Windows Mobile 6.x funeral on July 15, no new apps

By Tom Warren, on 20th May 11 2:40 pm with 29 Comments

R.I.P Windows Mobile 6.x

Microsoft has set the death date for Windows Mobile 6.x.

The software giant will no longer accept new Windows Mobile 6.x applications or application updates from July 15 onwards. Developers will no longer be able to modify the prices of their applications, meta data, or other information. Despite the death on July 15, Windows Mobile 6.x owners will still be able to download and purchase applications from the Marketplace, but for how long? The decision has angered a number of developers who feel that the company has turned their back on Windows Mobile 6.x developers.

Microsoft sent out a notice to its Windows Marketplace for Mobile developers earlier this week. The company trumpeted its Windows Phone momentum before announcing the “scaling back” of their investments in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile:

  • App Submission and Management. On July 15, 2011, we will no longer be accepting new Windows Mobile 6.x applications or application updates. In addition, it will no longer be possible to modify prices, metadata, or other information. However, you will still be able to remove your apps by contacting support.
  • App Distribution. Even though app submission will stop on July 15, users will still be able to purchase and download your Windows Mobile 6.x applications through the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
  • App Reporting. Sales and download reports will continue to be available for your Windows Mobile 6.x applications through the App Hub after July 15.
  • Developer Payouts. Developer payouts will continue to be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Windows Phone Marketplace Application Provider Agreement.

Anthony Wieser, who runs Wieser Software LTD, told WinRumors that Microsoft has simply strung developers along. “The most irritating thing about the whole ordeal is the way they just drop customers who have bought the software,” said Wieser. “I can’t imagine why anyone should wish to purchase anything now from the 6.5 marketplace, if they knew what was going on.”

Wieser claims there’s a number of outstanding bugs in Microsoft’s developer system for Windows Mobile 6.x app creators, some that have been present for months. The Marketplace for Windows Mobile apps has been appalling, he claims. “There are many many bugs, none of which seem to be getting fixed,” he said in an email to WinRumors. Wieser recently published an app update and all of the icons and screenshots were missing from the Marketplace. Enough was enough, he emailed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in April to get some answers. Wieser detailed the following bugs:

  1. AAPP dashboard code gives the wrong cert modulus for 6.5, preventing anti piracy code from being accepted (Support has now been dropped)
  2. Download Counts reset to zero, so no indication of what apps are selling (Bug now fixed by Microsoft)
  3. Reports no longer being generated, so no way to see what has been sold or delivered (Bug now fixed by Microsoft)
  4. Currency formatted incorrectly every time you update (dropping zeroes from Denmark and other countries) (Bug still present)
  5. Cannot submit any prices for markets without drop down list (effectively ruling out sales to many countries) (Bug still present)
  6. Incorrect VAT being charged on sales to some countries (UK, for example) (Microsoft bills at 15% from Luxembourg)
  7. Updated apps unable to be downloaded from Marketplace by customers who have purchased the app (Bug now fixed by Microsoft)

Ballmer acknowledged his email on April 20, promising that the company will “get on it,” the company hasn’t however. Wieser had two support tickets open with Microsoft’s Developer Support team about the issues. Both ticket were closed earlier this week with the following response:

Final Update: Given the recent announcement that the Windows Marketplace for Mobile will be phased out, the development team has informed us that this problem won’t be addressed. We regret the inconvenience.

Please review the forum for discussion and possible workarounds for this.

Lead, Windows Phone Developer Support

The whole experience has left Wieser disappointed and frustrated. “The worst part is that there is no feedback to developers on when or if these bugs are going to be fixed, or even if someone is looking at them,” he says. “As a developer, I’m frustrated.  As a consumer, I’m disappointed.” He’s now downloading the Android SDK to develop apps for Google’s phones.

Wieser isn’t alone either in his concerns. Richard Foster, who develops mobile applications part-time for his company Edgeway software, says he hopes end users can still purchase 6.x apps. “I do hope end users can still purchase 6x Apps at least for the rest of this year,” he said in an email to WinRumors. “My 6.x Apps still out sold any WP7 Apps I had for sales by 5:1.” Microsoft has previously used Foster as a case study for developers earning big using its advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7. Despite making $28,882 in four months, with his suite of Windows Phone 7 apps, it appears his actual sales from paid applications are lower than Windows Mobile 6.x. Foster says that with Nokia devices on the way he expects Microsoft will kill off  Windows Mobile 6.x apps fully. “I am expecting the marketplace to be taken down sooner rather than later,” he says.

WinRumors reached out to Microsoft for comment on the Windows Mobile 6.x death. The company refused to comment on the shelf life of the existing Marketplace for Windows Mobile 6.x apps, but did confirm that no new applications will be available from July 15. “Microsoft will no longer be accepting new Windows Mobile 6.x applications or application updates as of July 15th,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. If you’re a Windows Mobile 6.x owner or app developer then now is the time to jump ship, rest in peace Windows Mobile.

  • Oime

    It was about time

  • Grannyville7989

     I’m playing the world’s smallest violin for Anthony Wieser.

  • Anonymous

    killing the WinMo marketplace does not mean killing WinMo or WinMo apps, the marketplace host only a fraction of the apps available for WinMo, and with no restrictions users can buy and download apps from where ever they want, developer sites, 3rd psrty app stores etc…

    • Tom W

      Sure but it’s a key distribution point for developers and end users. It more signals the death of the platform and its support from Microsoft’s point of view.

    • Anonymous

      True, but this sort of takes WinMo back to its origin isnt it?

      Before the Marketplace, Microsoft’s involvement with WinMo was to provide the OEMs with the code, anything after that was up to the OEMs and mostly the community

    • GP007

       And look how well that turned out.  heh.

    • Tom W

      Indeed but going backwards isn’t a good thing. Developers, marketers and end users have invested heavily in the Marketplace. Some users are still in contract with Windows Mobile 6.5 phones. Preventing app updates and new apps just leaves them with a stale platform and no support. I know it has to be done but it could have been done differently. 

    • Spektor

      OMG that’s ridiculous.  And ending Medicare will just make old people more involved in their personal healthcare….  Of course ending the WM Marketplace will harm/kill off what’s left of the platform.  Marketplace was the one place where users could supposedly get tested, trustworthy apps.  Everything else on the net is a gamble.  When MS announced the start of WP7, they told the world that WM6.5+ will be supported and expanded for enterprise users as “Windows Phone Classic” remember?  Just like Classic Coke!  LOL!

      I wont use facebook, I don’t have time to play games on a phone, and I really just need a good phone that lets me use a few apps and business programs.

      Why pray tell should I bother with a phone using WM7 anyway?  Live tiles are totally useless to someone like me.  How many times will I learn — Microsoft betrays its followers.  My Zune attests to that.  Oh well, I got 1.5 years out of my TP2 before MS did this.

  • sarkis chamelian

     KILL it NOW !!!!

  • Anonymous

     Ha, Ha! I am still using WinMo 5!  My next jump of course will be the WinMo7.

  • Winuser

     Cant I still sideload and not use the marketplace? I dont really think Winmo 6 is dead? 

  • Winuser

     Cant I still sideload and not use the marketplace? I dont really think Winmo 6 is dead? 

  • AlienSix

     Time to take it out back :/

  • ShadowRunner

      This is a good example of why OS’s / software / Firmware that is no longer supported should be open-sourced. This artical shows clearly how microsoft in this case does not give a sh!t about their customers, They’ve dropped support for XP even though 55% of their customers use it, well if they dont want to support it then XP should be open-sourced, if winmo is nolonger of interest to microsoft then it too should be open sourced, let others support it if they couldn’t be bothered.
    I made a linkedin poll on this very subject a few days ago.
    Or you can read on the subject here.

    • Anonymous

      They haven’t dropped support for XP. In fact they will be supporting it until Aug 2014.

    • ShadowRunner

       they dropped support for XP SP1 ended in 09 and support for sp2  ended in july 13 2010

    • Grs_dev

       If you’re too lazy to get your org on XP SP2 or later and/or your software relies on deprecated features or function then you only have yourself to blame not the manufacturer of the OS. It’s like blaming Ford for dropping maintenance practices on the Pinto 7 years after it was discontinued and 2 generations of advancements in the field later.

      The strange thing is that back in the day of DOS and when Windows used to ship on disks and CDs (not downloadable or comes pre-loaded) people always wanted to be on the latest and greatest versions of DOS and Windows. Nowa days, if Microsoft does exactly what it’s been criticized all along for not doing (discontinue support for legacy apps) they’re getting knocked for it! Doomed if you do. Doomed if you don’t I guess. I personally say screw legacy apps keep innovating and let the best designed and written software win…

    • phil jay

      You also shouldn’t forget, that MS kept backwardscompatibility paths from Windows 7 all the way back to the first versions, which slowed down their innovation alot I’d guess

    • Anonymous

      You’re confusing sales with support. XP will be supported until April 8, 2014. 

  • phil jay

     How be frustrated, would you support v 0.1 of your application after i dont know how long time? Backwardscompability takes its drawbacks and Microsoft can so invest in more appealing things than old trash. I compare it to writing .Net 1.1 Code in 2011… Awesome!

    • ShadowRunner

       Fine if you cant be bothered supporting your customers, then opensource it since you no longer wish to sell it anyway.

    • phil jay

       yeah, open sourcing is nice, but is wm6 source nice to look at? Isn’t Android the better way for an Open Source community than an non supported old WM OS? Phone life times aren’t that long and by the time the new version will outstand the old one by miles.

  • Tim Mariner

    Windows Mobile is dead!  Long live Windows Mobile!!

    • Anonymous

       These comments should be moderated.

    • Anonymous

       These comments should be moderated.

  • MVIM

    Well, you have to draw the line somewhere. I think Microsoft should at least give Windows Mobile customers through the end of their contracts (based on Windows Phone 7 launch date + 1 month transitional “grace” period), by setting the cut-off date for Windows Marketplace for Mobile updates and submissions at December 31, 2012. In all honesty, Windows Mobile 6.5 devices could be had (like the HTC HD2) as recently as late 2010, some of which were sold under the false rumor that the HD2 would be (officially) upgradable to the Windows Phone 7 OS. That means those buyers will still be under contract until November or December 2012. Those customers should not be disenfranchised from app updates. Ordinary consumers are not accustomed to sideloading in this day and age with App Stores and Android Markets, so that is not a legitimate solution to this cutoff for Marketplace submissions and updates.

    As far as developers, the best way to win them over on this Marketplace change would be to offer them a free one year subscription to the App Hub. It would make it much more affordable to test the waters and transition from Windows Mobile development to Windows Phone 7. Instead, as this article pointed out, those devs will go where the money (and freedom) is, with Android. Ironically, with Android’s version fragmentation, poor UI design, and lack of organized direction, it is headed for the exact same path that led Windows Mobile to be considered obsolete in comparison to its competition and hated among the mobile tech community.

  • Stephen

    our company has been developing on Winmo , and all of its predecessors, since the beginning.  early CE days.  withthe latest release, combined with the growth of Android, we have decided to no longer develop for any Win devices.  we have learned that every 3 years Windows unceremoniously torches their OS leaving complex app developers no choice but to re-develop in the newest OS.  i realize that no OS is perfect, but the blatant disregard by Win for customers was just too much.  See you Bill.  (I suspect he won’t notice that we have left, and taken 1000 devices per year with us)  Stephen Walsh

  • Noreply

    Remember the move from VC++ 4 to 2005 – if you wanted to develop for mobile 5 you had to fork out $.  That is when I was done with windows CE.  There is a long history here and much good will lost by many mobile developers.

  • Outlawb

    As a windows mobile 6.5 user i can say I’m very disappointed with how Microsoft handles their products. One thing I have learned is that they like to discontinue something.  When confronted with the problem they shrug their shoulders and say “sorry for you inconvenience”.