There’s a lot of drama happening right now in the Windows Phone community about upgrades, specifically the upgrade to 7.8 and 8. Microsoft announced that current handsets will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8, and that upset a lot of people. Nokia Lumia 900 owners feel especially slighted since they fell victim to a huge ad campaign. The question on everyone’s mind is when exactly did Microsoft know WP7 devices were DOA?
The answer to that question is not what people want to hear. In an interview with CNET, Product Manager Greg Sullivan said the following when asked when they knew WP7 was doomed to be replaced.
It was right after Windows Phone 7. The team that developed the 7.5 release actually was working in parallel with the core team that was already beginning [Windows Phone 8]. In fact some of that work was already initiated before Windows Phone 7 was even available — so this goes back a little bit. It is true that this is a generational shift — that is a rare occurrence, but it’s something we don’t expect to have happen again in the foreseeable future because of the headspace that the new architecture gives us.
So Microsoft, and probably Nokia, knew that while they were pushing the Lumia 900 so hard it was doomed to be left for dead. The unfortunate truth is Microsoft can afford to do this because Windows Phone market share is low. If Android or iOS did this it would be an enormous uproar. Microsoft is in the business to make money, and they weren’t just going to stop selling phones until Windows Phone 8 comes out.
The good news is this won’t be happening again for a very long time. Microsoft has future-proofed WP8 by making it run on a shared core with Windows 8. This means it can scale to ridiculous specs if that’s what the future holds. Be mad for a while, but this move was for the best.