What a long, strange trip it’s been. As Microsoft throws their considerable weight behind the Windows Phone platform, they’re running out of love for their still-kicking Windows Mobile OS, and today they’ve driven another nail into its coffin. According to a new email being circulated to users as I write this, the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace will officially shut down on May 9.
The move to kill the Windows Mobile Marketplace (not the newer Windows Phone Marketplace, to be clear) has been in the works for a while now — it began back in June 2011, when Microsoft announced that Windows Mobile users would no longer be able to download apps from the Marketplace website.
Fortunately, apps could still be downloaded directly to a user’s device though that functionality will soon go dark. Microsoft advises WinMo users (all 9 of you, really) to make sure to snag whatever updates you can, because you’ll be out of luck before long. It’s worth mentioning though that while Microsoft is pulling the plug on the Marketplace, there’s still no shortage of communities dedicated to pushing out new (and dare I say cool) apps to the aging OS.
I doubt that the news will break many hearts today, but Windows Mobile was an important stepping stone in the evolution of the mobile operating system. It tried (perhaps too hard) to bring translate the standard PC experience to a different kind of device, and while Microsoft ultimately tried to revamp it with Windows Mobile 6.5, the dual onslaught of iOS and Android meant it was already fighting a losing battle at that point.
Of course, Windows Mobile isn’t completely dead and buried yet. You’ll probably find more than a few WinMo-devices support your local big box store’s stock system, and a nifty mod lets you run Windows Mobile within Windows Phone — a bit of Winception, if you will.
Here’s the full email, just in case you want to save it for posterity: