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New York City Cops Will Replace Their 36,000 Windows Phones With iPhones (theverge.com) 215

The New York City Police Department says it will give up its 36,000 Windows phones and transition to iPhones by the end of the year. The Verge reports: The switch is prompted in part by news in July that Microsoft was ending support for Windows Phone 8.1, which a large percentage of all Windows-powered phones are still using. It's a predictable end to the Windows phone, considering that its market share had already slipped below 1 percent at the time the police department adopted its phones last year. The ill-fated decision to go with the Windows phone was made solely by its NYPD deputy commissioner for IT, according to The New York Post, and apparently did not receive further judgment before implementing the program. The Windows models were Nokia Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL, equipped with special 911 apps, case management apps, and the ability to receive assignments. They were purchased as part of a $160 million initiative to modernize the NYPD, which has been around since 1845. The new business for Microsoft's phones was clearly not enough to keep Windows Phone alive.
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New York City Cops Will Replace Their 36,000 Windows Phones With iPhones

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  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:42PM (#55100063)

    Or buy older iPhones. Because that's a lot of money...

  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:51PM (#55100107)

    It will be absolute proof of the old saying, "No one gets fired for buying Microsoft."

    The most charitable excuse for this is "IT understands how to work with Microsoft products." Of course, that's the IT flea wagging the Police Dog.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:55PM (#55100127)

      No kidding. That was such a breathtakingly stupid decision she honestly deserves to lose her job because of it.

      • by stooo ( 2202012 )

        It is always a bad decision to use MS products.

      • That was such a breathtakingly stupid decision she honestly deserves to lose her job because of it.

        That depends on the cost.

      • My guess is that Microsoft would take care of her, if they haven't already.

    • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:57PM (#55100151) Journal

      I wonder how much she got from Microsoft.

      • I wonder how much she got from Microsoft.

        Probably nothing concrete, it would have been too dangerous for her and for Microsoft.

        But maybe she received the promise of a very lucrative job in case things would turn bad. Just ask Stephen Elop.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:59PM (#55100155)

      If the proprietary applications mentioned in the article summary are derivatives of their desktop or tablet cousins, then I could understand the business argument in favor of attempting to keep with the same platform, especially depending on development costs for the Windows Phone versions of those applications compared to possibly much higher costs for developing whole new applications for either Apple's phone or an Android model. It may well be possible that the costs for the applications was low enough to give some justification for trying Windows Phone generally.

      That said, if the platform was already on life support then I hope they got a screaming-good-deal for their attempt. Several years ago we faced attempting to upgrade to the latest Novell Netware or migrating to Active Directory. Netware had been in-service in the organization since the 3.x days when there was no network between sites other than for the AS/400 connectivity, so we had a long and successful history with it, but it was clear that Netware was not seeing the new development that it needed, and the time between a new version of Windows coming out and full Netware client support was getting worse with each new release. As much as we'd been successful with Novell in the past, it was clear that future success with them was strongly in-doubt, and we ultimately left.

      • Porting an application from the desktop to the phone is no trivial matter, even if the APIs are similar. Yes, internal data structures and probably a fair bit of the under the hood code remains the same, but your interface, where a good deal of effort of such software goes, is going to be overhauled.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          Sure. But if there's anything I've learned in dealing with enterprise IT, it's that some things are greatly trivialized. It's possible that the sales person for the software vendor didn't themselves understand the difficulty and thus the project was quoted or bid for less than it should have actually cost. If the customer gets a quote that makes it seem cheap then it would be no surprise to consider it.

          In that sense it almost doesn't matter if it really was harder than that, depending on the nature of th

          • The article mentioned that they were using Microsoft's video surveillance software, but nothing about the underlying platforms. Were they Windows XP or 7 or 8? Since at the time they introduced it, the phones were based on Windows Phone 8.1.

            If it was based on Windows 8/8.1, then you're right - there would have been the common underlying code base, w/ the major effort on the UI. But if it was based on Windows 7 or earlier, then there would be nothing in common, since Microsoft totally overhauled the UI.

            • by Duhavid ( 677874 )

              Unless the apps were Metro, Microsoft's "overhaul" of the UI in just about any version of the OS, ( excepting the NT/2000 to XP update ) does little to change the underlying "stuff" you need to do to "paint" the app on the screen. And even the NT/2000 to XP update did not invalidate the older apps. Metro deliberately breaks all that in order to attempt to force developers into their version of the "walled garden" model that Apple has.

      • The thing that surprises me here is that neither the NYPD nor Microsoft decided to work on migrating Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile - the latter iirc which is already a default on the 640XL. Not sure about the 830, though.

        I do think that the decision to go w/ iOS was a bad one, though. They just went through the experience of being sole sourced w/ Nokia/Microsoft and are now going sole sourced w/ Apple. They should have picked Android, which would have given them a vendor choice of Google, Sam

    • Name any drop in replacement for Microsoft infrastructure.

  • Wow, that's a long time to be running a modernization initiative.

    • by geoskd ( 321194 )

      Wow, that's a long time to be running a modernization initiative.

      Thats because every decision that has been made up to this point has been of the same caliber as the decision to go with windows phone, and now iPhone.

      Their first choice when getting rid of Windows phone was blackberry, because somebody told them Blackberries were the best phone there is. Alas, they couldn't actually figure out how to buy them, so iPhone it is.

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        "somebody told them" ... is management without knowledge a requirement for IT upper echelons now?

        i mean it has been highly recommended forever, since actual working knowledge of technology is a detriment to the level of management you can rise to, it seems race to the bottom has accelerated.

        • Ain't those the things that they decide they have no budget for in terms of personnel, and which they therefore decide to outsource to an IT company, who then shovels it to Bangalore? If that was the process here, I'm surprised that they recommended iPhone
  • by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:52PM (#55100111)
    ...just whoindahell could be dumb enough to think that Windows phone would ever last? Hell, us North Georgia Rednecks(TM) stayed away from them in droves! Christ, that one sale must have been half of all Windows phone sales. What maroons!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      Someone who got conned by an MS sales pitch, that's who.

      I eagerly await the "Windows Phone is the best phone over, and only iSnobs and Android fruits care about apps!" The Microsoft phone defender is almost as pathetic as the Blackberry defender.

    • ...just whoindahell could be dumb enough to think that Windows phone would ever last? Hell, us North Georgia Rednecks(TM) stayed away from them in droves! Christ, that one sale must have been half of all Windows phone sales. What maroons!!

      ...which makes me wonder if money or some other lucrative object changed hands.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:25PM (#55100309) Homepage

      ...just whoindahell could be dumb enough to think that Windows phone would ever last? Hell, us North Georgia Rednecks(TM) stayed away from them in droves! Christ, that one sale must have been half of all Windows phone sales. What maroons!!

      Well, assuming this was a great modernization I assume she's coming from a world of mostly Microsoft laptops/tablets/servers and that this was her and their first real adventure into smartphones. They probably have a good business relationship and don't mind being a Microsoft shop. They needed a platform to run their custom apps, how many apps the app store has is less of a concern and they probably got a good discount. And Microsoft has in general offered 5+5 years of support on the desktop, they've rarely left their business customers hanging. In isolation the business case might have looked decent until you take a big step back and realize the platform is dying and there's a very real chance Microsoft will pull out of the market entirely and mobile phones aren't like laptops where you just tank them up with your OS image. I'm not saying it was a good decision but I can understand how you'd make a near-sighted decision like that.

  • Oh no (Score:5, Funny)

    by niff ( 175639 ) <woutervannifteri ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday August 28, 2017 @05:54PM (#55100123) Homepage

    There goes the 1% market share that Windows Phone had...

  • As one of the last ten people on the planet with a Windows Phone (950xl and Elite X3) but using an Iphone 7+ also, I wondered about the decision. Sure, there may be a great UI and decent app, but there's so many things that Microsoft does better on Android and Iphone that just don't work on Windows Mobile 10.

    we all know the end was near when dunkin donuts removed the app from the Windows store.

    Ahh, it is only taxpayer dollars!
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:01PM (#55100161)

    I loved this...

    "Nobody purchases 36,000 phones based on the judgment of one person," a source said. "I don’t care if you’re Jesus f--king Christ, you get a panel of experts."

    • I guess the phones were supposed to last forever? They got several years of use out of them. I don't see what the big deal is... not like it's a billion dollar software project that completely failed.
      • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:17PM (#55100267)

        Read TFA - they just started two years ago, and have been in the process of deploying them since then. 0-2 years is not "several years" by any stretch of the imagination.

        • That makes it even worse! If this decision had been made, say, 8 years ago it might make a tiny bit of sense, but 2 YEARS ago!!! That is eye-wateringly stupid!
          • Amortized even for just a year the cost of the windows phones are still less than i-phones which are ridiculously overpriced and non-serviceable.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:21PM (#55100285)
      And the panel listens to the best sales pitch of one person.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I have seen it for more phones. CTO wanted new phones for all of the company, so it would be easier to maintain. Gives the order for 30.000 phones. Ordered in Belgium as they would be unlocked. Also went to a reseller as SonyErricson or any other manufacturer refused to sell to him directly. The reason was that they where in several European countries and they wanted one deal. That was a no-go for those companies.

      This was before smartphones.

  • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:01PM (#55100163)
    Not just Jessica Tisch, who absolutely should be fired for this.
    She's deputy commissioner of information technology. Where in the world was her boss when she made this decision?
    Failure to act is still accountable.
  • Makes sense. Large organizations don't want their employees to have control over their devices, and that comes built in with iPhone.
    • by Strider- ( 39683 )

      I know you're trying to be facetious, but what you're saying is actually quite true. Assuming they deploy the enterprise management tools and so forth on these phones, they can lock them down so that only selected interfaces are available, white-listed applications, etc... I don't know enough about android to know whether the options are as locked down. You do not want your officer being able to install the latest, and compromised, version of a solitaire game in a unit that also has access to police record

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Monday August 28, 2017 @07:15PM (#55100537)

    So Windows phones lose 95% of their user base?

  • That is NOT a long term solution (of course), but at least gives the NYPD time to better weight their options...

    If the "Custom Egineered APPs" stop working if you go from 8.1 to 10, you have to hang not only the rich hag, but also the programers/coders who "Engineered" these APPs.

    My guess is that the phones will be upgraded to WinPho10, and the Rollout of new iPhones (or whatevur) will be gradual, just as the rollout of the original WinPho ones took two years.

    • The Lumia 640XL came with Windows 10 Mobile. I'm not sure that the 830 supported such an upgrade. But Microsoft has stopped developing Windows 10 Mobile any further - from now on, they'll be just on maintenance.
      • by stooo ( 2202012 )

        >> Windows 10 Mobile ... an upgrade.

        What are you talking about ?
        W10 an upgrade ??????

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      If the "Custom Egineered APPs" stop working if you go from 8.1 to 10, you have to hang not only the rich hag, but also the programers/coders who "Engineered" these APPs.

      How are the developers supposed to know when they write the app that it won't be compatible with the next version of the OS? Assuming they're not doing anything they're not supposed to like using unsupported APIs and such.

  • For decades now, one could not be blamed by choosing Microsoft, even if it was badly suited for the job. It seems even that is changing.
  • Will they get the new iphone or an mix of 7 and 8?

  • I didn't know there were that many Windows phones out there in the wild. With this return, that will make this the first smartphone to enjoy negative sales.

  • "ill-fated"? How? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @09:52PM (#55101149)
    In what way was it an "ill-fated" decision? There article didn't say that the phones didn't work, or didn't do what they were supposed to do. I fail to see the problem with using un-popular technology.
  • Jessica's response (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @07:01AM (#55102337) Homepage

    http://nypdnews.com/2017/08/de... [nypdnews.com]

    Interesting part:

    "The contract entered provided for the smartphones at no cost. It also allowed for the NYPD to replace the smartphones with devices of our choosing two years later, also at no cost."

    She also claims that they're already neck deep in Windows, so the Windows phones were easier to roll out. Plus, iOS and Android didn't allow "us to cost-effectively utilize prior investment in custom Windows applications."

    As others have noted, she's a political appointee. It would be interesting to find out why or how the contract provided for the smartphones at no cost.

    • http://nypdnews.com/2017/08/de... [nypdnews.com]

      Interesting part:

      "The contract entered provided for the smartphones at no cost. It also allowed for the NYPD to replace the smartphones with devices of our choosing two years later, also at no cost."

      She also claims that they're already neck deep in Windows, so the Windows phones were easier to roll out. Plus, iOS and Android didn't allow "us to cost-effectively utilize prior investment in custom Windows applications."

      As others have noted, she's a political appointee. It would be interesting to find out why or how the contract provided for the smartphones at no cost.

      Free phones, plus free replacements 2 years later, plus the functionality to run your custom Windows applications? I think I would have made the same decision, provided that testing confirmed app functionality.

    • Doesn't Bing pay people to use it, too?

    • @Trailer Trash [slashdot.org]: "The contract entered provided for the smartphones at no cost. It also allowed for the NYPD to replace the smartphones with devices of our choosing two years later, also at no cost."

      Do you have a link to the exact contract and do you know who was responsible for developing the original apps that would have to to be totally rewritten for Windows 10?
  • IT director / executive makes overwhelmingly bad decision, costs organization millions, gets bonus.

    Film at 11.

  • ... will be available on Copart [copart.com]. In the biohazard section.

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