back to article You should really get an Android or iPhone, says Microsoft: No more app updates for Windows Phone 8.x holdouts

Another milestone was reached today in the long, drawn-out death of Windows Phone: Microsoft has stopped distributing app updates to the dozen or so Windows Phone 8.x devices not already consigned to the recyclers. To be fair, mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1 was switched off almost two years ago, on 11 July 2017, and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh well

    Better stop using Windows before they abandon it for some Linux distro, which is basically what they have done for Windows Phone.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Oh well

      "Better stop using Windows before they abandon it for some Linux distro, which is basically what they have done for Windows Phone."

      Don't joke...

      A thin linux host + fully supported WINE could get Microsoft out of a lot of long term expensive support commitments and legacy software maintenance. Lets face it they are already distributing most of the userland and have joined the Linux Foundation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh well

        What requires long term support has big chances of not working under WINE. Especially because they are app that may call APIs well beyond drawing something on screen. and may not be desktop apps at all.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Oh well

      >Better stop using Windows before they abandon it...

      Can't say you weren't warned; MS did say back in 2015 that "Windows 10 is the last version of Windows"...

  2. Ryan 7

    Release the boot keys please Microsoft!

    If I can't use my old Lumia 930 as a phone any more, at least let me dig it out and use it as a touchscreen Raspberry Pi.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Release the boot keys please Microsoft!

      > If I can't use my old Lumia 930 as a phone any more

      You might be able to upgrade it to Windows Phone 10. Try using Microsoft's phone upgrade advisor (from your Windows 8.1 phone's browser).

      It worked for my Lumia 635 a few months back and gave it a new lease of life. I was quite surprised, tbh!

      1. aks

        Re: Release the boot keys please Microsoft!

        Happily using my Lumia 950 XL Dual SIM and friends are happy with their Lumia 640 XL mobiles.

        WhatsApp are in the process of dropping support but updates are still coming in each month.

        How's the update history on your Android? On the latest release?

        1. Captain Scarlet
          Flame

          Re: Release the boot keys please Microsoft!

          My Moto G7 Power (UK version) has received zero updates since purchasing, Motorola support stated that was correct but don't worry they will update it in May. Its now July and non UK versions of G7 Power have received updates at least once every few months.

          An 11 year old Dell laptop is still happily running Windows 10 (Ok by happily its a little slow and can't use its SSD to full potential) and getting all the latest updates.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Release the boot keys please Microsoft!

          Here's your chance to end your use of WhatsApp and switch to something a little bit less privacy-invasive! And you can thank Microsoft for that!

    2. aje21

      Re: Release the boot keys please Microsoft!

      I can't see why it won't continue to work as a phone - I'll be really pissed off if my 1020 stops doing what it still does well just because someone decided that the plug had to be pulled for no good reason.

      I also have a 640 which I use for work (wonder how many people are still using two windows phones?) and, to be honest, I prefer the 8.1 way of doing things - very glad I never tried putting 10 on the 1020 (even if it would have run OK, which most advice was that it didn't).

      Much like with politics, having a "two party" approach to phone OS is not good.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We soon forget the 'untruths' MS generated regarding upgradeability of Win Phone 7->8 and 8->10.

    Microsoft tweets by have probably long been since deleted...

    As an example:

    Joe Belfiore

    @joebelfiore

    "Hey all: we ARE working on Win10 for 512MB, including 520. Our ambition is to make #Win10 available for these devices but features may vary"

  4. werdsmith Silver badge

    The true “burning platform”.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      A number of players, iOS and Android will supply a (potentally) burning platform for your pocket.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

    This has been M$ philosophy. Bill Gates just wants to be seen as a nice guy. Android succeeded due to its business model (free to users and earnming via adverts). And made it really usable. Would dear old Billy have give the OS free to drive mass adoption ? Unthinkable in M$ stable.

    They killed Nokia, by design. It was an ego trip by Ballmer and wasted billions, and ruining the lives of thousands of engineers.

    They paid billions for Skype and see it now languishing.

    They paid billions for the Maps (Navtech?) and what good has it done !

    Their app store was shabbily deigned and ruined the experience of people owning Nokia phones. Their heart was not into it. Why did he not stop Ballmer in his tracks?

    You can add many more examples.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

      > Would dear old Billy have give the OS free to drive mass adoption ? Unthinkable in M$ stable.

      They did that. It didn't work.

      MS gave Nokia a $billion a year for 5 years. This was to offset the licence fees for Windows Phone and made it free to Nokia. I don't know if it was 'up to' or just paid out in full, but I doubt that Nokia ever used a $billion of licences in any year.

      In spite of this Nokia phone division did not make a profit in any quarter that they sold Windows Phone. Most phones were sold below cost but even then never got mass adoption.

      > They killed Nokia, by design.

      No. It was incompetence. They were always 6 months behind the competition because it was only MS that could add features into the system or build it for newer hardware. While iPhone and Android jumped ahead with every new development, WP was always 'last year's technology.

      MS did kill every other thing that Nokia wanted to do. N8 and Nokia-X did escape but when these looked like they would outsell WP they were killed off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "They were always 6 months behind the competition "

        It was good for Nokia.

        When they got WinPhone, they were at last two years behind the competition. They wholly misunderstood what "Linux on a phone" meant. Android understood it, use the kernel to cut development costs, and hide everything from 99% of the users - which really don't care at all about what runs under the shiny app (and yes, those users aren't commentards here).

        Nokia really believed that there was a market for a "Linux phone" - the market was probably, at its best, 10% of the desktop one.

        That said, MS developed WinPhone too slowly and with too many direction changes - which meant a true lack of competency and market understanfing at the executives level - especially if they believed Windows 8 (or 10) would have brought more users to its mobile platform.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: "They were always 6 months behind the competition "

          > Nokia really believed that there was a market for a "Linux phone" - the market was probably, at its best, 10% of the desktop one.

          Google believed there was a market for a "Linux phone" too. So far more than 3 billion of them have sold.

          Nokia N9 outsold Lumia where it was allowed to be sold. Nokia-X also sold well for the short time it was manufactured.

          1. david 12

            Re: "They were always 6 months behind the competition "

            You didn't read the post you were responding to?

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "free to users and earnming via adverts"

      Earnings through extensive slurping of your data and habits, not adverts...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

      They paid billions for Skype and see it now languishing.

      Nope, we're switching to Wire. Same authors, better code, no crappy, privacy invading US megacorp involved.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's why stores should not be allowed...

    ... they can render devices no longer usable just because.

    My bank just forced me to switch to their app to confirm operations - they did support WinPhone also. Now I have to shell many $$$$ and buy another phone to use it because no way I can trust any Android nearby me.

  7. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    Someone mention Nokia?

    Powered up my N9 the other day, still works.... The phone that should have been.....

  8. Mage Silver badge
    Windows

    Idiots

    They have destroyed the Windows Desktop experience pursuing phones.

    They also managed to destroy their Win CE lead in USA (before iPhone and Android existed)

    They bought phone companies twice (remember Sidekick) and Gates said the Mistake wasn't buying Android (he didn't actually say that, but Google bought in Android). If MS had bought Android, it wouldn't exist today, something else would rule.

    They did manage well buying in Sybase SQL to do MS SQL.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Idiots

      > They did manage well buying in Sybase SQL to do MS SQL.

      They bought the database engine that Sybase was discarding because they had written a better one that was up to date with the standards. But MS don't care about standards or that MSSQL uses an obsolete one.

  9. The Unexpected Bill
    Happy

    Windows Phone could have been a viable competitor...

    I say this even though I've been watching Microsoft bungle things since Windows CE first appeared in the 1990s. I'm not sure why I continued to hold out hope, every time, that things would be different the next time around.

    It happened that I came across a Lumia 640 in the closeout department of a store. It seemed to me that it was probably worth taking the chance for ten bucks, and it'd have the honor of being the first smartphone I ever owned.

    Windows Mobile 8.1 ran well on it. Apart from a few rough edges (mostly around the mail client), it was a well thought out operating system. They even thought to include R(B)DS decoding in the FM tuner application. I was impressed enough that there was an FM radio tuner application! Most of the applications available came from very small time developers, who clearly cared about the platform and their work. Three in particular stand out: A really well done GPS speedometer that is to date the only "app" on any platform that I've ever thought enough of to have purchased, Metrotube from Lazy Worm Apps and a bar code scanner whose name I have forgotten. (I'd go and look up the names for the speedometer and bar code scanner apps, but the phone is hiding out in the basement and that's just not happening at this hour.) There was an easily removable battery, headphone jack, and even a place to pop in a Micro SD card (which I did). The phone itself felt very solid and quite well made. It had excellent audio when receiving calls.

    (Microsoft released a "port" of DOS for Windows Phone as an April Fools Day joke. I still find it fairly amusing to play around with.)

    Was it all perfect? No. Although its audio was excellent when recording video (something Apple in particular could pay attention to), the camera was pretty mediocre. Few of the major application developers ever bothered to make a Windows Phone version of their software and fewer still ever updated their software. I thought it nothing short of miraculous that a WP version of Shazam existed. (It's never been updated that I can see, but as of a few months ago, it still mostly worked.) Every now and again, the software would lose track of certain hardware functions and a restart would be necessary. In other places, the user interface was confusing. I always had to fiddle around a bit before I could find any updates to my installed apps. More and more websites refused to cope gracefully (or at all) with Internet Explorer.

    I'd probably still be using the Lumia 640 had it not taken the opportunity to disappear one day. Microsoft's locator service placed it near a major highway, and I took it at face value, figuring that I'd foolishly left the phone somewhere on the outside of my vehicle and it had blown away, never to be seen again. It was about this time, much to my great disgust, that I discovered the carrier had put some sort of worthless insurance on the phone's service plan. I tried and failed to collect any benefit because I had to produce at least a piece of the phone before they'd replace it. Some months later, an iPhone SE replaced it. I probably would have never thought any more of it, but the Lumia 640 later surfaced in a stack of winter clothing.

    I shunned Windows 10 Phone when the thing was in active use because I didn't (still don't) care at all for Windows 10 on desktops or tablets. Since it didn't seem likely to bother me now -- and who knows, in enough time, the avenue for an upgrade might not exist -- I went ahead and let the thing upgrade itself. It wasn't exactly flawless, in that my e-mail configurations were tossed right out the window. A few apps disappeared and others lost their configurations. I've never actually gotten any of my e-mail accounts to work with the new system. The new OS really is rather sluggish on the Lumia 640's hardware. I'm sure that just like its PC related brethren, that it slurps as much data as it possibly can, with or without permission.

    I do think that if Microsoft had sanded down some of the rough edges, and really pushed to get developers interested in the platform, that Windows Phone could have been a success. In a way, it's sad to think that it's just another historical footnote, steamrolled into irrelevance by Microsoft's continued incompetence and the duopoly of Android and iPhone.

    (For whatever it's worth, I utterly despise Android. Amongst many other things, it's a great study in how not to implement user interfaces.)

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Windows Phone could have been a viable competitor...

      "I thought it nothing short of miraculous that a WP version of Shazam existed. (It's never been updated that I can see, but as of a few months ago, it still mostly worked.)"

      Why use Shazam? WP8 built-in search app itself could be used to identify music. Worked just as well as Shazam does in my current phone. In WP10 the music ID was put in the Cortana app.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows Phone could have been a viable competitor...

        Music functions in Cortana on mobile ceased some time ago AFAIK

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Windows Phone could have been a viable competitor...

          Ah, thanks! Didn't know since I've been out of WP loop for a couple years now.

  10. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Ballmer laughed

    Remember when the iPhone came out and Steve Ballmer laughed about "they call that a phone?". Ballmer didn't get it. As Steve Jobs said the iPhone is your life in your pocket.

    Alas I can't find the video of Ballmer now.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Ballmer laughed

      Alas I can't find the video of Ballmer now.

      This one?

      1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

        Re: Ballmer laughed

        Thanks. No it was one with less talk and he more openly mocked the iPhone.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There was no way

    I was going to use Windows Phone or anything Microsoft again after they killed off the Symbian that I loved.

    Until I got a Lumia 1020 for the camera and stayed for the Windows Phone 8/8.1 system, which I found really smooth, logical, intuitive and reliable. I still use it now.

    I've long ago got used to the lack of apps, but never really got my head around Microsoft's 'strategy' for phones. Selling Windows Phone to Nokia was designed to kill Nokia, because the deal was over the partially baked WP7 system which MS rapidly replaced with 8/8.1. And 8.1 was truly great, but MS lost customers and developers in the transition.

    'Learning from their mistakes' with WP7, MS did the exact same thing again by announcing W10 mobile, and not making a smooth transition from 8.1. They behaved like they did with desktop in the 90s, apparently forgetting there were more popular alternatives. Developers and users turned away

    Now it's all over, and I can continue with my Lumia 1020 until an Android impresses me as much.

    Meanwhile, because it's open source, enthusiasts maintain and update Symbian apps to this day.

    I love that video of Balmer laughing at the iPhone

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "They behaved like they did with desktop in the 90s"

      Actually DOS, 9x and NT operating systems were much more compatible in the 90s than the mobile OS MS made in the 2010s. One of the reason MS jumped out of OS/2 was the lack of compatibility - ironically the made their own OS/2s in the mobile space.

      While I can understand the abandoning the CE system, the 7 - 8.x - 10 changes were schizophrenic, no platform challenged by established competitors could have sustained that.

      Probably in the 90s while already the dominant OS they were still afraid - as the market was smaller than today - that someone could have challenged that. In the 2010s they believed to have become much stronger than they actually were.

      Anyway the mess they're doing with Windows 10 releases shows they're still out of touch with reality - and the only driver looks to be to catch up with established slurping operations only.

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: There was no way

      > Selling Windows Phone to Nokia was designed to kill Nokia,

      That makes no sense. MS _paid_ Nokia to take WP, they paid a $billion a year (for 5 years). This was to kill Symbian, Maemo/Meego, Meltemi, and other projects and to associate the Nokia brand, the top phone company, with WP.

      After the five years with Nokia phone division make a loss every quarter in spite of MS's payment, they decided to drop WP and go Android with Nokia-X. As they were now ~95% of WP, Microsoft had to buy the division to keep WP going.

      Killing Nokia wasn't 'by design' it was by incompetence.

  12. arctic_haze

    WinPhone was doomed regardless of its quality

    I am no fan of the OS but I know that it failed mostly because carriers did not want to sell it. They were afraid of the kiss oof death so many Microsoft partners had received. So in the end it was Ballmer's fault, the price of too many years of sucking life forces from anyone using a Microsoft OS on their devices.

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