Winbeta.org overnight picked up on an email going out to users of the HealthVault app for Windows Phone. Microsoft is using the email to notify Windows Phone users that the HealthVault app is being retired due to it providing a poor experience. Reading the article, you might think that the Winbeta.org author believes Microsoft might be abandoning its Health platform altogether, using recent rumors of Microsoft exiting the fitness hardware market and then renaming its Microsoft Health app as proof.
Personally, I think this means something else. Here’s my two cents.
As I talked about in The State of the Microsoft Health Platform, Microsoft has made recent wording modifications to its Microsoft Health web site that seems to indicate the company is refocusing its efforts on improving its health platform, but in a way that benefits the health industry and not consumers. There’s too many good consumer fitness wearable options out there – why try to compete in such a crowded market when there’s absolutely no chance to be moderately successful?
And, that really speaks to what I believe is going on here with the retirement of the HealthVault app on Windows Phone. The smartphone market is just as crowded and is just as difficult to navigate success. The HealthVault app still exists for iOS and for Windows 10 PC. Microsoft is simply pulling it from a market it can’t win and, in a way, hints at another step toward conceding participation in it.
One other thing to consider is that Microsoft emphasizes Windows Phone and the Windows Phone store in the email to HealthVault users (which is probably less than 10 people by the way). Windows Phone to me relates to Windows Phone 8.1 and earlier devices – not Windows 10 Mobile. So, what we’re seeing here is probably just a way of Microsoft easing out of supporting the older Windows smartphone OS.