Microsoft has formally announced on its support pages that, as of December 10th 2019, Windows 10 Mobile users can no longer expect security updates and support, and Microsoft recommends that customers then move to a supported Android or iOS device.
Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 10 Mobile is a mobile OS that was released in 2015 as the successor of Windows Phone 8.1 and is essentially an edition of Windows 10 running on devices that have less than a 9-inch screen.
The end of Windows 10 Mobile support comes just over four years after Microsoft’s failed acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services businesses, which led to Microsoft having to write off $7.6 billion in 2015. At the time, tech commentators wondered why Microsoft had got into the low-margin, highly competitive phone business, and Microsoft shifted its strategy from the standalone phone business to a strategy to grow the Windows ecosystem. This effectively put the writing on the wall for Windows 10 Mobile, and many tech commentators have been waiting over the years for the formal announcement for the end of support to come.
What Is Coming To An End?
In this announcement, Microsoft has said that new security updates, non-security hot-fixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free will end for users of Windows 10 Mobile as of December 10, 2019.
Microsoft has also stressed that, although third parties or paid support programs may still provide ongoing support, Microsoft support will not publicly provide updates or patches for Windows 10 Mobile after that date.
The announcement does not mean that Windows 10 Mobile devices will shut down with the cessation of support, but that continuing to use the devices afterwards will mean higher risks because of issues such as the lack of security updates and the phasing-out of backups.
Microsoft says that only device models that are eligible for Windows 10 Mobile, version 1709 are supported through the December 10th end date. Also, for Lumia 640 and 640 XL phone models, Window 10 Mobile version 1703 was the last supported OS version and will reach end of support on June 11th, 2019.
The suggestion from Microsoft itself to Windows 10 Mobile customers is to move to a supported Android or iOS device.
Those customers who plan to keep using their Windows 10 Mobile device after the December 10th support cut-off date have been encouraged by Microsoft to manually create a backup before that date. This can be done using Settings->Update & Security->Backup>More Options and then tapping on ‘Back up now’.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
This announcement from Microsoft is certainly not unexpected. Where commercial customers are concerned, they have the same cut-off dates as domestic customers, but Microsoft has said that it will be working with many commercial customers to ensure a successful migration to a supported platform prior to the end of support date.
This is an acceptance and acknowledgement by Microsoft that most of the partners and customers of businesses already use Android or iOS platforms and devices.
Some commentators have suggested that the move to end support for Windows 10 Mobile may also be a way for Microsoft to clear the decks ready for the introduction of a new folding smartphone, codenamed ‘Andromeda’. This remains to be seen.