Microsoft abandons its own HealthVault app. Is this part of something larger?

Microsoft has begun emailing users of its own HealthVault app for Windows Phone, informing them that they will be discontinuing support for the app and removing it from the Windows Store.

Here’s the email:

Thank you for using HealthVault.

We’re reaching out because you are a user of the Microsoft HealthVault app for Windows Phone. Recently, we have seen some issues with the app due to compatibility problems. We want to continue to provide a reliable HealthVault experience for Windows Phone, which we believe will be best delivered through the HealthVault website. We will therefore be ending our support for the app and removing it from the Windows Phone Store.

Rest assured that this change has no impact on the information you store on HealthVault, which we encourage you to access using the HealthVault website (https://account.healthvault.com). The site provides similar functionality to the app and is accessible by using the browser on your mobile device or PC.

Thank you for your support of HealthVault. Please let us know if you have questions at https://healthvault.com/support.

The Microsoft HealthVault Team

No specific reason is given for the discontinued support beyond the vague references to “compatibility problems” but this is likely a reference to FitBit’s recent announcement concerning their own discontinuing of support for the HealthVault app. The complete removal of the app from the Windows Store, while not confirmed, could also be due to some possible restructuring happening behind the scenes in Microsoft’s health and fitness departments.

Microsoft's HealthVault app

Microsoft’s HealthVault app

The company recently rebranded its Health app to be solely dedicated to their Microsoft Band product and various reports have hinted that the Microsoft Band itself will soon be discontinued. Another piece of the puzzle could be the closure of Xbox Fitness, which was announced a few months ago but won’t fully disappear until late 2017. At the time, it was said that the cost of the rights for streaming the media within the app was the main reason for the closure but with the dumping of HealthVault and the potential discontinuing of the Microsoft Band line of products, it does feel like Microsoft is gradually removing themselves from the fitness and health industry, at least for now.

One reason for this could be that the company simply has a new strategy for its long term goals and that fitness and health aren’t a part of them. Another could be that few of their health initiatives have proven to be more successful than their rivals. The numerous FitBit and Jawbone fitness trackers have continued to outsell the Microsoft Band and are available in many more regions than that device while Apple’s new Apple Watch has made a rather big splash in the wearable market since its debut and shows little sign of slowing down. The same situation can be seen in the app market with the FitBit app, Runtastic, Fitwell (pictured top), and others gaining a much larger audience and receiving more support and updates than HealthVault, which hasn’t been updated in years and still doesn’t have a properly formatted icon in the Windows Store.

Let us know what you think. Do you use the HealthVault app? Could this be a sign of something larger? Let us know in the comments below.

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