NYPD Abandons 36K Windows Phones For Apple iPhones After Just Two Years

Law enforcement officials in New York are not happy with NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Jessica Tisch, who made the decision two years ago to purchase 36,000 Nokia brand smartphones running Microsoft's unpopular Windows Phone platform. Due to Microsoft's lack of ongoing support, all of the phones have to be decommissioned, and replaced with iPhone models from Apple.

The move to replace what are essentially outdated and obsolete Windows Phone hardware comes just months after the last one was handed out to police. While this may seem like an overreaction, bear in mind that law enforcement sometimes rely on these devices in life and death situations. Trusting those moments to an operating system that has become an afterthought by Microsoft (even if it will not fully admit it) is not something that police are keen are doing. These phones also contained nearly a dozen specialized apps.

Lumia 640 XL

"Nobody purchases 36,000 phones based on the judgement of one person," a frustrated law enforcement official told the New York Post. "I don't care if you're Jesus f**king Christ, you get a pane of experts."

Indeed, experts were critical of Tisch's decision from the beginning. At the time, Windows Phone held a paltry 2.3 percent share of the smartphone market in the United States, compared to Android at 65.2 percent and iOS at 30.9 percent. Fast forward to today and it is clinging to a 0.1 percent global market share. Despite the writing already being on the wall, the decision was made to forge ahead with Windows Phone devices, and that decision is now biting the agency in the backside.

Microsoft did not help matters by leaving behind many handsets, either. The phones purchased by the police department were two Nokia models, the Lumia 830 released in October 2014 and Lumia 640 XL released in March 2015. Those phones and the custom-engineered apps run on Windows 8.1, which Microsoft said it would no longer support after July 11.

There is no doubt the decision was a bad one, but whether the blame lies solely on Tisch is another matter. The purchase was made as part of a $160 million NYPD Mobility Initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio called a "huge step into the 21st century." It also had the blessing of then-NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who at the time joked that Tisch "was a terror if she doesn't get her way, so I usually let her get her way."