Is Microsoft officially waving the white flag on Windows Phone development?

Dan Kobialka, FierceDeveloperMicrosoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) recently announced plans to "streamline" its smartphone hardware business, a move that could affect Windows Phone developers worldwide. 

As part of the move, Microsoft said it will cut 1,850 jobs globally as well as record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million.

However, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted his company "will continue to innovate across devices."

"We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation -- with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability and consumers who value the same," he said in a prepared statement

Although nothing is official, Microsoft appears ready to move past Windows Phone development, and the move may prove to be a good one for a number of reasons.  

First, interest in Windows Phone development has been lukewarm at best, which is reflected in recent data.

A survey of more than 55,000 coders worldwide conducted earlier this year by programming community Stack Overflow indicated only 59 respondents (0.1 percent) said they were Windows mobile developers. It also showed interest in Windows Phone was waning among developers.

Also, Windows Phone was a noticeable no-show at the Microsoft Build conference in March.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, told PCWorld at that time that phones were "the wrong place for [Microsoft] to lead."

"We're going to do some cool things with phones, but this year phones are an important part of our family but not the tip of the spear," he noted

And in April, Microsoft announced its Windows Phone revenues declined as well. Microsoft sold 2.3 million Lumia smartphones in its most recent fiscal quarter. Comparatively, Microsoft shipped 8.6 million Lumia smartphones in the same quarter last year.  

Clearly, the smartphone market remains secondary for Microsoft, which puts Windows Phone developers in a tough spot. 

Windows Phone developers may need to start looking elsewhere if they haven't done so already.

Microsoft is moving resources away from its Lumia smartphones and looks poised to wave the white flag entirely on Windows Phone development, and developers who fail to respond could be left behind. -- Dan

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