Why is There Panic Over Microsoft Killing of Rooms on Windows Phone?

Earlier this week Microsoft announced that effective at the end of March they are ending support for Rooms on Windows Phone.  Then I watched as Twitter lit up with everything from “this is the end of Windows Phone” to “They don’t care about their customers”.

Really?  Really peeps?  Did anyone actually use Rooms?  I have spoken to at least half-a-dozen serious Windows Phone users this week and not one of them used Rooms on Windows Phone.  In fact two of them (the innocent shall be protected) didn’t even know what Rooms was on Windows Phone.  I appreciate that 6 people doesn’t represent everyone in the Windows Phone user base but equally I cannot see how the dismissal of a feature that few knew of really constitutes a crisis.

For those of you who don’t know (I won’t ask for names) what Rooms on Windows Phone is, let me explain.  Rooms allows you to have a group of friends and/or family share calendars, photos and notes with each other in a single place.  It also allowed you to group text within that Room.  Rooms are visible in the People Hub and you can create a room for say family or co-workers, etc.  It actually is a pretty spiffy little feature of Windows Phone.

But therein lies the problem.  It was Windows Phone centric.  It was not mobile centric.  To get the maximum out of Rooms everyone in your Room had to be on Windows Phone.  Fundamentally in this new era of Mobile First, Cloud First Microsoft, that is juxtaposed to what they are trying to do:  Bring services and solutions to everyone no matter what platform they happen to consume them on.  In my mind the dismissal of Rooms on Windows Phone is a good thing in the bigger picture.  What has me scratching my head therefore is why a lot of people had a Panic at the Disco moment and went as far as to say Microsoft was abandoning customers.

Look, I get it.  I’m sure that there is a family out there or a group of co-workers out there that use Rooms on Windows Phone daily.  The concept is brilliant and it was hyped pretty well when Windows Phone 8 was released.  But it died on the vine and really goes against the grain of where Microsoft wants to take Windows Phone under Windows 10.

In the email sent to Windows Phone users, Microsoft states that something bigger and better is coming in Windows 10 for Phone.

We’re making way for new features in Windows 10 that will help you stay in touch with the people that matter most.

What does that mean exactly? Great question, no clue.  What I can say is that in my initial finds about Windows 10 for Phone, I’ve seen nothing in the People hub or other places that give a Room-like experience.  My guess is we will see something later.

So am I wrong here?  Am I missing something?  If you use Rooms and this is going to impact you by all means leave a comment and let me hear from you.  I’m happy to admit if I’m wrong but on this one I don’t think I will be.

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