It appears there are changes happening related to Microsoft’s mobile strategy. Recent reports indicate that Microsoft is removing many of its Windows Phones from retail operations and that the company plans to put an end to the Lumia line of smartphone products by the end of 2016.
A WinBeta.org article indicated Microsoft has already begun to close down production of Lumia smartphones. For now, that appears to mean the 950 XL model, but others will soon have no place in Microsoft production facilities, if the reports turn out to be true.
According to an anonymous source, Microsoft plans to stop selling Lumia devices in December.
An MS Power User article appears to confirm the Lumia is being phased out. According to the article, Windows Phones are becoming scarcer at Microsoft’s own retail stores in the U.S. Depending on the source quoted, either all or most Windows Phones have been removed from storefronts.
WinBeta.org speculated that the end of life of the Lumia smartphone might pave the way for the next generation of Microsoft smartphones. The likely candidate is the Surface Phone, which the WinBeta.org article noted has been mentioned by Laura Butler, director of engineering at Microsoft. Butler didn’t make an official announcement, but instead hinted on Twitter at the possibility of a Surface Phone.
“Surface Phone not NOT confirmed,” she tweeted. The double-negative may be a cute way of unveiling the Surface Phone or an attempt to put rumours of the phone’s future release to rest.
Microsoft plans to host a Surface-related media event in October, which would be a good time to announce changes to its smartphone strategy (if the Surface Phone really is a thing).
Windows Phone has struggled to gain a foothold in the market as Microsoft faced off against both Apple iOS and Android incumbents. A recent IDC report indicated Windows Phone accounted for 0.5 per cent of the total smartphone operating system market share. Windows Phone is suffering from a 75 per cent year-over-year decline in unit shipments.