back to article Got a Windows Phone 8 mobe? It's now officially obsolete. Here's why...

Microsoft has formally ended support for its Windows Phone platform. Tuesday's monthly software update release marked the official end of support for Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft's last release under the Windows Phone moniker. This means an end to patches and technical support. "There will be no new security updates, non- …

  1. Tommy Pock

    A shame. The Lumia 1020 was fantastic. Microsoft shat on it. It's nobody else's fault but their own.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft shats on itself always.

      Without that mountain of ill-gotten cash accrued from years of desktop monopoly and shady corporate behaviour, Microsoft would have been bankrupt many times over.

    2. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

      Absolutely, a great phone, with a wonderful camera. I only stopped using mine when the microphone developed a fault, but oh, that camera...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is a proper replacement in the pipeline, one that has a future, and apps...

    4. Bob Vistakin

      Microsoft made a phone?

      Could it like, make calls and stuff just like a proper one?

      Guess we'll never know now.

    5. MyffyW Silver badge

      Their own fault

      The Nokia 920 I had was great, but ditching ability to upgrade to Win 10 was a crap way to treat customers and the app store never got real momentum. Goodbye Betamax...

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Here, have a cheapy Android...

    1. Mr Booth

      had a cheapie android once...

      while my Lumia 1520 was in for repairs.

      Found out quite quickly it was not wall resistant.

      Did discover I had anger management issues however.

      So not a complete loss.

      And made me appreciate the Lumia even more =]

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Every so often there's a great product in IT, whether it be a GUI from PARC, OS/2 from you-know-who, or a phone from somebody else. Or whatever.

    Fumbling* the product badly will do it in, no matter how good or strong it is.

    *Not recognizing an opportunity, departmental infighting, not listening to users, etc etc etc

    1. billdehaan

      So very true

      The story of Windows Phone vs Android/IOS is almost point-for-point a retelling of the OS/2 vs Windows battles of the early 1990s.

      A shame. My Lumia 520 resides in my car to this day as an emergency backup phone and dashcam.

  4. redpawn

    Soft in the Head

    That's the only soft at MS. Push the junk, pull promising products or fail to support them. It is like gigantothermy as seen in dinosaurs. It will take a long time for MS to go completely cold.

    1. Marco van de Voort

      Re: Soft in the Head

      The problem is that Android was the rushed junk. Microsoft had to do better to compete, and to some degree they succeeded.

      But the push was lacklustre, and the constant changing of the development platforms (and them being late while the previous was already declared dead) added to the failure. You can't afford such slips when you are the underdog, and Microsoft is not good at being the underdog.

  5. Wade Burchette


    WinPhone was actually pretty good. That, and a true tablet, is the only proper place for the square UI full of tiles. You don't put a nail in with a screwdriver. That is essentially what Microsoft did by taking the ideas of WinPhone and putting that tool in a place it should be within 100 billion million miles: the desktop and laptop. And then when people rightly complained, their solution was to make a mini-Metro full screen and double-down on kicking customers in the shin. Our complaint wasn't the lack of a start menu; it was the lack of a logical, easy UI. That is still our complaint.

    The real pity is that where WinPhone rightly belonged it was abandoned and where the ideas didn't belong it was reinforced.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Pity

      And to add insult to injury, it is expected that desktop and laptop users use the same UI (win8 and win8.1) as well. Not logical.

      So glad Classic Shell came to the rescue else my users will have had it in for me!

      1. anonymuos

        Re: Pity

        You know Classic Shell has saved my sanity for so many years on so many Windows versions. People don't appreciate it enough. Without Classic Shell, Windows will be far more miserable than it is already is (forced bloated updates, unusable UI, dumbed down uncontrollable everything, updates wreaking havoc with your stable setup and junk processes eating your memory doing nothing important).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pity

      "WinPhone was actually pretty good. "

      No it was abysmal, and that's why it failed. Compared to android and iOS, it was a buggy battery hog, tied to very limited OS and an even more limited app store.

      There is literally nothing it excelled at.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pity

        tied to very limited OS and an even more limited app store

        But the obvious core market of business users only need to do a few things, and don't need all the apps that fill Apple and Google's app stores. Admittedly it would struggle in the consumer market space, but the obvious ploy for Windows Phone was to replace Blackberry as THE business phone. They should have even made sure there was a decent physical keyboard model just to make the point, and they needed to harden the security. I suspect that the limited choice of hardware made success in the consumer market near impossible, but corporate buyers don't care. Its all about security, compatibility, TCO and having ongoing support.

        And I think that last one was the real killer for business buyers. MS have never seemed to have any clear direction or conviction in the phone market, no clear core purpose or rock steady proposition. All the corporate shenanigans around Nokia, the sad tale of multiple sunsetted variants of WinPho, handset makers having no conviction in MS's commitment (and therefore not releasing Windows handsets). Would you as a business IT buyer commit a large corporation to any Windows phone platform, knowing the history, and watching their ongoing fumbling over phones? Continuum was a great idea, but really needed to be much stronger and more PC-like. Two years after it was launched, it still can't replace a conventional PC for most users, and the user experience is still phone-like.

        Now imagine the world that might have been. In this alternate world, Microsoft didn't buy Nokia and get distracted by hardware and corporate farting around, and worked hard to get Windows out amongst the volume handset makers; A clear focus on Continuum working properly as a desktop/laptop replacement but also support for those who do need a separate full fat PC; Rock solid security for the phone OS, apps and data (including mail); Full corporate integration; A promise (that they stick to) of continuing support for the life of Windows phone devices. They could still do this now because Android security and support is so outstandingly poor, MS have the money, but they simply don't understand the world from their customer's perspectives.

  6. Mr Booth

    No worries!

    Upgraded my Lumia 1520 a couple months back with no hassles- parallel imported too :) And yeah I agree with L05ER, eff Microsoft for basically killing off an awesome mobile os...grrrrrr.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: No worries!

      Question for you. My Lumia 735 is still on 8. How different (read worse) is 10? And is it worth the upgrade - which I've been ignoring for the last year?

      I'd read that they'd changed bits of the nice simple UI, which is why I've not upgraded. And I've not checked into whether it's possible to downgrade again, if I don't like it. Something you can't do with Apple for example.

      1. mike_ackee

        Re: No worries!

        I upgraded my Lumia 735 to 10 a few months ago - rather apprehensively, it must be said. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. Generally the phone feels snappier, things work just fine and I've been delighted with the result as it feels like my phone has a new lease of life and should keep me going for a good while yet. There's a few things to adapt to such as the Maps app rather than the Here Drive/Here Maps/Here Transit threesome, but it's all pretty painless. YMMV tho'.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: No worries!

          Thanks for the info. I'm more worried about complications in the UI - as ease of use as a phone is what I love about Windows Phone - and why I'm sad it's failed to take off.

          If all I'm going to lose out on is a threesome, then it's not too bad...

  7. Mephistro

    You know, ...

    ...there's a point, after a company has made big enough blunders often enough, that any new product they make is automatically considered shit by the public, regardless of its merits.

    Add to that the way App developers have been treated in the past by MS, and that their most common answer when someone suggests to them to develop for MS products usually starts with "Hell will freeze over..."

    Dear Microsoft: "You'll reap what you've sown."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You know, ...

      Microsoft is a tainted brand. Skype's revamp was a reaction to Snapchat, and Microsoft 365 was a reaction to Google Docs. Silverlight was a reaction to Adobe Flash.

      Microsoft has always been reactionary. And its reaction has never been good.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I could take the p*ss but to be fair even though those two users are going to be upset android is much worse with regards to security and updates.

    1. Kernel

      I could take the p*ss but to be fair even though those two users are going to be upset android is cellular providers who decide they know better than you what you want on your phone are much worse with regards to security and updates - regardless of what phone OS it is."


  9. Mattknz1

    Could've been something...


    I bought a Lumia 800 back when they first released, tired of iPhone and Android and wanting something different. I remember it was the first to have a proper turn by turn satnav (nokia maps), google drive followed pretty closely. I have to say i loved the simplicity of it. Clean, fast and just worked well as a communication device.

    Since then i've swapped between iPhone, Android and Windows a few times, I'm tired of iphone, it feels like a kids bikes with too many tassels, bells and whistles bolted on as an after thought. Not to mention the speaker and bluetooth is rubbish, and thumbprint scanner is useless in my line of work.

    As for the android, I'm tired of google nagging me to review and share photos of every building I enter. The news feed is nice, and there's a million pointless apps for it, but every update I find my privacy settings are all set to wide open. No i don't want the photos of my kids on the McDonalds playground posted in this review. Fk off.

    I like my windows 10 phone. It actually works well as a phone, doesn't nag me, doesn't burn up the battery when it's supposedly idle, generally does what it's told and the UI is consistent and simple.

    Or maybe i'm just getting old.

    1. Kernel

      Re: Could've been something...

      "I like my windows 10 phone. It actually works well as a phone, doesn't nag me, doesn't burn up the battery when it's supposedly idle, generally does what it's told and the UI is consistent and simple."

      So, pretty much the same as every Android phone then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could've been something...

      "speaker and bluetooth is rubbish"

      ok. You could buy a bigger iphone with better speaker.

      "I'm tired of google nagging me to review and share photos of every building I enter"

      You do know the benefit of android right? Flexibility in Customization. With the right device, you can flash to a different rom with only apps you want or if you are lazy you can just uninstall / disable / root remove apps. In fact, google shouldn't be nagging you to review at all (did you install an app without knowing?)

      Also "every update"

      There are few to no updates for android (unless you use the Google Nexus/ Pixel line). Are you talking about apps update? You can disable them from auto-update if you want.

      Bashing other mobile OS and apps without knowing their full extent just proves a shallow experience you had. You should have just stated what you like about windows phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC "flash to a different ROM"

        I always laugh when I see people post stuff like this. It applies to maybe 1% of people who are willing to do this, and while it might be a solution for a Reg reader who likes to tinker and doesn't care about warranty/support, it is not a meaningful rebuttal to objections for ordinary people.

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: Could've been something...

        "There are few to no updates for android (unless you use the Google Nexus/ Pixel line)."

        Speak for your own brand / carrier. My Samsung on Vodafone gets monthly security updates and a phone that started on Android 5.0 is now on Android 7.0. Whether I'll get 7.1 or 8.0 I don't know but at 2 years old I'm ready to replaceme this phone anyway.

      3. Mattknz1

        Re: Could've been something...

        Choosing a mobile phone is like choosing a wife. You don't marry the one you love, you marry the one you tolerate the most.

        She might not be the prettiest or the smartest in the head, but she's not going to tell me "sorry I can't do that while i'm locked"

      4. Snorlax

        Re: Could've been something...

        @Anonymous Coward: "With the right device, you can flash to a different rom with only apps you want or if you are lazy you can just uninstall / disable / root remove apps."

        lol, what a numpty. Yeah I'll tell my nan to flash Cyanogenmod (or whatever it's called these days) on her HTC to cut down on bloat. If she can't handle that, she can just unlock the boot loader, stick on TWRP and root it.

        Get out in the real world for a while, eh?

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Could've been something...

      The only Google apps I've got on my phone are Play Store, Play Services, and Translate. In those three, settings are set to the most private possible (not very much I know, this is Google) and the fewest notifications possible. I use a dedicated Google account for that one phone.

      So I don't get nagged to review businesses or upload photos or whatever they want to crowdsource today.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could've been something...

      You know you can opt out of google services on any android phone, even a nexus. You press cancel at first boot.

      If you is apps,you can install fdroid and still have tens of thousands of more apps than windows phone, but with no google nag.

      I personally don't have google nag, I worked put how to stop it nagging me, its not hard, unless you are a cretin

    5. iron Silver badge

      Re: Could've been something...

      "As for the android, I'm tired of google nagging me to review and share photos of every building I enter. The news feed is nice, and there's a million pointless apps for it, but every update I find my privacy settings are all set to wide open."

      I don't know what apps you've installed but they are the culprit behind this behaviour, not Android. I've been using Android since Froyo and never once have I seen it nag me to share photos of anything with anyone. I'm not on Facebook, G+, Instagram, etc so where it would share them is a good question. Also updates have never changed my privacy settings even when updating the major OS version and I have them all set firmly closed.

      I considered Windows Phone the last time I bought a new phone, I like the UI and felt like a change but the lack of Windows versions of most of the apps I use and the need to buy another copy of the few that were available put me off.

  10. Captain DaFt

    Refreshingly honest comment from MS

    " ...can upgrade from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile, which Microsoft has assured us will not be going away anywhere any time soon."

    Windows 10 Mobile not going anywhere any time soon?

    Yah, your Phones past history kind of made that clear already!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Phone is dead. Period.

    And that includes Windows 10 Mobile.

    Freeloading on Nokia's carcass** didn't help to establish the 'turd ecosystem', did it Mr Elop?

    **Even Nokia is making a comeback this year via HMD Global by releasing Android phones. It's a miracle unto itself to emerge from Microsoft's dark shadow. Nokia could use a bit of support... better late than never.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Windows Phone is dead. Period.

      I very much doubt Nokia are interested in getting back into selling phones. They're making plenty of money in their network and software businesses.

      They've got a good name in mobile, and they're going to license that to other companies to use.

      Nokia didn't get out of mobiles due to some evil plot my Microsoft. Nokia were incredibly glad to get out of mobile phones with a big heap of Microsoft cash because they'd utterly fucked up their dominant position in the market due to massive management incompetence. They had all technology they needed, they were just unable to stop infighting long enough to pick one and actually bring it to the market.

      As a Symbian user from back in 2003 (Sony Ericsson P800), it was already clear they'd knackered Symbian by deliberately encouraging the development of two incompatible versions (S60 and UIQ). Which is why Windows CE was able to get 50% of the smartphone market, even though Symbian was probably way better. I still remember the frustration of finding a shiny new app, only to find it wouldn't work with my UIQ phone.

      Nokia continued downhill from there sadly.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft's big mistake was in not filling their app store.

    Apparently they spent a BEEELLION dollars marketing Windows phone. But surely the sensible thing to do would be to take a tenth of that money and use it to pay the makers of the 100 most popular apps on Android and iPhone to remake their apps on Windows phone. That would have solved the 'empty app store' problem that Microsoft had.

    I know, it's all history now but I am sad. I liked my 720, and I like my 640 XL.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Microsoft's big mistake was in not filling their app store.

      It was such an obvious thing to do. They didn't even have a decent torch app for Windows Phone 7 for the first year. Which is truly tragic. And utterly crap, obviously.

    2. nkuk

      Re: Microsoft's big mistake was in not filling their app store.

      They already did that, paying developers to develop apps. It didn't work out as no-one bought the apps, and each update of WP made the apps obsolete and they had to be redeveloped. Developers got sick of developing on a platform made of shifting sand. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

    3. Triggerfish

      Re: Microsoft's big mistake was in not filling their app store.

      Yup we got some for work for field engineers, and the Nokia phones were nice, typical build quality you'd expect, good phone reasonable price.

      Now if MS had gone and put some effort into it integrating really well with 0365 and such added a few decent apps, they probably would have had a killer business mid level smart phone.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft's big mistake was in not filling their app store.

      You can't fill the app store because developers and users were already heavily invested in iOS and Android. There was a point in time when Microsoft had to BRIBE developers to make Windows mobile apps. Ballmer then ranted about how Windows phones were 'enterprise-friendly' with the full suite of Office apps etc. Nobody cared.

      Microsoft also made a lot of snarky attack ads bashing iPhones and Android phones. Microsoft made attack ads for virtually all its products, from 'The Browser You Love to Hate' to 'Googlighting Stranger' to 'Gmail Man'. Utter cringe from a toxic company culture.

      Apple and Samsung, for the most part, focused on the merits of their own products. Doing political ads for tech products is a major turn-off to consumers.

      And Windows Phone OS looked horrible with those Fisherprice tiles. First impression matters, and the market has spoken.

      1. RyokuMas

        Re: Microsoft's big mistake was in not filling their app store.

        "the market has spoken"

        This phrase always makes me laugh - especially when it's extolled by the more vocal advocates of Linux...

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Going Nowhere soon?

    can upgrade from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile, which Microsoft has assured us will not be going away anywhere any time soon.

    not going anywhere soon can also mean that it is also a dead duck but they haven't the balls to kill it just yet.

    Why keep up this charade MS? We (and you) know that it is a dead Os walking. It was too late, too resource heavy and there were no apps etc etc etc

    Just put the poor thing out of its misery and while you are at it, get rid of those tiles on non touch systems.

    You may just win a few defectors back. Sadly I think the odds of that happening to be next to impossible.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Going Nowhere soon?

      It's not fair to say it was too resource heavy. Windows Phone actually did really well on battery life and price because it was so resource light it could get away with using less memory and less powerful chips. The downside being it had less RAM and processor power available, and was therefore less good for apps.

      My 2 year old Lumia 735 still does 2 days on a charge easily, with email a bit of light internet a few texts and usually at least an hour's calls a day. It doesn't get used for apps much, but then neither did the iPhone it replaced, as I prefer a tablet for that.

      The lack of management committment, any kind of strategy (or even vague plan), and the lack of apps that followed from that obvious lack of committment killed it off. The OS itself is fine. Much better than Android or iPhone as a phone, though a worse mobile computer and the browser still sucks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Going Nowhere soon?

        I still have my Lumia 800 in a drawer for precisely the reason that it is very frugal on battery power when travelling. It's also tough as old boots, it's been dropped on various continents and is still working with barely a scratch.

        The downloadable maps and that sensational interface designed for fat fingers were something I really miss on iOS or Android.

  14. The Original Steve

    Shame but predictable

    I used to recommend Windows Phone to friends and family who want the basic features of a modern smartphone but without the complexity of Android or the cost of iOS.

    Shame as I genuinely thought it was a really rather good mobile platform. Shame the app store never took off.

    At least Android has become easier to use over the last few years.

    Was still holding onto my 950 XL with WM10 but once that packs in I'm going to have to face reality. Sad times.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Shame but predictable

      Yeah, my Mum's Lumia is coming up for replacement. Having only had to sort out problems with her sat-nav, and it only taking half an hour to show her how to use it, I don't know what to recommend next. For my own convenience, as well as hers...

      If she gets an Android, that's hours of set-up and headaches showing her how it works. And I reckon I'll be fixing some problem every 6 months or so. Not sure she'll be willing to blow £600 on an iPhone.

  15. eJ2095

    Time to wheel out my old 3210.....

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Still got my 5230 in working nick, still use it for the odd call and SMS...

      It feels so small and weird when comparing it to biggenscreen phones (like the S3 mini and so on)...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zune, zune, take me to the moon...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Zune was great. It was the PC software that proved to me that iTunes could have been worse.

      1. J. R. Hartley

        'iTunes could have been worse'

        Bold statement.

  17. RyokuMas
    Thumb Up

    Fun while it lasted...

    Having been in almost from the very start (my first game release was about 8 months after WP7launched), WinPhone was a fun little platform to develop for. Yes, in the beginning there was no IAP mechanism, ad fill rates were virtually zero and the support site was up and down more regularly than a manic-depressive kangaroo, but XNA (and later Monogame) were great and ultimately what got me interested in mobile development as a whole.

    True, it never got the market share I had hoped might happen in those early days (Microsoft doing their usual thing), and the marketplace has collapsed into a similar cess-pit as Play and the App store (a few titles dominant due to big marketing budgets plus a flood of shiteware), but it still remains the mobile platform I got the most downloads and best return from - and had the most fun developing for.

    I got out of making mobile games a few years back - largely due to the aforementioned state of the markets on all platforms - but it was fun while it lasted, and the first platform I've developed for seriously since my Atari ST days. Guess I've always had a soft spot for the underdog... guess that means I should start looking at the Switch for my next development platform...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fun while it lasted...

      You were not in it from the start if you began at 7

      CE then 6.x Win mobile came before mobile 7.

      As a hint of things to come, 6.x (and earelier) code needed rewrite for Mobile 7 - MS provided no tools to convert code.

      I stopped writing new stuff for windows mobile at that point (only win mobile work after taht was a bit of legacy 6.x app support / enhancement)

      (caveat, these were logisitcs apps, not games)

      Customers now use apps written for android instead (android devices locked down, about the one good thing to be said for win mobile was MS made it easy to lock down a phone, whereas we use 3rd party specialist software to lock down android)

  18. Schlimnitz

    Won't stop me using it

    I'll keep using my Nokia 735 until it dies.

    I bought and tried a phone with Windows 10, but ended up giving it to the missus: didn't have Kid's Corner (yes, I use it) and the alternative was crap. Also, Windows 10 just had way too many options/settings: feature creep.

    When my Nokia dies, not sure what I'll do.

  19. Snorlax

    Slow News Day, Huh?

    I'm actually surprised Windows Phone 8 was supported this long, given that it was released in 2012.

    Apple were still selling the 4S back then - last update for that was iOS 9.3.5 in 2016.

    Wikipedia tells me Android was on version 4.1 back then. I doubt anybody's updating that anymore either.

    TL:DR Phones are disposable, and I don't think many people are still running a phone from 2012...

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Is this the place where windows fanboys have come to weep into their dead duck phones thanks to Microsoft shitting on them ?

    Get used to it as there is plenty more shitting on you to come from Microsoft.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      How very dare they like something made by a company you don't like.

      I mean, we all know that you are the ultimate wisdom on everything so that anybody who disagrees with you is just doing it to be contrary.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        >anybody who disagrees with you is just doing it to be contrary.

        It's a free country (sort of) and I'm entitled to express my opinion just as you are, I'm not asking you to agree with mine as I don't have to agree with yours. I'm an atheist but people are free to blindly follow a dead end if they so choose and waste a lot of Sundays/Saturdays etc which could be used more productively or for a two day bender, personally I prefer the two day bender.

  21. nijam Silver badge

    Support for my *Nokia* Lumia 520 ended years ago. Yes, I kept getting the (occasional) Microsoft updates... but it's arguable whether that could in any way whatsoever be considered support.

    One by one, the decent Nokia stuff it came with was disabled because - horror of horrors - I don't have a Microsoft account. The stuff that remains is useless Microsoft shit - Office, ffs, on a device with a 4" screen? All it can do now is act as a dumb phone - and camera, though the ergonomics on the 520 are so bad you can't get a decent photo out of it.

    So MS "support" has consisted entirely of disabling perfectly good Nokia apps. Glad it's finished now.

  22. Yorkshirefoxy

    Craptastic Nokia 420

    When I worked for a charity we had to use Windows and of course Windows phones. Enter the craptastic Nokia 420 the phone that didn't keep giving.

    Funny how the IT team used Android phones but we mere mortals had to cope with something that even a Galapagos Tortoise could outrun.

    Windows Phone is dead? How did it take so long to die?

  23. JeffyPoooh

    "...pulls the plug on support..." - Pros and Cons


    I like my Surface 2 with Windows RT. It's unsupported, which is nice.

  24. Chemical Bob

    OneCore platform strategy

    Are you sure it wasn't supposed to be Wanker platform strategy?

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