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 Microsoft really cannot be bothered to let developers who are still supporting apps on the platform use its store to distribute updates.
The company had already axed the ability for developers to submit new apps for the doomed platform at the end of October last year. Today brings the Windows 8.x saga to an end – with developers no longer able to shovel out updates ... to say there'll be no more updates.
Windows Phone developers, today is your last chance to submit an update for your apps and add a banner/message explaining to wp8/wp8.1 users that you won't be able to update the app anymore starting Monday. We had a lot of fun altogether. #wpdev #rip pic.twitter.com/Vpen0srRPK— Rudy Huyn (@RudyHuyn) June 29, 2019
The long-previewed axe has swung the week after former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates described ceding the mobile market to Google's Android operating system as his greatest mistake. To be fair, it is only one of a long line of "greatest mistakes" his Billness has 'fessed up to. Back in 2013, Gates even admitted that the Ctrl-Alt-Del keyboard combination was another example of the breed.
The list is endless, but will be small comfort for those invested in the Windows Mobile ecosystem who are now forced to watch the thing wither and die.
The death throes of Microsoft's mobile phone strategy have a while to run yet. Updates can still be distributed for apps with Windows 8.x packages aimed at Windows 10 devices, something that should continue for a little longer unless someone in Redmond accidentally kicks the cable out of the server sitting under Joe Belfiore's desk.
Yes, we know the support page is a little nonsensical. For its part, Microsoft is non-committal and said of the 2019 cutoff: "The Store may continue to work after the end of support date."
As for Windows 10 Mobile itself, support for 1703 (found on the Lumia 640 and 640XL models) ran out on 11 June and the final supported version 1709 will see no more fixes, security or otherwise, from 10 December.
Availability of updates after that date is a moot point as outfits like WhatsApp desert the platform.
And Microsoft? Its advice remains: "We recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device." ®