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Microsoft Cellphones Software

Microsoft To Shut Down App Store For Windows Mobile 154

angry tapir writes "Microsoft will soon shut down the app store for Windows Mobile, the phone platform it is phasing out. Starting May 9, users of Windows Mobile phones won't be able to browse, buy or download apps to their phones from the Marketplace, Microsoft wrote in a letter to customers. The move doesn't affect users of Microsoft's new mobile OS, who will continue to be served by the Windows Phone Marketplace."
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Microsoft To Shut Down App Store For Windows Mobile

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  • by BiggestPOS ( 139071 ) * on Friday March 09, 2012 @09:52AM (#39300053) Homepage
    I'm sure both users are going to be really upset.
    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @09:54AM (#39300065)

      Well- I'm sure they wouldn't have done this before running it past Gates and Allen. So the two users are probably fine with it.

      • Re:Windows Mobile? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09, 2012 @09:56AM (#39300091)

        I still actually use Windows Phone 6.2 by HTC. It is actually really good phone and more open than any other phone platform, as you can run binaries for whatever source. Symbian used to be like this too, but it looks like everyone went the app store route in recent years.

        • Re:Windows Mobile? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mws1066 ( 1057218 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @09:59AM (#39300115)
          You can run unsigned code on Android. There's an option you can enable in the settings. Then you can just drop a .apk onto the device via USB, wifi, whatever, and install it manually.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by EvilBudMan ( 588716 )

            I don't think every Android device will let you side load especially AT&T.

            • I thought they changed their policies on newer devices. In any case, all you need is superoneclick to change that.

              • Well SuperOneClick might not do that. It doesn't work with HTC phones. There are other ways to root a phone. The point is, you shouldn't have to go to all of that trouble. I'm sure the newer devices have this unlocked now and they did change their policy but sometimes it takes a phone call to get that OTA that fixes that problem on older phones. They will tell you that you are not near a tower when you have line of sight to one and explain to them where the tower is that you are operating from. That was a p

                • I totally agree that you shouldn't have to do that. But... if it's the carrier that is creating the limitations for you, not the platforms themselves then there really isn't any value making comparisons of platforms. It's the carrier that sucks and you are just screwed by only being covered by one. In other words.. Old versions of Mickeysoft phone aren't the only platform that allows sideloading.. it's just the only one that happens to be available to you.
                  • No actually I finally got an Adroid Phone to side load but it took a phone call for 2) OTA's first. I think Symbian allows side loading but Nokia is going to abandon that.

            • AT&T? That's a new Android device I'd never heard of.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              At&t doesn't lock them down lake that any more. On my latest phone, a galaxy 2S skyrocket, it's just a matter of enabling it in the settings.

            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              AT&T used to make a half-assed effort to disable sideloading, but it was easy to disable their disable. You could still install via USB even with it. They don't even try to disable it now,.

          • You can run unsigned code on Android. There's an option you can enable in the settings. Then you can just drop a .apk onto the device via USB, wifi, whatever, and install it manually.

            You can download CAB files, or use special EXE files, to install stuff outside of Microsoft's app store on Windows Mobile too.No option enabling required. In fact, before they made their app store, that was the only way to do it. The best app store for winmo is Omarket anyway, which offers tons of freeware for download instead of the expensive (especially in MS's store) winmo commercial apps.

            • by s73v3r ( 963317 )

              I fail to see any difference.

              • My point exactly. The grandparent-post seemed to be indicating this was something you could do with Android, and not with Windows Mobile.

                Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, has to be jailbroken - because Microsoft seems to think copying Apple is a good idea now.

              • I should also point out that Google allows vendors to disable that option, and AT&T at one time had all of their Android handsets shipped with that option disabled.
          • > You can run unsigned code on Android.

            ...and Blackberry.

          • It's defaulted to off though, and probably a majority of Android users don't know it exists or are locked out of changing it by their carrier (without rooting it) in the US.

            Pre WP7 there wasn't any code signing necessary, so deploying to WM6.5 and below was as simple as it is on a Windows PC.

        • Look like you've never heard of maemo.

        • by s73v3r ( 963317 )

          It is actually really good phone and more open than any other phone platform

          I can build Android from source, and run whatever binaries I find and want to run.

          but it looks like everyone went the app store route in recent years.

          Having an app store in no way precludes being able to run whatever you want. It just gives most users a far, far more convenient way to find software.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      All of their users is.

    • by zrbyte ( 1666979 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @10:54AM (#39300647)
      It had an app store? Wow.
      • Even though Windows Mobile is essentially unchanged in terms of binary comparability since v1.0, they only introduced Windows Market with version 6.1 or 6.2 a couple years ago.

        When I stopped using my HTC Tilt 2 late last year, there were still only a few hundred apps (800?). By the time they launched, Microsoft had already announced that Windows Phone 7 would come out, and would break comparability with the 6.x and earlier Windows Mobile line.

        So if you're a developer, what are you going to do? Invest time

    • by Ucklak ( 755284 )

      I'm so glad I only buy things with the 'Plays For Sure' badge.

      • Exactly.

        MS has given me the impression that *none* of their consumer offerings are worth bothering with, because what was praised elsewhere as "MS kills dead products quick" is "MS first overhypes products that later get dumped, stranding users."

        The question is what will become of the whole Metro thing. From this far back it feels like Vista II, but then I felt that way in 1995 about Microsoft Internet Explorer, and even Windows itself in 1994.

    • Yeah, the guy I gave my Windows Phone to is going to be pissed.

    • Re:Windows Mobile? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 09, 2012 @12:02PM (#39301349) Journal

      Yeah you THINK its funny, but we are about to get a ring side seat for the biggest trainwreck since....hell i can't even think of a trainwreck that big. Its gonna finally put those MS Bob and WinME jokes to rest, let me put it that way. I mean have you TRIED metro? Its a fricking smart phone UI that MSFT expects users to run on a fricking non touch enabled desktop! Even the Yahoo product shill who answers everything with "Buy it now! you should really buy it! Seriously buy it now!" after trying it said 'Uhhhh...you should probably wait until you have something touch enabled and get it then" which for her is "My eyes! the goggles they do nothing!" and all because every single mobile attempt by MSFT has been a disaster. I mean for the love of God they are gonna have Windows 8 on ARM! You are gonna have a version of Windows that won't actually run Windows programs! Do you have ANY idea how massive the returns on all those "Windows tablets" is gonna be?

      I think this just proves what I've been saying for ages, Ballmer is a shitty CEO that has zero common sense, much less vision, and that the mobile division should have been spun off so they wouldn't be held back by the lumbering PHB dominated desktop division as it would have protected them both from that dreaded buzzword "synergy". I mean his whole damned plan hinges on developers being so damned stupid they'll waste their time developing Metro apps just so they'll have something to sell on the WinARM app store! When we all know that for anything more complex than a fart app you're gonna have to write two versions, one for x86 and one for ARM as those two platforms are as different as night and day when it comes to IPC and memory constraints. And all so Ballmer can go "and with this we'll FINALLY get a big chunk of the pie now owned by Apple and Google and we'll be as sexy and hip as they are! yes we will! We really really will! STOP LAUGHING AT ME!"

      Allow me to end with this heartfelt apology to the Appleites: Remember when we all laughed our asses off when you were stuck with the Pepsi CEO, you know, the one that went from one lame idea to another, with just this big sprawling mess of fail? yeah well..I'm sorry alright? Jokes over, ha ha...its not funny anymore! Hey fairs fair, you got Jobs back, can we have Bill back please? The sweaty monkey has gone crazy!

      • Another thing I forgot to add above - I know that most CEOs are non-tech people, and I don't expect Ballmer to be all up to speed on the differences b/w Windows 7 & 8. But not knowing the difference b/w running on x86 and running on ARM? Seriously - this is someone who's been around for past architectural introductions, such as Windows NT, the support for RISC, the tiff b/w MS and Intel, the discontinuation of NT on RISC and he doesn't know that it's Wintel, not Windows legacy apps that have made it i
      • Microsoft is "Windows", that is its business model, that is its focus. Microsoft is a Windows Company. It only knows Windows. Everything else it tries ends up with EPIC FAIL written on it. It tries to tie everything to Windows and just doesn't get why people aren't going Windows XP Tablet or Zune or ... whatever.

        Metro/Win8 is NOT going to work, because it is radical departure from what every stupid windows users knows. I don't care what their usability studies say, they aren't studying the "where is my Outl

  • by bemymonkey ( 1244086 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @10:03AM (#39300143)

    Holy crap, I used WinMo for years and never knew. WTF?

    • It was just being introduced when Android was getting big, back in mid to late 2009 IIRC.

    • by zrbyte ( 1666979 )
      My thoughts exactly. I repaced my WinMo phone just last december. Would have loved an app store, had I known about it :p
    • Probably because you didn't need the three or four apps that were in there.

    • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday March 09, 2012 @02:03PM (#39302799)

      There was, and the issue was the fact that it was about the worst implementation of a mobile app store I've ever used (and I've used Apple's, Google's, Amazon's, and the WP7 implementation).

      The first issue was the inherent problems of getting software for Windows Mobile in general. Windows Mobile 5/6 came at a time of some ludicrously awkward and diverse-in-a-bad-way hardware. Some devices had a resistive touch screen. Some had a keyboard. Some had both. Some only had hardware dialpads. Some had 2 hardware softkeys, others had four. Some had 240x320 displays, some had 240x320 displays, some had 480x640, some had 480x800. Some had barcode scanners. Some had IR ports. Some had Bluetooth. Some had Wi-Fi. Some had GPS. Some had a CompactFlash slot. Some had 200MHz CPUs and 64MBytes of RAM, others had 1GHz CPUs and 512MB of RAM. Try - just TRY - developing for a platform where you can't make a single assumption about input *or* output. There were essentially two ways that developers overcame this hardware diversity. The first was to develop for a handful of specific models. While this streamlined support and produced a standard of compatibility, it was problematic for the developer (whose market was limited by the phones available) and the customer (who either couldn't get a piece of software, or had to choose a particular phone/PDA based on the necessity of an application). The second route that could be taken was to have a developer extensively test as many handsets as possible, and develop the UI to compensate. While this made applications mostly consistent, I'm sure I don't have to describe the nightmare of testing (and debugging) dozens of handsets, and implicitly the fact that programs of this nature were typically much larger as the installation CAB file had to include all the different permutations. Even this second route led to the first to some extent. Some developers (notably SPB and Jeyo) sidestepped this a bit by making extensions to the OS itself and leaving the input/output/display to WinMo to figure out, but others like DeLorme had applications that would technically function (street maps for all of the USA for my laptop, and an export function for my phone so I can GPS for free without a data plan? yes please!), but in the most arcane way possible no matter what hardware you threw at it.

      So now that the nightmare of developing for WinMo has been established, consider the pathetic history of selling software for WinMo. I remember working at Staples, having a revolving rack of PDA software, priced from $9.99 to $49.99, that shipped on SD cards. Back then, the PDA software market used the retail model that PCs used, because back then, smartphones were considered portable desktops that did the core subset of PC functionality. The concept of buying apps on the fly made little sense when data was transferred over a serial cable, and later USB, from Outlook. On the flip side, the developers of mobile OS software were following the PC model as well; many listed their stuff on Download.com/Tucows/Softpedia, each of which had a mobile section. Other companies like Handango and PocketPCFreeware.net catered to the mobile crowd exclusively. This was, of course, in addition to developers hosting their own websites, taking care of their own transactions, and providing their own e-mail support.

      When Apple came out with the App Store for the iPhone, it wasn't entirely breaking new ground. Apps had been sold for mobile devices forever, Steam modeled a successful software distribution channel, Apple had plenty of success with selling songs and movies in their media store, and Installer.app and Cydia had been enabling the installation of software on the iPhone for nearly a year before. The iPhone and the App Store did help make a critical change in the way that the smartphone was thought of: no longer was a mobile phone the extension of a desktop that facilitated the sending and receiving of e-mail and integrating one's Outlook contacts with their phone. The Smartphone started to be looked at as its own pla

  • by mws1066 ( 1057218 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @10:03AM (#39300153)
    The real question is how successful M$'s next app store/phone offering can possible become. Google and Apple are quite extensively entrenched in the market - Microsoft has its work cut out for it. They are VERY late to the game. I think the only place their phones likely will excel is in corporate settings, becoming kind of the new Blackberries. iPhones aren't corporate enough, Android phones aren't supported enough for corporate cronies to like them, so they COULD possibly fill that particular niche.
    • Don't forget that Win8 has access to the same app store that WP8 uses. From what I've seen Ms is trying to consolidate WiMo/WP7 and all versions into one code base called Windows8 with the metro interface being the default for phones/tablets

      • As far as I know there have been exactly zero details about WP8 released. Although it is certainly reasonable to believe that MS wants to consolidate their markets it isn't clear that enough can be stripped from Win7/8 to make it work on phone hardware. And, it is a near certainty that no force on earth can push win7/8 down to the new 256MB ram devices that were just announced for the "tango" version of wp7.

        It also begs the question what will happen to the existing silverlight based wp7 apps. Win8 "metro

      • Are you from the future because last I checked Windows 8 is still in preview and windows phone 8 hasn't been seen at all in the wild yet you're talking about this like it's after the fact.
    • In my experience, both iPhones and and Android phones are being used in corporate settings. Both have decent Exchange-support, and reasonable enough security policies to go along with it. I know one large company here still clinging to Windows Mobile 6, but rumor has it they are slowly moving to Android instead. So I don't think the "corporate niche" exists for MS to fill; at the very least it is not big enough to make WP7/8/whatever sustainable.
      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        I found that the iPhones and Android phones don't do Exchange well enough (for me, at least). And, of course, there's the thing with trusting your data with Apple or Google, which I don't.
        • by LDAPMAN ( 930041 )

          I'm not sure about Google but Apple does not have access to your data. The phone talks direct to the Exchange server.

        • by s73v3r ( 963317 )

          And, of course, there's the thing with trusting your data with Apple or Google, which I don't.

          And if you're using Exchange, you don't have to worry. At least, no more than you would about having to trust Microsoft with your data.

    • by Tridus ( 79566 )

      Maybe. Or maybe the negative reputation that Windows 8 is getting in the corporate world for the asstacular new desktop UI will cause decision makers to also shun it on tablets, particularly since x86 tablets won't have very good battery life and ARM based Windows 8 tablets can't join Active Directory domains anyway (nullifying one of the advantages).

      I don't see how it can take off as a corporate tablet OS at the same time as it's being shunned as a corporate desktop OS, and you're NOT going to see signific

      • Don't forget: as of the current preview build of Windows 8, you also can't add tablets to a domain. So they're REALLY shooting themselves in the foot by assuming that tablets are only consumer-level devices that will never find a footing in business.
      • by afidel ( 530433 )
        particularly since x86 tablets won't have very good battery life

        Why do you say that? The specs for Ivy Bridges based ultrabooks are 10+ hours so I'm not sure how removing the keyboard to produce a tablet would make it any worse.
        • Generally Intel x86 processors have at least an order of magnitude higher power consumption than Atom which has an order magnitude higher than ARM. Atom is getting better but still has some work. The current Sandy Bridge ultrabook Core i5 series has TDP listed at 17W which is good for that category but Intel Atom's lowest is 3.5W. The TDP for a Apple's A5 is 0.5W as a comparison. How manufacturers get more battery life is by putting in more powerful (bigger) batteries in ultrabooks.

          Using the Apple as an

    • A bit off topic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <scott DOT lovenberg AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 09, 2012 @11:07AM (#39300775)
      A bit off topic, but please stop referring to Microsoft as "M$". It looks really childish and makes people think you're a troll.
      • A bit off topic, but please stop referring to Microsoft as "M$".

        In comment bodies, I agree. But in comment subjects, it saves seven characters, especially seeing as M$ looks like it'd be the name of a string variable in the BASIC interpreters that Microsoft published as its first products.

      • by Zadaz ( 950521 )

        Besides, have you looked at the stock prices lately? If there was any snarky logic to it you should be writing Apple as A$$le.

  • Even when I used a Windows Mobile phone, I barely ever used Marketplace. It seemed to be rather empty, and was too little, too late for app distribution on that platform.
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @11:30AM (#39301031)

    The move doesn't affect users of Microsoft's new mobile OS, who will continue to be served by the Windows Phone Marketplace."


    The move should serve as a warning to customers considering purchasing a Windows Phone 7 phone about future support prospects, with the impending release of Windows 8 based phones.

    Just one more way of many that Microsoft/Nokia have screwed up their marketing message

  • This should be a cautionary tale for those who wonder what happens when a company no longer "feels like" supporting a previous version of their product shutting down the online services needed to support it.

    The app store was not a big deal nobody used it and there were far better sources of windows mobile software.

    With the new products your ONLY choice for installing software is the vendors online service.

    No conflict of interest there...vendors gain financially by pulling the plug, retroactivly retracting

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      This should be a cautionary tale for those who wonder what happens when a company no longer "feels like" supporting a previous version of their product shutting down the online services needed to support it.

      Most people think "Well, Microsoft was never successful in this market, Apple is still strong there. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't happen to me," but this happened to me recently with the iPhone as well.

      I needed to install an app that required iOS 4. My phone 3G was running iOS 3.1.3 (I hadn't upgraded at the time due to the reports that iOS 4 was so slow when it first came out). Ok, time to upgrade iOS, right? Well I did the phone backup and update thing, and when it was done, I had iOS 4 on my machine, but

      • by pbjones ( 315127 )

        option/alt click 'restore' and you may be able to restore an old backup with your old software. You were smart, and you did do backups, didn't you?

        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          option/alt click 'restore' and you may be able to restore an old backup with your old software. You were smart, and you did do backups, didn't you?

          Yup. And the backups restored all my settings. But for some reason, the backups did not restore my apps, or my audio files, though that didn't concern me since they're all in iTunes anyway.

          I don't know why the backup refused to restore apps. I'd heard that apps don't get restored if you're restoring to a different version of the OS from what created the backup, but it should have been 3.1.3 both ways.

      • by syzler ( 748241 )

        While I can understand your pain, this really is not Apple's fault, but the app developer's choice.

        App developers can set the deployment version of an app to iOS 3.1. Granted, newer API methods/libraries are unavailable, however it is easy for a developer to test for the presence of a newer API method with "-(BOOL)respondsToSelector:(SEL)aSelector") before using the method within the app. Granted this may not be possible for apps whose core functionality are centered upon the functionality of the new API

        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          Oh I don't have any problem with app developers using new interfaces only available with the new OS. None of this is a slam on the developers themselves. I fully expect that if I'm running my apps on an older OS, eventually I won't be able to get updates anymore (and indeed, that's what had been happening).

          What I object to is -only- making available the most recent version (as far as I know, that's not a decision of the developers), and there being no system to allow older OSes to download the most recent v

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @04:38PM (#39305195) Journal

    You know why MS can't break it into the markets that Apple is dominating?

    They have no commitment, no follow thru. None at all.

    Zune? gone. Windows Mobile shit? gone. each generation didn't work with the next, and since they have no problem scrapping things, no one wants to commit.

    MS Kin? Not supported when released.

    MS tablets? they have those? rofl!

    The only thing MS has had any commitment to is their main software. Windows OS and Windows Office. If MS showed the sort of commitment they put to those items in any other market, they might actually do okay.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."