Windows Phone Users Losing Teams, Skype for Business and Yammer Apps Next Month
Microsoft plans to end three Windows Phone applications on May 20, 2018.
Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and Yammer apps for Windows Phone will all get "retired" on that date, according to a Microsoft support article dated April 23. This rather obscure communication was spotted earlier by veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley.
Only the Windows Phone apps will be coming to a halt. Microsoft is continuing to develop Teams, Skype for Business and Yammer apps for the Mac and Windows desktops, as well as for Android and iOS devices. The support article directed affected Windows Phone users to use the Android and iOS applications instead.
Essentially, such advice is equivalent to steering Windows Phone users away from using their Windows Phones. Microsoft's support article didn't exactly say that Windows Phones are dead, but it indicated that the underlying Windows 10 Mobile operating system likely won't be getting new features.
"While Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 Mobile, we are not focused on building new features for the system," the support article stated.
That statement is just shy of product "deprecation" announcement, where all development stops. However, the lack of Windows 10 Mobile feature development has been apparent for a while, and its user base has plummeted. Use of the Windows Mobile OS reached a new low at 0.3 percent back in Q4 2016.
After May 20, 2018, the apps won't be in the Microsoft Store. The Teams app will stop working at that time, and users will get a connection error message. The Skype for Business and Yammer apps "may continue to work, but we can't provide any guarantees," Microsoft's support article indicated.
Users of the Yammer app for Windows Phone do have another alternative: They can switch to using Yammer in a mobile browser.
Last week, though, Microsoft announced Yammer feature removals. Sometime in May, Microsoft plans to remove Yammer's org chart, its Recent Activity feature, its ability to sync contacts on mobile apps and the Yammer Desktop Notifier Application. The announcement suggested that alternatives could be found by using other Microsoft applications and solutions.
Microsoft appears to be undergoing an application development consolidation of sorts. For instance, last week, Microsoft announced that it was ending further development of its OneNote 2016 desktop application in favor of the Universal Windows Platform App Windows 10 version. In March, it announced the end of Outlook on the Web apps for Android and iOS devices, favoring the use of the "native" Android and iOS Outlook apps instead.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.