Microsoft Shutting Down Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2012-03-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microsoft plans on shutting down its Windows Marketplace for Mobile service for Windows Mobile 6.x, Windows Phone's predecessor.

Microsoft is shutting down its Windows Marketplace for Mobile service for Windows Mobile 6.x, the increasingly antiquated predecessor to Windows Phone.

€œBeginning May 9, 2012, the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace service will no longer be available,€ read a note posted on the Microsoft Answers Website. €œStarting on this date, you will no longer be able to browse, buy or download applications directly onto your Windows Mobile 6.x phone€ through the Marketplace. 

However, applications and games downloaded before that date will continue to work on devices. €œWindows Mobile applications and games that are compatible with Windows Mobile 6.x may still be available directly from their developers or via third-party marketplaces,€ added the posting. The shutdown will not affect the Windows Phone Marketplace, which offers applications and games for Microsoft€™s newer Windows Phone.

News of the shutdown quickly found its way onto tech Websites such as TechCrunch.

Microsoft launched Windows Mobile 6.5 in October 2009 with diminished expectations. During Microsoft€™s Venture Capital Summit the previous month, CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly suggested the company had €œscrewed up€ its smartphone franchise, whose market share had been steadily eroding in the face of fierce competition from the likes of Google Android. Windows Mobile 6.5 was supposed to act as a sort of stopgap measure until Microsoft could launch a new and improved smartphone operating system, which turned out to be Windows Phone 7.

Windows Mobile 6.5 nonetheless failed to stop that erosion. The same business customers who traditionally gravitated to Microsoft€™s mobile products began to embrace the Apple iPhone and Google Android devices in greater numbers.

But Microsoft€™s current Windows Phone push, despite some high-profile devices from Nokia and other manufacturing partners, has so far failed to translate into significant gains in U.S. smartphone market share. According to research firm comScore, Microsoft€™s share of total U.S. smartphone subscribers declined from 5.4 percent in October 2011 to 4.4 percent in January 2012.

That dip might be partially due to Windows Mobile, as users abandon it in favor of either Windows Phone or a rival smartphone operating system. In that case, the loss of Windows Marketplace for Mobile could accelerate the Windows Mobile bleed-off, which might translate into further losses for Microsoft€™s overall smartphone market share. That being said, the faster Microsoft clears the old version away, the faster it can concentrate its whole effort on making Windows Phone a success.

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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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