Here’s How The End Of Windows Phone Support Impacts IT

Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt
Posted: 07/19/2017
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Windows Phone

The battle for mobile OS king is essentially down to two fighters, now that Microsoft has officially ended support for its Windows 8.1 operating system, lessening the options for enterprise IT departments to support.

As of July 11, 2017, Windows Phone 8.1 no longer receives software updates or technical support, just three years after its debut. The move highlights a time in the company’s history where its decades-long desktop OS dominance just couldn’t make the switch to a mobile environment.

For companies whose employees are using Windows Phone 8.1, this doesn’t mean the device is useless, but will become antiquated sooner than most, considering OS updates from Apple and Android are fast and furious, pushing through new software and patches on an annual basis, if not sooner. It also means new apps being built for the enterprise likely won’t be compatible with the now-outdated Windows OS.

In a recent survey fielded by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, IT executives said Windows Phone was the second-most used OS in their business. Nearly 23% of respondents said iOS was their mobile software system of choice, with 20% laying claim to Windows Phone, followed by 18% taking advantage of Android’s various operating systems.

Furthering to complicate the issue, 33% of those respondents said their enterprise was flexible, allowing for a variety of mobile operating systems – including Windows.

So what does this mean for IT departments? Clearly there’ll be a shift over time, but the eventual loss of Windows will actually make the job for mobile heads a little less complicated. Now that Blackberry has bowed out of the hardware device market and been lapped in OS capabilities, enterprises can keep an eye on just two dominant systems in iOS and Android.

As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, Android surpassed Windows as an operating system across all devices – desktop or mobile – recording a 37.93% market share versus a 37.91% share. It was the first time in recorded history that Windows did not lead the pack.

Where this helps the enterprise is the streamlining of device management and security protocols. Windows as a whole has been the target of global cyber security breaches in recent months due to unpatched devices and gaps. Now that Windows Phone 8.1 will essentially go the way of the do-do bird, it takes one more item off the plate of IT departments.

On top of that, when native enterprise apps are being built for employees, developers can focus on creating design and functionality for the two dominant OS models, speeding time to market and reducing cost.

The end of support for Windows Phone 8.1 doesn’t spell doom for Microsoft, of course, but it certainly helps the enterprise bring stronger focus to its existing and future platforms.

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Jason Koestenblatt
Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt