Microsoft's graveyard: 8 products Microsoft killed in 2016

Here’s a roundup of products, services and more that Microsoft rid itself of in 2016.

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Microsoft has rolled out plenty of new things in 2016, including the latest edition of Windows Server, additions to its Azure cloud platform and increased availability of its futuristic HoloLens mixed reality technology. But as always, the company has had to make room for the new by ditching some of the old. Here’s a roundup of products, services and more that Microsoft rid itself of in 2016. (Here’s our broader 2016 Tech Industry Graveyard and our 2016 Google Graveyard.)

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Sunrise calendar app

The sun set on Sept. 13 on this calendar app for iOS, Android, Mac and the Web, after Microsoft “kept our promise to bring the magic of Sunrise to the Outlook calendar - and the Outlook inbox while we were at it…”

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Project Astoria

You definitely need a scorecard to keep up with all the ins and outs of Windows 10, but one notable change early in the year was Microsoft’s decision to ax Project Astoria, which had been introduced last year at the company’s Build event. Astoria was a bridge designed to help developers bring Android apps to the Universal Windows Platform. Microsoft is now pushing Xamarin, a dev platform it acquired earlier in 2016.

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Windows Essentials 2012

Microsoft is pulling the plug on support for this suite, which includes Live Mail, on Jan. 10, 2017. Microsoft specifically warned Live Mail users about upgrading from the free app to the Mail App on Windows or using on the Web. The company is pulling customers into its Office 365 world, which uses new security and communications protocols that the older system doesn’t support.

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Project Spark

Microsoft removed its Project Spark game creation platform from the Windows Store and Xbox Marketplace in October, after the platform for enabling users to build games with no coding experience went into maintenance mode the month before. “This was an extremely difficult decision for our team...It’s simply no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping “Project Spark” up and running,” Microsoft announced on the Project Spark forums.

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Windows IE 8, 9 & 10

Microsoft in January alerted customers that it was ending support for its IE 8, 9 & 10 browsers and urged people and organizations to move to IE 11 or Edge, the new default browser for Windows 10. IE 8, 9 and 10 will still work, but you really take a security risk by continuing to use them. IE first arrived on the scene in 1995.

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Microsoft (Skype) Qik

This is one of those things that disappeared that you might not have realized existed in the first place. Buried somewhere within the spin in this blog post by Microsoft’s Skype team is the news that Skype Qik was being killed off because it was redundant with similar features that have been added to Skype over the years as the service has increasingly been employed by mobile users. Skype bought the short video messaging service dubbed Qik back in 2011 shortly before Microsoft snapped up Skype, and then Microsoft launched Skype Qik in 2014.

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Lumia phones

Microsoft still displays a bevy of Lumia phones on its website, but the fate of Lumia looms as a gripping murder mystery in the making, as headlines scream “Microsoft set to kill off Lumia devices in favor of Surface phone” and “Microsoft is finally killing Lumia phones this December.” We’ll know soon enough. Meanwhile, expect some biiiiig Black Friday markdowns on these Windows devices.

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Microsoft Earn

Microsoft announced in October it would stop accepting new members and would be closing its Earn program on March, 2017. Earn enabled people in certain states (Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington) to build up credit to spend in the Microsoft Store by shopping at other retailers such as Starbucks and Whole Foods that were approved by Microsoft. Earn, still labeled as Beta, launched in 2015.

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