Support for Windows 10 Mobile will end just over two years from now on January 9, 2018, according to information posted to Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle website.
According to the site, “Microsoft will make updates available for the Operating System, including security updates, for a minimum of 24 months after the lifecycle start date.”
Most other versions of Windows 10 will end their mainstream support lifecycle in October 2020.
The news of Windows 10 Mobile’s impending demise is an interesting follow-up to the recent release of Microsoft’s Windows 10-powered Lumia 950 phone.
Then again, Microsoft’s phone business has been struggling.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) has forecast that Microsoft will see a 10.2 percent year-over-year decline in smartphone shipments in 2015 and another drop in 2016. Additionally, the company’s smartphone market share is expected to remain flat at just over two percent through 2019, according to the IDC.
Financially, Microsoft’s smartphone business has been a drag on the company. In July, Microsoft announced a restructuring plan that cut 7,800 jobs – mostly from its phone business – after the company paid nearly $7.5 billion for Nokia’s Devices and Services business. At the time, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company was moving away from building a standalone phone business in favor of building a “vibrant Windows ecosystem.”
But that strategy doesn’t seem to be working.
According to Gartner, Windows smartphone shipments dropped to 5.87 million units in the third quarter of 2015, accounting for just 1.7 percent of the global smartphone market share. That figure was down from 3 percent in the same quarter last year. Gartner’s forecast did not see Windows 10 as contributing to any great comeback, either.
So it is possible that Microsoft is weighing an exit from the smartphone business or some other strategic shift, and doesn’t want to commit itself to supporting the mobile software over a longer term.
We’ll have to wait and see.