It seems Microsoft has really begun to master the ‘sleight of hand’ technique when it comes to Windows Phone user’s attention. It seems with each new feature or development to the Windows Phone platform, something else is quietly taken away. Some would argue the one-step forward two steps back approach began during the Windows Phone 8 to 8.1 transition. Users were given some of the most sought after apps from rival platforms, but lost their Hubs. Users were given app parity and uniformity at the sacrifice of Windows Phone’s distinct pivot UI. Most of those arguments pale in comparison to the Xbox Music app fiasco. Users were greeted with the delightful news that it had been ripped out of the OS in order to dynamically update it. While users were watching the new app being revealed in one hand, some noticed Microsoft’s other hand had also quietly removed user dependent features and established functionality.
Well it looks like Microsoft is back at again. With one hand tantalizing users with the Windows 10 preview for phone last week and they are using the other to remove the Rooms feature on Windows Phone (happening in March). Admittedly the above paragraph is a bit sensationalist to say the least, and Rooms probably wasn’t used all that much to begin with; but some real usefulness and forward thinking functionality will be removed from the Windows Phone platform in a time where it needs every piece. In an email sent to users, the Windows Phone team informs that users will still be able to interact with their current room photo albums, calendars, and notes, but will not be able to create new rooms, make memberships, or permission changes, or send new messages after the March deadline.
Also in the email, the Windows Phone team makes a tacit admission that the functionality was previously limited in many ways and that they are looking to expand on the concept further in Windows 10, “We’re making way for new features in Windows 10 that will help you stay in touch with the people that matter most. Once you update to Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, rooms will no longer show up on your phone. You’ll still be able to get to your photo albums, calendars and notes, either on the web or by using other apps on your phone. You won’t be able to see your chat history or send or receive any new chats.”
So it would seem in the meantime, back up your Rooms info and prepare to interact with those Rooms members in some new way. I would also suggest keeping an eye on both hands of the Windows Phone team when it comes time to upgrade.
— Michael Gillett (@MichaelGillett) February 17, 2015