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Microsoft shutting down Marketplace for Windows Mobile in May

The HTC Dash 3G phone, running Windows Mobile 6.1.
(HTC Corp.)

On May 9, Microsoft is turning off the lights, closing the doors and shutting down its Marketplace for Windows Mobile.

The writing has been on the wall for the Windows Mobile app storefront since at least the launch of the Windows Phone operating system in 2010, which marked a move away from the physical keyboards, styluses and touch input of Windows Mobile and toward newer iPhone- and Android-rivaling handsets that are touchscreen only.

But although Microsoft has largely abandoned the Windows Mobile operating system, which hasn’t been updated since 2010, the software still does run on leftover smartphones purchased before the switch to Windows Phone.

Microsoft announced the move in an email sent out to Windows Mobile users, which was first reported by TechCrunch.

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“Beginning May 9, 2012, the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace service will no longer be available. Starting on this date, you will no longer be able to browse, buy or download applications directly on your Windows Mobile 6.x phone using the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace application and service,” Microsoft’s email said.

“Applications and games acquired from the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace service installed on your Windows Mobile 6.x phone will continue to work after the service is discontinued on May 9, 2012. However, additional downloads of these applications and games from the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace service will no longer be available.”

The message is clear: Microsoft’s efforts are solidly behind Windows Phone and making that platform work. So if you’re the owner of a Windows Mobile smartphone, you’ll no longer have a marketplace to download apps from -- so get what you can while you can, or maybe think about getting a new phone.

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