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Microsoft waves goodbye to Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft has had a difficult run with its Windows Phones, originally promising to become a third true mobile ecosystem but instead finding it difficult to gain support from developers. Today, the company is admitting defeat, killing off support for Windows Phone 8.1.

AdDuplex estimates that only 20 percent of Windows Phone users are running the last supported operating system, Windows 10 Mobile. This means that approximately 80 percent of phones still running Windows Phone 7, 8 and 8.1 are now officially unsupported. This is a drastically different outcome to the plan laid out by Microsoft, which stated all Windows 8 devices were to upgrade to 10.

While there is still support for Windows 10 Mobile, for the foreseeable future it remains of life support. Currently the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update is bare, containing little to no feature updates which paints a bleak future for the devices. Windows 10 Mobile is at least set for some extent of support until 2018, but is speculated to be maintenance rather than features at this point.

Microsoft put as much effort into Windows Phone 8.1 as it did the desktop version, introducing the digital assistant, Cortana, a new notification centre and UI changes. CEO Satya Nadella has dropped the “mobile-first, cloud-first” tagline in favour of what he calls the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. This focus pushed Microsoft to work on multi-device scenarios and cloud technology that doesn’t always involve Windows and would involve the company exploring the iOS and Android market. While it is just speculation at this point, the company might be giving up the Windows Phone brand to make way for Surface Phones that were rumoured last year.

KitGuru Says: I believed in Microsoft’s promises and bought into a Windows Phone a few years ago, ultimately disappointed by the lack of support. It’s a shame as users could benefit from a strong third market. What is your experience with Windows Phone? Do you still own one?

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  • Rocky40

    Windows phone was or still is a good platform it is to bad they could not get the market share they wanted from it. I really thought just maybe the Windows 10 phone version would help the platform out but I guess MS just gave up on it. Oh well what yea gonna do.

  • Dimitris

    I bought the 920 and 1020 when I lived in the UK and was really surprised by camera quality and price. When I moved to the US and really started using these little apps for a bunch of different services I realized that I just can’t afford to be missing out on all the iOS and Android benefits. Bought an One plus 3 and couldn’t be happier.

  • being in the it trade I asked some of the developers when they would be releasing apps for windows phone, and most said, we won’t be, asked why and they couldn’t tell me. its no harder to do for windows phone than it is for ios or android.

  • Nikolas Karampelas

    thank you guys for being the only site in my facebook feed that didn’t “forgot” the version of windows, everybody else is heralding the end of windows phones in general (not that we see much life, but well…).
    I respect that you don’t fall for clickbait titles.

  • Maryemclaurin

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  • Daedalus

    As a real optimist I am hoping against hope that they will come out with a Surface phone and sort out the operating system where it falls down in places. I don’t need many apps as most of the stuff on my 640XL is OK, I just have Facebook another calculator and browser. Having just bought a Surface Pro 4 i7, while they have been going cheap, a matching phone would be the business. Maybe have to go for an HP Elite X3 if they don’t do the Surface phone.

  • RomeoIsBleeding

    Biggest problem I have experienced in the time I have had Windows Phones (currently on my 3rd) is the fact that my network operator just does not release updates in a timely manner. Waiting for the update that introduced Cortana was an absolute joke and I ended up buying a new handset to get Windows 10 mobile.
    I love my Windows phones. The cameras on them are superb and even my friends who are iPhone fans readily admit this. I am going to be rather upset if I have to go back to an android phone.