What you need to know
- Windows Phone is long dead, after Microsoft prematurely killed the platform despite spending billions on acquiring Nokia’s phone division.
- Despite this, a community congregating around reddit.com/r/windowsphone continues to keep the dream alive.
- Recently, a developer dropped a reddit thread, claiming plans to offer an updated version of YouTube for Windows Phone.
What year is it?
I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to write about our beloved Windows Phone, even if it is a tiny sliver of news that the vast majority of you likely won’t be able to take advantage of. But it’s fun, nonetheless.
Windows Phone is long dead, killed prematurely by Microsoft, despite having sunk billions into acquiring Nokia’s phone division just a few months beforehand. Windows Phone struggled to maintain any sort of pace with Android and iOS, but remained a much-needed third-pillar which offered a uniquely charming interface, as well as features other platforms have only just recently started to catch up with.
Notoriously, the app gap is what killed Windows Phone, perhaps above all else. Google aggressively limited its services on Windows Phone devices, from Google Chrome to YouTube itself. Third-party developers built great hacked versions of YouTube, including MetroTube and MyTube! to compensate, often beating Google on features like offline playback. Microsoft itself also developed a YouTube app, but Google revoked Microsoft’s YouTube API keys on spurious grounds, anti-competitively, designed to damage the platform above all else. Sadly, it seems to have worked.
Fast forward a few years, and despite the platform being very dead, Windows Phone might soon be destined for a functioning native YouTube app, thanks to this team of developers from reddit.
According to the post, a team of hobbyists are working to restore older versions of YouTube, and have decided to include Windows Phone into its homebrew plans. Since the official Microsoft Store for Windows Phone is very dead and offline, users will have to sideload the app to regain the functionality. There’s no telling if Google will block it again too, but it seems unlikely that a homebrew YouTube app for Windows Phone is even vaguely on their radar.
Despite being doomed, there is a community of Windows Phone users congregating around /r/windowsphone on reddit, extending the life of the platform well beyond its grave.
A reminder that Microsoft was eternally dumb for killing Windows Phone
A short while ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella himself admitted that killing Windows Phone was a mistake, and he couldn’t be more right. Had Microsoft had stayed the course, they would be in a far better position to build out and curate their mobile ambitions across artificial intelligence, mobile gaming, and beyond. Instead, they’re having to battle regulators to gain access to platforms like iOS, and beg courts to force Google to change default apps and services on Android.
RELATED: Why Microsoft won’t be the ones to mainstream consumer AI
Since Google and Apple control the default apps on iOS and Android broadly, the opportunities for Microsoft Copilot, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Bing Search, or even Microsoft 365 business apps to gain traction on these platforms is greatly diminished. If Windows Phone had still been around, perhaps Microsoft’s prospects in mobility would be a little different.
Thanks TitleOS for the tip!