Microsoft worries Lumia fans by slowly phasing out the brand's social presence

Microsoft's shutdown of the Lumia Voices Twitter account is worrying, given all the other turmoil that the Lumia smartphone line has endured.

Microsoft's actions are making it increasingly hard to believe that the company has any faith in its Lumia consumer smartphone line. The company said Tuesday, a day before the start of its Build developer conference, that it's shutting down its Lumia Voices Twitter account. And a closer look at the corresponding Lumia Voices web page reveals that Microsoft seeded hardware to some of the people it profiled, rather than spotlighting existing Lumia users.

Why this matters: It seems unthinkable that Microsoft would be winding down a $7.2 billion investment it made just a few years ago. But the company appears to be transitioning to a business approach with its mobile phones. Nixing the social element suggests that Microsoft won't try to maintain a consumer presence as a hedge while it develops its business phone space. None of this is a complete surprise.

A slow fade for Microsoft Lumia

Microsoft’s Lumia Voices account did say that any Lumia news would be handled by the main Lumia Twitter account, which seems to do double-duty, providing support as well as news. The representatives manning the Voices account did not offer any further explanation for the shutdown, although they did indicate there would be a follow-up announcement soon:

Microsoft’s Lumia community pages, though, are mostly on life support. While Microsoft’s Lumia Facebook page seems to be actively maintained, Microsoft’s Lumia device blog is down to about one post per month, and its related community site’s posts are undated. (The most recent one appears to be from January, however.) And at least on the mobile version of the page, two of the top three entries (on Trunki and David Duke) include notes that Microsoft supplied the users with their hardware.

In our preview of Microsoft’s Build, we wrote that we expect Microsoft to clarify Windows 10 Mobile’s future, and the future of Windows phones. Both Acer and HP recently launched Windows phones, so we know that both companies plan to support the technology.

But as for Microsoft? With rumors of a Surface phone continuing to circle, a business focus may be the way forward. And as Microsoft zooms ahead, its Lumia consumer business appears to be fading in the rear-view mirror.

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Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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