Tech that died in 2019: We bid farewell to… – PCWorld

It’s the end of 2019. The last year of a glorious decade that brought us the iPad, the Ultrabook, wearables, VR, and a fleet of smart home devices. Okay, none of those things happened in 2019, but this past year was still important to the passing decade. This was the year that several infamous services and gizmos headed off into the horizon, or faded into darkness after hanging on far too long.

For 2019, we noticed that some high-profile companies experienced multiple tragic deaths, while other demises seemed to cluster naturally within particularly troubled product categories. Here’s our look at the biggest tech deaths of the year, organized into company or theme.

Microsoft: Mistakes were made

rip windows phone Mark Hachman / IDG

Windows 10 Mobile reaches the final, final end.

Windows 10 Mobile: Speaking of hanging on for far too long. In December, we saw the complete end to Microsoft’s homegrown smartphone effort. On December 10, 2019, Microsoft stopped delivering security patches to Windows 10 Mobile devices.

Anyone still rocking the HP Elite x3 (which was actually a really great phone) or Lumia 650 can still use their handsets, just without the backing or support of Microsoft. If something breaks, or a horrific vulnerability destroys the Metro interface as we know it, users are out of luck. That’s for regular folks, anyway. Corporate types have a lifeline to carry on for a little bit longer, just as they did with Windows XP.

It’s a shame that Microsoft’s mobile effort came to this point. Windows 10 Mobile and its predecessors were an original take on what a smartphone could be. It looked and behaved nothing like the grid of icons on an Android or iOS device, but it was still very usable. Unfortunately, a toxic mix of lackadaisical carrier support, poor developer interest, and indifference from smartphone buyers sealed the fate of Windows phones long ago.

Microsoft Store Books: The trouble with digital goods is they can disappear if the retailer goes out of business. That’s what happened in July, 2019, when Microsoft exited the literary scene, and ebooks purchased from the Microsoft Store stopped working.

Microsoft’s ebook venture had been short-lived, and to the company’s credit, it didn’t just flip the table and walk away. The company said it would refund all book purchases for its approximately six ebook customers.

Microsoft Windows 10 my people selected people privacy Mark Hachman / IDG

Windows 10’s My People.

Windows 10’s My People: Fine, fine, this death won’t happen until 2020 or later, but we found out about it in November. Microsoft is deprecating the My People app that was first introduced in Windows 10 1709. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, it’s that little outline of two people that sits in the taskbar.


Leave a Reply