Windows Phone Dead - Is Windows Next?
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 09 October 2017

Software never dies so "dead" is perhaps too strong a way to put it, but if you still think that Windows Phone is something to bet your future on you need to think very carefully about the nature of reality. Microsoft has now gone about as far as it can in saying that Windows Mobile is no more. 

Recently it was revealed that Bill Gates was using an Android phone. Then Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's vice president of Windows Experience and ex-leader of the team responsible for the "Phone/Tablet/PC" versions of Windows, suggested that you should use an Android just like he does. And now we have his final word on the matter:




So if you were still clinging to the idea that there is life in Windows Phone you probably should be trying to be more realistic.

As I've said several times, the history of Windows Phone has been a list of mistakes and disasters. Personally I've always found Windows Phone to be usable as long as you didn't want to go beyond the basics and, yes, there really was always a dearth of third party apps. The UI was novel, but mostly as a way to distinguish itself from the other mobile operating systems available.

As Belfiore stated in earlier tweets, the real problem is that us developers never got interested enough in creating apps for Windows. Part of the problem was that without a market there was no point in creating apps and without apps there was unlikely to be a market. However, there is more to it than this simple dependency loop suggests. Windows Phone developers had to learn new tricks - it wasn't just Windows development with a few new UI components. It took a very long time before the SDK and all of the APIs settled down - they probably still haven't. 




Of course, Windows Phone isn't dead, it's just in a very deep coma. It could be brought back to life at any second, though it probably won't be. It does raise the question of what WinRT or Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps are all about? I have to admit that I lost the plot some time ago, but I suspect that's because Microsoft lost it sometime earlier. If you lookup what Universal Windows Apps are all about, it seems that they are the apps that will run on every sort of device, but with Windows Phone not in the picture the line up of 

"all Windows 10 devices – PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub and more." 

is looking a bit thin. There aren't many apps that would suit PC, Tablet, Xbox and HoloLens. It is clear that at the moment, at least, the PC is still the biggest target.


A graphic Microsoft would probably prefer to forget.
Without phones I doubt Windows 10 will ever reach 1 billion devices

So why is Microsoft messing up Windows by adding features that are designed to be used on a phone?

For example, why is it I have to use a Settings app that often just calls the old control panel when it needs to do anything serious? More to the point, why drop Win32 apps when there is no Windows Phone for them to not run on - yes I mean the double negative. 

With hindsight, Microsoft's course it crazy. Lurching from one attempt to get us to write or convert Win32 apps to UWP apps to another and yet at the end of the day the whole thing is pointless. Windows 10 is a mess because Microsoft has been attempting to make it suitable for phone apps and, guess what, now there are no phones to run them. We have an entire layer of technology that has been invented to allow Windows to run on devices that no longer have a future. 

There are many aspects of the attempt to move the technology to UWP that we could go into - the attempt to control app distribution via the app store being the biggest - however, the big problem seems to be that Microsoft really doesn't see a future in a desktop operating system of any kind.

Microsoft's current fixation is on Azure and cloud services like AI and Office.

It is writing its own apps for Android and IoS. 

It no longer matters so much if everything runs under Windows and as time goes on the desktop will be less and less of a source of profit. 

Having failed to extend Windows to mobile, Microsoft has condemned it to a long lingering death.

It will be interesting to see how many people are alienated by the coming attempts to keep Windows relevant and profitable. 

More Information

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Last Updated ( Monday, 09 October 2017 )