RIP Windows Phone!

During Microsoft’s recent Build and Inspire conference, CEO Satya Nadella dropped the company’s mantra of “mobile-first, cloud-first” in favor of a focus on intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. This new area of focus means Microsoft is now working on multi-device scenarios and cloud-powered technologies that don’t always involve Windows. Microsoft’s new mobile strategy now appears to involve making iOS and Android devices better.

Thus it is not very astonishing when the word was out that Microsoft is killing off Windows Phone 8.1 support today. The end of support marks an end to the Windows Phone era, and the millions of devices running on the operating system. For many, the end came almost a year back when there was new floating around that Microsoft was not focusing on its Smartphone (hardware and software) business anymore. AdDuplex, a cross-promotion network for Windows Store apps and games estimates that nearly 80 percent of all Windows-powered phones are still running Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, or Windows Phone 8.1 and now all of them are officially unsupported. The rest 20% are running the latest Windows 10 Mobile OS.

Windows Phone 8.1 was major update to the core mobile OS with the addition of company’s Cortana digital assistant, UI improvements and the likes. Even though it was a hallmark effort from the company, it failed to match up to the prowess of Android and iOS. Microsoft also went on to drop Lumia from its product line as almost 99% of all new smartphones ran on iOS or Android.

While Microsoft still supports Windows 10 Mobile, it’s not clear how long this will continue. Microsoft’s OS 10 update is being currently set in motion for PC platform and there is no word as to whether it will be extended for mobile platforms as well. It is also rumored that Windows 10 for mobile is being dropped from priority as there are plans to divest the business by 2018.

However, Microsoft has shied away from officially killing off its phone OS efforts, maybe for prestige reasons, but it’s been evident over the past year that the company is no longer focusing its efforts on Windows for phones and the recent gutting of more than 1000 jobs can vouch for this fact.

The major takeaway from this news could be what one’s core competency is all about. It’s fine to venture out into new businesses leveraging on one’s core competency but it’s always not guaranteed that your expertise in one particular area will help you do well in uncharted waters.

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