Microsoft will “continue to develop” Windows 10, “support” Lumia and OEM partner phones

Mark Coppock

The writing has been on the wall for quite some time now: the Lumia line of Windows phones is very likely coming to an end. This really comes as no surprise, given all of the noise around the possibility of a Surface phone, the pause on attention provided to Windows phones, and pretty much everything else that Microsoft has said and done for a few months now.

Today, in the press release announcing the purchase of Microsoft leftover Nokia feature phone business to Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global, Oy for $350 million, the company made the following statement:

Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.

Many reports take that wording to hint at, or outright confirm, that the Lumia line ended with the release of the Lumia 650. After all, the argument seems to be, Microsoft says “develop” regarding Windows 10 Mobile and only “support” regarding Lumia.

However, as written, the sentence also talks about supporting devices from OEM partners, which are not going away. And so, grammatically at least, the meaning really seems to be rather innocuous. In parsing the sentence, Microsoft actually seems to be saying simply that the company will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile so that it can continue to support Lumia and OEM phones.

Yes, Microsoft’s smartphone platform is in flux, and yes, we would be surprised to see the company introduce a new Lumia device. The fact remains, we’ll likely not have a complete picture of what the company plans to do in mobile until Microsoft itself provides more clarification.

This particular action–selling off the feature phone business–has nothing to do with the future of Windows 10 Mobile, and the much-discussed sentence buried in that press release is not really the controversial statement that some are taking it to be. As far as we can tell, this whole thing seems to be something of a tempest in a teapot based on an overly-aggressive interpretation of a poorly parsed sentence.