Just a few months after bringing its HERE Maps, Drive+ and Transit apps back to the Windows Store, HERE is going to pull its maps and navigation apps for Windows Phone from the Store.
According to a March 15 post on HERE's official blog, the company plans to remove its HERE-branded apps from the Windows 10 store on March 29, 2016. It also plans to limit the development of the HERE apps and maps for Windows Phone 8 to critical bug fixes only.
HERE's blog post states:
"In the last few months, we made the HERE apps compatible with Windows 10 by using a workaround that will no longer be effective after June 30, 2016. To continue offering the HERE apps for Windows 10 would require us to redevelop the apps from the ground up, a scenario that led to the business decision to remove our apps from the Windows 10 store."
I -- and others who pay attention to Microsoft -- don't know of anything that would require HERE to "redevelop" its existing Windows 8 apps "from the ground up." Other developers with Windows 8 apps haven't complained about this in upgrading their apps to support Windows 10. We also don't know why the workaround that enabled the company to bring their apps to the Windows 10 Store won't work after June 30.
I've asked Microsoft for comment on both of these questions. No word back so far.
The HERE blog also claims "the essence of the HERE apps lives on in the Windows Maps app." Microsoft is currently beta testing a revamped, Universal Windows Platform version of its Maps app for Windows 10.
The HERE post acknowledges that HERE will introduce and drop support for various operating systems, as the market dictates. Given Windows Phone's dwindling market share, I'm assuming this is the heart of the real reason HERE is eliminating support for Windows Phone.
Nokia sold its HERE mapping assets to a consortium of auto makers in August for $3 billion.