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Microsoft Confirms It Has Sidelined Windows Mobile Development

A recent Tweet by Joe Belfiore, the public face of Microsoft's Windows Phone/Windows Mobile business over the past few years, has effectively signaled the end of the company's mobile efforts.

"[B]uilding new features [and hardware] aren't the focus," Belfiore Tweeted on Sunday in response to the question, "Is it time to leave Windows Mobile platform?"

Microsoft has continued to churn out new Windows 10 Mobile builds even in the face of 0.1 market share, never officially admitting the project was a dead end despite much industry speculation. As late as this summer, for instance, Microsoft issued one release introducing new emoji icons.

Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows and Devices -- and an admitted Android phone user -- shed further light on the subject in a series of Tweets, all adorned with unhappy emoji, including:

That lack of incentive to invest resulted in what industry player VisionMobile referred to as the "app-gap." Despite being lauded for its technical prowess in the mobile space, Windows Phone/Mobile was caught in a downward spiral attributed to a vicious cycle wherein lack of interest by users and developers reinforces the downward trend of both camps.

It's kind of a Catch-22 situation caused by the lack on inventory on the Windows store compared to the "big two" of Android and iOS. Users are turned off by the poorer selection. Less marketing potential turns off developers, so fewer new apps are created, which further turns off consumers, and so on.

"Unfortunately, lack of scale means that the top new apps come to the Windows Phone platform quite slowly, if at all, and many others are not updated," VisionMobile said a couple of years ago. "This leads to the vicious cycle of self-selection, also known as the app-gap -- most users who care about apps don't adopt Windows Phone and so in turn the platform isn't as interesting to the top developers."

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.