Here’s Windows Phone apps were once one of the selling points of Nokia Lumia devices, With Here’s powerful suite of navigation apps, and Microsoft’s own built in tools, Windows users at least had a solid base of well designed native first party navigation apps to make up for the absence of Google Maps.
However, once Microsoft acquired Nokia’s devices and services division, the latter company lost all reason to tie itself down to Windows Phone and began to expand cross-platform to iOS and Android. A rumour went out that Nokia had decided that it would no longer be supporting its Windows Phone Here apps and instead allow Microsoft to use their data for Windows maps while pulling their own apps from the store.
Shortly after that rumour was circulated in late 2014, HERE denied that the rumour was true and posted the following statements:
We have noticed some discussions in the blogosphere about HERE on Windows Phone. We want to clarify that we are committed to providing great products and consumer experiences for Windows based phones. We will continue to support our HERE apps to ensure that they will be compatible with future versions of Windows.
At HERE, we are committed to providing great products and consumer experiences for Windows based phones. Just recently we updated our HERE apps for Windows Phone to provide improvements. We will continue to support these apps to ensure that they will be compatible with future versions of Windows Phone.
Now it is almost the end of 2015 and nearly a year after that statement was made. Here Maps for Windows and Windows Phone have both disappeared from their respective Windows stores with no plausible explanation given.
3 months ago, we reported that Here’s map apps had disappeared from the Windows store. This was discovered by tips from readers who were searching for Here. Here did not at the time respond or tell its Windows users that “Our apps have been hidden due to a bug, but they’ll be back”. Users had to discover this for themselves and because Here was still pushing out tiny maintenance updates to its Windows Phone apps, no one really probed too deeply into it.
However, a few weeks ago, Here pushed out an update to its Windows Phone apps that neutered them for a week. This update would tell all Windows 10 mobile devices to check the store for the newest version of Here Maps and then close itself. This update came two days after the Lumia 950 had been released. Here later reverted the update two weeks later, but their app is still not available to download in the store because of some mysterious store bug that only affects Here.
Many developers don’t support Windows Phone, or keep it at arms length. Here is different because they were built up by virtue of the fact that they were the default apps on Lumia devices. Abandoning Windows Phone unceremoniously to just become yet another map app that is not Google maps feels somewhat like a betrayal.