining, if you're not storing them in folders and keeping annotations in text files and backing them up you're doing it wrong.

      1. bpfh

        Re: An enhanced user experience!

        > Ignore the Cloud with the silver lining, if you're not storing them in folders and keeping annotations in text files and backing them up you're doing it wrong.


        This is my current nightmare: Most reciepts and bills are coming in electronic formats, photos are only digital, and even the tax return forms are digital where I live...

        So how to back it up? Only OneDrive Pro (not the general public version) and DropBox (I believe) supports file encryption on your resting data, so if you are storing on the cloud, you need to encrypt if you want to make it harder for someone to drop the dox on you. Local backups depend on the health of your hard drive or usb keys, and not getting them stolen or destroyed.

        I believe Google makes 3 distinct backups of their server data in different locations so maybe a local computer "live" storage, with regular dumps to a cheap usb key for the stuff You Cannot Afford To Lose, rotating the key every year to avoid that failing, plus an encrypted sync to the cloud of the same data?

        We have hieroglyphs carved into the side of the pyramids that have survived over 5000 years. I can't even access my high school report typed up in 1997 sitting on a floppy somwhere that has probably died anyway....

        1. ntevanza

          Re: An enhanced user experience!

          Store locally. Back up locally. Back up to the cloud.

          That was easy.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take several applications which each do one thing well.

    Replace with one monolithic application which does nothing well.

    Profit (?)

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Port to Android?

    If the apps had been any good, MSFT would have ported them to Android which is Satya's strategic phone platform.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Port to Android?

      Android's already got these kinds of apps... These are the apps Nokia added to their phones to make them more tolerable.

  9. graeme leggett

    purely economics - no spite intended...

    Cheaper than converting the backend to Microsoft's cloud, given its a free to enduser service and therefore has no measurable value to accountants.

    Less of a letdown for users than attempting to mass transfer and losing the lot?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    we’re listening to your feedback

    they always do, particularly with all the telemetrics in windows 10.

  11. Aoyagi Aichou

    Our goal is to provide experiences that work really well on all Windows devices.

    Well, screw you and your stupid streamlining ideas. Why should something like Nokia 1020 have the same experience as Lumia 435? As Surface Pro?

    FFS, this trend of lowest common denominators and protecting the idiots (we don't want to confuse our customers with options that might change something or God forbid with some settings that might limit the functions of the device) is so infuriating!

  12. Asher Pat

    why the vitriol, the schadenfreude to Microsoft? Oh yes, MS has stylish alternatives to Apple! Attack, attack, attack

    1. Not That Andrew

      If you think el Reg are iTards then you haven't been paying much attention

      1. dogged

        On the other hand, if you think El Reg's commentariat are (in the main) ciomposed people claiming to be Penguinistas* then you've been paying attention.

        *I wish El Reg would release stats similar to NetCounter or whoever they are showing which browser and OS combinations were used to hit their site. Because I will happily lay down real money that at least 80% of those self-proclaimed penguinistas are using Windows 8.n and have never owned a linux box in their lives. It's pretty easy to spot them if you've been using a linux distro since 1998 or before.

        Oh, they might own (or rent) an Android phone but that's as far as it goes. The rest is just ego-wanking from bored office drones who think pretending to hate a popular thing makes them cool.

        I think I hate tech-hipsters even more than I hate everything-hipsters.

        1. Chemist

          "Because I will happily lay down real money that at least 80% of those self-proclaimed penguinistas are using Windows 8.n and have never owned a linux box in their lives. It's pretty easy to spot them if you've been using a linux distro since 1998 or before."

          What ?

          (Linux since the mid-90s, exclusively since ~2007)

          Posted using Firefox 40.0.3, OpenSUSE 13.1

          1. dogged

            Not you, Chemist. You a) know what you're talking about and b) don't evangelize.

  13. Otto is a bear.

    The moral of the story

    Commercial organisations, no matter who, do what is best for their business, free services are only free so long as it is in the interests of the provider. If you really want your files protected and stored, do it yourself. If it's yours, its your responsibility.

  14. 0laf

    Meh I don't think too many hipsters chose WP. Most people with WP have them because they are quite well built, work well as a phone and have a half decent camera. They don't care about apps for the most part or they'd have picked a Droid phone.

    I did use the panorama app but that was all out of these.

    It'll be shame if MS make an arse of WP I like it and I don't really want to go back to Android.

    1. bobgameon

      While I agree with everything else. Calling the PureView camera as half decent is just plain wrong. According to every benchmark, review and analysis its the best camera in the market.

      1. TheVogon

        "According to every benchmark, review and analysis its the best camera in the market."

        Quite. A Lumia 1020 still beats the latest Iphone or Samsung hands down and it's 2 years old!

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          "Lumia 1020 still beats the latest Iphone or Samsung hands down and it's 2 years old!"

          And you're not the slightest bit worried about that? Samsung et al have done several high-end phones since that. Where's new Pureview?

          Little birds are singing that MS has had a brain drain, and there's nobody left to design that kind of camera. Sad, if it happens to be true, but not very surprising.

          1. Squander Two

            I for one am a bit worried about that. The 1020 is a simply astounding bit of kit. I've barely touched my "proper" camera in two years. And I am worried that Nadella (who has achieved the impossible: making me appreciate how brilliant Ballmer was) simply doesn't give a fuck about coming up with a new one. Nokia and Microsoft, working together, convinced me that an incredible camera is reason enough to buy a phone, more important than all other considerations except the ability to make an actual phonecall. And I think they convinced the market, too -- if Apple's ad campaign is anything to go by -- so the competition will eventually catch up and then overtake. It'll be sad if MS decide not to compete in a market they helped create. Not least because I really fucking hate iOS.

            Lumia Refocus (for those who haven't used it) is seriously impressive. One of those things I can show iPhone users that makes them say "Wow!"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "A Lumia 1020 still beats the latest Iphone or Samsung hands down and it's 2 years old!"

          Must be why WP is doing so well !

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Must be why WP is doing so well !"

            The reason its not doing so well from my experience is that they have shit marketing. Their interface is very different to the competition, people are scared to change and even try something that is different to what they know. My wife looks at my phone and had no idea what to do as its so different to the Android phones she has used. It is different and needs a little time to get used to the change, but it is a far better interface once you get used to its design. If they could get their marketing to sorry that, it may have helped.

            1. Squander Two

              Microsoft's marketing

              Microsoft's marketing is truly woeful. Look at Apple's poster campaign for the iPhone 6: dozens of beautiful photos taken by actual users. Why the hell didn't MS (or Nokia) do that? The photos exist. MS even made the effort of collecting them, setting up a website for users to submit their work -- a website that was not marketed and so was only looked at by people who already had the 1020. Clueless.

              Similar for the Surface. Some team of unsung geniuses at MS made the Freshpaint app -- another thing that makes people say "Wow!" when they see it -- and it's bundled free with Windows now. Anyone seen an ad for it? If Apple made the Surface, there'd be a TV ad just showing an artist painting a watercolour in Freshpaint. MS did an advert with a load of people doing a dance number with their detachable keyboards. And they keep telling us we can use Excel on it. Excel! Woo!

              1. TheVogon

                Re: Microsoft's marketing

                "Microsoft's marketing is truly woeful."

                The bigger issue is the lack of a consistently refreshed / available / full product range. The Lumia 930 is already end of life in most outlets in the UK, and there is nothing out yet to replace it, and the Lumia 1020 went end of life a while back - also no replacement yet.

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Cloud storage

    All is good and well using the cloud for backups, but, as noted in the comments above - what if the provider decides that said service isn't profitable anymore?

    One more reason NOT to rely on the cloud for a backup solution.

    Rather get a NAS+server solution, plonk these down in a secure location (which will be a headache, but can be sorted out) and use this for remote backups for critical company data... no more worries about somebody snooping around in sensitive corporate data (which is a possibility with cloud storage).

    Another thing most people overlook with cloud storage is what happens if some critical upgrade is applied incorrectly? Then most, if not all, backups will be gone in a flash, never to be recovered. This kind of thing happened before (there's a couple of articles on El Reg) and will happen again.

    Terabyte backups = the bane of limited-budget sysadmins all over the world

  16. Simon Rockman

    lemon soaked paper napkins

  17. TheOtherHobbes

    MS trolls the world again.


  18. Davie Dee

    I understand why they are doing it, but lets be honest Microsoft, your ability to deliver on such things has been somewhat lacking, i mean we still dont have a functional calendar in W10M and the mail app seems to be going backwards as is the people hub. I really dont have much faith that MS will delivery Lumia quality apps, but, in saying that, having the functionality built in would be cool, so heres a suggestion...

    why not KEEP the lumia apps until after you have finished sorting out the built in apps? give folk a bit of choice before cutting off chunks of features they may well have brought their device for!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Oh nos!

    I hear staffing of the Windows 10 mobile team at Microsoft has been slashed by 50%.

    That's right, one of the summer interns is going back to her 2nd year Comp.Sci. course.

    1. TheVogon

      Re: Oh nos!

      "I hear staffing of the Windows 10 mobile team at Microsoft has been slashed by 50%."

      Nope, it's actually been massively increased:

      ""In early to mid July...a lot more attention will be shifted from this [Windows 10 desktop] to that [Windows 10 Mobile],” Sullivan added."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh nos!

        "Nope, it's actually been massively increased:"

        You are really so sad

  20. Schlimnitz

    Won't impact me much, I never really got my head around what all these apps are supposed to do anyway.

    At last count:

    Lumia Cinemagraph

    Lumia Creative Studio

    Lumia Selfie

    Lumia Storyteller

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