Microsoft admits the Windows Mobile platform is dead

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Windows 10 Mobile
Windows phones could be about to make a comeback.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft’s effort to compete with Android and iOS is over.

In a series of tweets, the company’s vice president of operating systems admitted that there will be no new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile in the future. He blamed the decision on a lack of support from third-party app developers.

You might have assumed Windows Mobile was already dead. According to the latest data from Statista, the platform held a measly 0.3 percent of mobile market share as of the fourth quarter of 2016. In early 2017, it became too small to even bother counting.

Microsoft fought on for as long as possible, but its focus on Windows Mobile has been dwindling. Now company executive Joe Belfiore, who switched to Android just like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has admitted the platform is dead.

“Of course we’ll continue to support the platform” with bug fixes and security updates,” Belfiore tweeted, but adding new features and building new hardware “aren’t the focus.”

“We tried VERY HARD to invent app devs,” he explained. “Paid money.. wrote apps 4 them.. but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest.”

Microsoft has taken unique steps to attract Windows Mobile users, like adding features such as Continuum, which let you turn your smartphone into a PC by adding a monitor and keyboard. But like BlackBerry, the company learned a platform just doesn’t work without apps.

Microsoft’s own apps and services are already available on Android and iOS, and often get new features on these platforms before they come to Windows Mobile. We can expect to see a lot more of this in the future, as well as greater focus on Windows 10.

One thing we almost certainly won’t see now is that Surface Phone that’s been rumored for years. Not unless it comes with Android.