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Microsoft's hardware strategy (see Surface and Holo Lens) is mostly about creating a market with an exemplary piece of hardware and then allowing its OEM partners to take those ideas and bring them to the mass market.

It certainly worked with the two-in-one PC devices, although the jury is still out -- and will be for some time -- on Holo Lens.

So farewell then, Windows Phone: Microsoft has now dropped support for Windows Phone 8.1, the operating system running on the majority of Windows-powered handsets.

According to advertising analytics company Ad Duplex, nearly three-quarters of Windows phones are running on Windows Phone 8.1, and these will no longer get security or other updates.

And, because these devices should run a full version of Windows 10, the app shortage issue will be less acute, because standard Windows apps will be supported.

There's a third option too: there continue to be persistent rumours that Microsoft is still working on some kind of mobile device -- perhaps that long-awaited Surface Phone?

In many countries, Windows smartphones account for less than two percent of the market, and according to Microsoft's own financial filings, sales of its Windows-powered smartphones are now negligible. One of Microsoft's biggest issues was getting developers to rewrite their apps to run on Windows Phone as well as Android and i OS.