Microsoft targets mid-2014 to terminate Windows Phone 8, 7.8 support
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will end support for its Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8 mobile operating systems in mid-2014.
Windows Phone 8 support, including security updates, will wind down on July 8, 2014, 18 months to the day after the start of the operating system's lifecycle; Windows Phone 7.8--a stopgap OS release that brings WP8-like experiences to older handsets--will follow suit on Sept. 9, 2014, also 18 months after launch. "Distribution of the updates may be controlled by the mobile operator or the phone manufacturer from which you purchased your phone," Microsoft states on its Support page. "Update availability will also vary by country, region and hardware capabilities."
Microsoft's announcement follows on the heels of a Software Development Engineer in Test job posting that indicates the company plans to introduce the next major release of its Windows Phone mobile operating system in late 2013. "This is a great time to join as we're completing our current release are getting ready for our next release targeting the holiday of this year and we're chartered with keeping the momentum for Windows Phone by bringing new killer devices and delightful user experiences." Microsoft adds that ideal clients will possess "experience developing or testing software for Mobile OSs," "passion for UX and making 'buttery smooth' experiences" and/or "experience with GUI automation and the challenges it presents."
Last month, Microsoft Senior Marketing Manager Greg Sullivan told PCMag.com that Windows Phone 8 smartphone owners will be able to update their devices to future versions of the OS, avoiding the fate that befell previous Windows Phone users. Sullivan did not make any formal announcements about Windows Phone 8's future, however, noting that the current version is only a few months old and still in the middle of its product cycle. "Over the course of the next several months, I wouldn't be surprised to see some exciting new devices and more interoperability before we start talking about what [operating system] is next," Sullivan said.
Despite Microsoft's long-range commitment to Windows Phone, the platform has struggled to make inroads with consumers. Research firm comScore reports Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS combined to dominate 89.7 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in the final weeks of 2012, with Windows Phone far behind at just 2.9 percent, trailing even the fading BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) OS at 6.4 percent.
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