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The New York Police Department reportedly needs to replace 36,000 'useless' Windows Phones

A year and a half ago (almost to the day), the New York Police Department issued a statement that it, in conjunction with Microsoft, would issue 36,000 new Windows Phones to its officers out in the field, as part of a $160 million 'NYPD Mobility Initiative' which was hailed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a 'step into the 21st century'.

Jessica Tisch, Deputy IT Commissioner for the NYPD standing with Mayor Bill de Blasio. (via NY Post)
Jessica Tisch, Deputy IT Commissioner for the NYPD standing with Mayor Bill de Blasio (via NY Post)

However, the NYPD has reportedly started the process of replacing the now-defunct phones with new iPhones according to sources, after Microsoft stopped supporting the devices running Windows Phone 8.1 on June 11. The Deputy IT Commissioner for the NYPD, Jessica Tisch - who spearheaded the project that started in October 2014 - was criticized internally for not commissioning a panel of experts beforehand:

“Nobody purchases 36,000 phones based on the judgment of one person, I don’t care if you’re [...], you get a panel of experts.”

The decision was met with general confusion last year, with several technical analysts scratching their heads over the move to Lumia, the main reason being that of the paltry market share Microsoft commanded in the mobile space at that point.

Digital Trends pointed this out in an article last year:

“The NYPD’s decision to go with Microsoft’s mobile operating system seems to confound more than a few, since Windows Phone’s 2.3 percent US market share is anemic when compared to Android’s 65.2 percent and iOS’s 30.9 percent,”

And CNET didn't mince words either:

“You read that right. Life and death situations rely on outdated phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone software,”

The backlash towards the decision isn't without merit, however, some of the facts are a bit misleading in the report. The NYPD uses the Lumia 830 and 640XL, both of which have received Windows 10 Mobile support, however, the former device was not included in the latest Creators Update. So Microsoft has updated the devices at least once, which can be seen as unacceptable by any standard.

Even though Satya Nadella did note that any future mobile device from Microsoft won't be like anything seen today in the market, this still does not help the situation, and might further hurt future support from government institutions and corporate clients if the company does not improve support of older devices in particular.

Source and image: New York Post

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