For every successful long-running product or service, there are also those that may have started out strong only to fade to irrelevance due to consumer disinterest or cutting of manufacturer’s support. This was the unenviable fate of Windows Phone, a family of standalone operating systems for mobile phones by Microsoft. With their discontinuance of further upgrades to Windows Phone 8.1, that MOS and the devices using it were left to wither on the vine.

Even Windows 10 Mobile, the successor to Windows Phone, is suffering from Microsoft seemingly washing its hands of its smartphone operations. Now, Hewlett-Packard has decided to discontinue its high-end Elite X3 handset, the last premium smartphone model that runs Windows 10 Mobile.

Aborted product line

Hewlett-Packard knew it was a high-risk gamble when last year they introduced the premium Elite X3 smartphone running Windows 10 Mobile for Microsoft.

It was not a device for casual owners but for busy users engaged in business and enterprise. HP had originally planned for the Elite X3 to become the first of a long line of gadgets that would fully maximize the utility of its OS, Windows 10 Mobile. But HP EMEA regional president Nick Lazaridis stated that in light of Microsoft’s “loss of focus” on anything mobile, they have decided to stop making more Elites and terminate support for it by 2019.

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"Microsoft, as all companies do, decided on a change in strategy and so they are less focused on what they thought they would be focused on today,” remarked Lazaridis regarding HP’s decision to gradually quit on the Elite X3 and its product base. He points out that the lack of interest in improving on Windows 10 Mobile and its OS ecosystem meant there was no point in expanding upon the product line as they had advertised last year.

Quitting the mobile competition

The warning signs of Microsoft wanting out of the smartphone game can be seen in the lack of any new flagship devices carrying their Windows 10 Mobile OS. The last one had been the Nokia Lumias that were released back in 2015. It has gotten so bad that last July, the NYPD decided not to make use of their newly-acquired Lumia for their officers and have instead begun a transition to iPhones.

On Microsoft’s part, CEO Satya Nadella is keeping from explicitly spelling out that the company has tired of trying to make their mobile systems into a “third choice” between Apple iPhones and Android-using smartphones. His only comment is that Microsoft will eventually return to pushing Windows 10 Mobile the moment they come up with something new, an assertion fueled by continuing rumors of a planned “Windows Surface Phone.” Hewlett-Packard, however, has decided to cut ties now, focusing on developing new “mobility solutions” that will not rely on Windows.

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