Cybersecurity, Emerging Issues in Security

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows Mobile Operating System

Not too long ago, there were three major tech players vying for eyeballs in the mobile operating system (OS) space. While the writing has been on the wall for a while now, it is officially over.

Microsoft is ending all support for its Windows Mobile OS and will ship its last fixes and security updates on December 10, 2019. For reference, the last notable feature update to the OS was all the way back in October 2017.

Microsoft notes that they will continue some services past that end date, in case there are some procrastinators hoping to delay the inevitable. The company will give users until March 10, 2020 to automatically or manually create new device backups for settings and certain applications. Users will have one year for photo uploads and restoring a device from an existing backup.

Microsoft’s decision to end support and shut down the OS isn’t all that surprising. It’s been a few years since anyone was making flagship phone running Windows, and as an Ars Technica commenter points out, the company’s policy of all but abandoning users running previous versions of the OS didn’t sit well at all.

Microsoft is suggesting that anyone still running Windows Mobile make the “move to a supported Android or iOS device,” each of which has the mobile versions of Microsoft’s most popular and widely-used applications.

There was a time when Windows Mobile was a popular choice for many organizations due to the platform’s enterprise capabilities. Given Window’s dominance as an enterprise productivity solution, it seemed only natural that companies would provide essential employees with the technology to work from anywhere. Unfortunately, the zeitgeist moved away from enterprise-managed hardware as organizations embraced bring-your-own-device models and policies.

While this transition shouldn’t have much direct impact to the day-to-day function and security at your business or organization (the writing’s been on the wall for a long time), this could be a good time to have a chat with your employees. It’s never a good idea to have unpatched devices connected to the company’s network, and attempting to use a non-secure device to do business could open the organization to attack or theft of data.