A New York Post report that one of Microsoft's more celebrated U.S. business customers for Windows Phones is dumping the platform raises some interesting questions about Redmond's future mobility plans.
Microsoft has been working to get out of the phone business for the past couple of years. The company is not currently manufacturing any new Windows Phones. And Windows Phones that are still being used won't get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update coming out later this year. Instead, some subset of existing models will only get something internally known as "Feature 2," which is believed to be a dead-end branch of Windows 10 Mobile.
I asked Microsoft officials for comment on the NYPD's plans. No word back so far.
Update (August 29): Microsoft isn't saying much. The only statement, courtesy of a Microsoft spokesperson, is "Microsoft is proud of our partnership with the NYPD. We will continue to support the NYPD's Windows Phones."
Update No. 2 (August 29): The NYPD responded to The Post's story, acknowledging that the agency will be moving to iPhones from Windows Phone. A couple of tidbits from the official response that are interesting: The NYPD got the Windows Phones for "no cost" as part of the original deal, with the option of moving off the devices to something else -- again for "no cost" -- after two years. The free-phone-hardware part of the contract seems to be what swayed the NYPD away from Android or i-devices in the first place. (Thanks to Neowin for the pointer to the NYPD response.)
NYPD's seeming defection from Windows Phone is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, Microsoft officials have held up NYPD as an example of the kind of customer that Microsoft's top brass seem to believe they could win over with some type of new business-focused Windows 10 handset at some point in the future.
But if businesses don't find Microsoft's mobile productivity, security and management capabilities interesting enough, is there any point in the company trying yet again to infiltrate the mobile-phone market? It was already increasingly hard to make a case that Microsoft would be able to find the exact moment to try to make a comeback in mobile, beyond trying to strengthen its slowly dwindling PC/tablet stronghold. It's growing increasingly tougher to see what Microsoft could bring to the party to entice businesses to give up their iPhones and Android phones....