Microsoft retires Windows Phone

Redmond will only issue security updates now

Windows Phone 8

Microsoft is finally stepping out of the mobile operating system market, declaring itself finished with Windows Phone.

Joe Belfiore, Redmond's global VP of operating systems, told followers on Twitter yesterday that Windows 10 Mobile, the latest incarnation of the company's mobile OS, would no longer receive feature updates, or new hardware.

"We'll continue to support the platform.. bug fixes, security updates, etc. But building new features/hw [hardware] aren't the focus," he admitted.

"Many companies still deploy to their employees and we will support them!"

He added: "As an individual end-user, I switched platforms for the app/hw diversity. We will support those users too! Choose what's best 4 u."

The Verge took that to mean Belfiore, like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has switched to Android.

In a bald admission, Belfiore explained Microsoft had attempted to incentivise developers to build apps for Windows Phone, but that the pool of users was just too small.

Windows Phone has always had a small slice of the mobile operating system market, but that share fell from 0.8% in March 2016 to 0.1% in March 2017, according to analyst firm IDC.

Microsoft bet big - but late - on the mobile market when it bought Nokia's phone business for 4.6 billion in 2014, but has failed to make a success of it, writing down the investment the next summer.

The news comes amid analyst predictions that Microsoft may axe its successful Surface hardware range by 2019, owing to CEO Satya Nadella's focus on software and cloud.

In the meantime, Microsoft is creating iOS and Android versions of its software, such as its Edge browser, and Belfiore hinted Microsoft is bringing its Windows 10 Mobile keyboard to those operating systems via SwiftKey, which it bought back in 2016.

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