The letter from the HealthVault team claimed that Microsoft has recently "seen some issues with the app due to compatibility problems.""We want to continue to provide a reliable HealthVault experience for Windows Phone, which we believe will be best delivered through the HealthVault website," said the note. "We will therefore be ending our support for the app and removing it from the Windows Phone Store."The team said the removal of the app "has no impact on the information you store on HealthVault, which we encourage you to access using the HealthVault website ((https://account.healthvault.com).
I asked Microsoft for some clarification as to what's happening. The official statement, which doesn't really shed any new light on what's happening:
"Microsoft is ending support for HealthVault on Windows Phone and removing it from the Windows Phone Store. Support for our other apps, including Windows and iOS, remain unaffected. Information stored within HealthVault is not impacted and data can be accessed via the HealthVault website (https://account.healthvault.com)."
The version of HealthVault app that's being pulled was only available in the Windows Phone store. And, as us former and current Windows Phone users know, there aren't many Windows Phone users out there. There are also some third-party mobile apps in the Store that do allow Windows Phone users to access and update their HealthVault data.
HealthVault is not the same as Microsoft Health. And Health does not require HealtVault -- or vice versa. However, as noted on Microsoft's Health website: "Because we share core principles, HealthVault features prominently in our broad vision for Microsoft Health." (That statement makes me think HealthVault is sticking around.)
Microsoft Health is a an activity-tracking/fitness service. HealthVault is a service for storing individuals' health and medical records and information so they can be shared with health professionals. Microsoft HealthVault predates MicrosoftHealth. Microsoft launched a beta of HealthVault in 2007 and went live with the service in 2009.
So what to make of Microsoft dropping the Windows Phone version of HealthVault? Again, I think the priority for Microsoft is in beefing up and recasting its Microsoft Health service as a multi-platform offering that supports devices of all types, not just Microsoft's own. Windows Phones, with their continuing dwindling market share, just don't matter a whole lot to Microsoft's evolving Health service vision.