Microsoft to shut down app store for old phone platform

In May, Windows Mobile users will no longer be able to download apps from the Marketplace

Microsoft will soon shut down the app store for Windows Mobile, the phone platform it is phasing out.

Starting May 9, users of Windows Mobile phones won't be able to browse, buy or download apps to their phones from the Marketplace, Microsoft wrote in a letter to customers. The move doesn't affect users of Microsoft's new mobile OS, who will continue to be served by the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Applications already downloaded from the old market will continue to work after May 9, and some publishers might continue to offer their apps through other markets or their own websites, Microsoft said. It cautioned users that if they do a hard reset and delete apps on their phone, they won't be able to download them again from the Marketplace.

The move is a milestone in a transition that has seen Windows Mobile's share of the smartphone market decline from 37 percent in 2006 to 3 percent last year, according to research from NPD Group.

Microsoft's new mobile operating system, Windows Phone, has yet to pick up the slack. It had 3 percent of the smartphone market in October last year, NPD found.

Microsoft's Windows Phone app store has 65,000 apps.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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