Will Microsoft stop selling Lumia phones this year?

Microsoft's struggles in mobile continue

Microsoft will reportedly stop selling Lumia branded devices this year, in favour of its own Microsoft Surface line up. 

That's according to an inside source at the company, speaking to the WinBeta site, who revealed Microsoft is planning to "end sales" of the Lumia line of smartphones by December. 

Microsoft bought Nokia's handset line in 2013 for 4.6 billion, including the Lumia smartphone brand, but hasn't made much of a dent in the market versus Google's Android and Apple's iPhone, leading to frequent predictions that it will either step out of making handsets entirely or ditch the Lumia name and relaunch under its own Surface brand. 

At the moment, Microsoft has few Lumia phones available. It announced the budget Lumia 535 in May and mid-range Lumia 650 in March of this year. Neither made much of an impression on our reviewers, let alone the market, with both garnering just two stars out of five. 

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The higher end models, the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL, each won three stars in our reviews, and both feature Microsoft's Continuum, which in theory lets the smartphones be used as Windows 10 PCs, powering a display and other peripherals. 

Microsoft had no official comment on the latest round of rumours, but WinBeta pointed to the Twitter feed of Laura Butler, the company's director of engineering, who keeps name dropping a Surface Phone, in one case saying it's "not NOT confirmed".

Reports suggest Microsoft is planning to hold a Surface event in October, to revamp its tablet line and perhaps unveil an all-in-one - and, if the rumours are correct, it may well include a Surface Phone in that event. 

It's no wonder the rumours about the death of Lumia and even Windows Phone persist. Microsoft has struggled to get a foothold in the important mobile market, with Gartner saying in May this year that Windows Phone market share had slid below 1% in the first quarter of the year. That fall came as wider smartphone sales expanded by 3.9 per cent. In Microsoft's financial results in July, it admitted revenue for smartphones fell by 71%

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