NYPD contemplating on replacing 36,000 odd Windows Phones with iPhones
Although Microsoft's mobile endeavors are going the way of the dodo, the few remaining fans and corporations who have bought into Microsoft's earlier promises seem to now face the brunt of it all. The NY Post reports that the New York Police Department (NYPD) will soon be scrapping its 36,000-odd Windows Phones with new iPhones. This is in the light of Microsoft halting updates for the older Windows Phone 8.1 OS since July 11.
The decision to use Windows Phones in the first place was taken by NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for IT, Jessica Tisch, with one source quoting, "She drove the whole process". Many seem to have questioned Ms. Tisch's decision when Windows Phone's market share was plummeting across the globe in stark contrast to the exponential rise of Android and iOS. The initial decision to hand out copious numbers of the Lumia 830 and Lumia 640XL smartphones could have been because Windows Phones are known to play well with Windows 8.1 based PC software and a complete Microsoft-based ecosystem of custom apps and services would be less of a headache to deploy, remotely manage and ensure security compliance. Microsoft even helped develop quite a few mobile apps for the NYPD such as 911, Search, Crime Information Center, Forms, NYPD U and more. There were also plans to get the phones updated and running on Windows 10 Mobile. Unfortunately, the decision has failed to pay off. Even CNET mocked the NYPD's decision by stating, "You read that right. Life and death situations rely on outdated phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone software."
Senior officers seem to lay the blame squarely on Ms. Tisch's decision back then. However, it is Microsoft's callous attitude towards its mobile users that should take the brickbat. Fans feel that it is high time the company comes clean on what it plans to do with mobile. Windows 10 Mobile is not seeing good days either with only two OEMs HP and Alcatel currently selling Windows phones. The software giant has spun off Mobile development into a 'feature2' branch that is getting just bug fixes apart from any worthwhile new features. Rumors of the mythical Surface Phone do keep popping up now and then, though.
The NYPD definitely did get empowered with Windows Phone but with the future of the platform bleak, it remains to be seen how the department handles the transition to other mobile platforms. Its not just about the hardware costs involved but also the efforts needed to ensure that the new devices play well with NYPD's Crime Information Centre and dispatch services. All in all, losing enterprise trust is definitely a huge setback for Microsoft in the mobile arena.