Microsoft To Abandon The Bastard Child Of Windows Phone In Two Months

Remember Windows Phone 7.8? Microsoft built it as a stop-gap measure to lessen the ire of Windows Phone 7.5 users, a group technologically precluded from making the leap to Windows Phone 8. If you had forgotten about it don’t worry, Microsoft is about to do the same.

Mary Jo Foley today detailed the coming death-dates of a number of Microsoft products, including Windows Phone 7.8. As it turns out, 7.8’s moment of expiration has been known for some time: September 9th.

Today Microsoft published — and then retracted, it seems — a note to computing users concerning the end of support for a number of its products. The list included a note that Windows Phone 7.8 would lose “mainstream support” in September.

It wasn’t clear what that meant. According to the company’s general life cyle page, consumer products generally receive a two year period of updates and support, after which they are no longer supported. There isn’t “extended support” for such products, as there is for versions of desktop Windows, for example.

Windows Phone 7.8 is being axed after a mere 18 months. The official verbiage: “Microsoft will make updates available for the Operating System on your phone, including security updates, for a period of 18 months after the lifecycle start date.” In short, if you are on Windows Phone 7.8 you have a few months left before your phone won’t update ever again.

How many Windows Phone 7.8 users are left? About 17% of the larger Windows Phone market, so it’s no small tally.

Windows Phone 7.8 was never more than a band-aid. Microsoft decided that Windows Phone needed to join the larger Windows family, and the original Windows Phone 7, 7.1 7.5, and 7.8 devices could never share in that future. Thus, to see Microsoft walk quickly away from the product is hardly surprising.

What does it gain from its support? Aside from honoring the implicit promise to not leave users behind when providing them with a platform to by into, little.

Strategically, that is, Windows Phone 7.8 is moot.