Amtrak too is discontinuing their app for Windows phone starting today

Microsoft's lack of mobile market share is starting to catch up with its app catalog. Last night, we reported that MyFitnessPal was dropping support and now we have confirmation that Amtrak – the National Railroad Passenger Corporation – is discontinuing their app for Windows phone starting today. In related news, Amtrak actually had an app for Windows Phone.

The information was made available on internal documentation for employees as guidance on the status of the app.

The memorandum states:

Due to low levels of use by customers, Amtrak has decided to shutdown the Windows Phone version of the mobile app. Launched in December 2013, the app was well received by customers but the Windows Phone platform itself has not gained traction and is used by less than 1% of Amtrak customers.The app will be removed from the Microsoft Marketplace on Saturday, August 13, 2016 and server support disabled on Sunday, August 14, 2016. Customers using Windows Phones who attempt to use the app to check train status, search for available tickets or login to their accounts will receive a message informing them that support has ended and to visit Amtak.com (accessible through the browser on the phone). All functionality available through the app is available through the mobile version of Amtrak.com.The iPhone and Android versions of the mobile app will of course continue to be supported.

The memo is to serve as guidance for customers inquiring about the app once support is removed.

Amtrak has not updated the app for Windows phone since early 2015 and lacked any advances for Windows 10 Mobile. Nonetheless, it did work quite well and offered the basics including support for eTickets.

There is no sugar coating this loss as Amtrak – for better or worse – is a big customer for Microsoft to lose, but you cannot fault them too much either. Less than 1% is exactly what it sounds like to a business that has to watch where it spends its money.

While an argument could be made that Amtrak could benefit from a Windows 10 Universal app for PC, tablets, and phone, the company evidently is not convinced.

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

248 Comments
  • I took Amtrak a few weeks ago. Their website is a terrible mess and makes airlines look like geniuses for customer ease of use. Still, it was a fun experience (I took Acela) I also did not even remember they had an app for Windows phone, which due to the lack of updates/innovation is likely why it stayed off my radar. Point is, even I was surprised to read this only to remember they actually have/had an app. Visibility is important and so is innovation. Microsoft is clearly reaping what it sowed, but at the same time, it seems like every app that is leaving is an app that hasn't been updated in over a year or longer. App strategy is not as easy as just putting it on the Marketplace, er, Store and leaving it there to wither.
  • Daniel, nevertheless the ms app store is poor in regards to android and no one is interested in porting to it. I tried an android phone for the last month (P9 lite) and the OS did not convince me even if the phone is gorgeous. WP is sweet.
  • How is this "nevertheless"? Your statement doesn't contradict anything I have stated. The Mobile store is lacking, always has for Windows phone. It's a matter of what users can put up with these days. There's no wrapping it any other way.
  • Sorry wrong match of words
  • Not surprising consider even MS doesnt want to support Win 8.1/Win RT, how can we expect other devs to support us
  • I wish Microsoft would update all the hardware running their older OSes to Win10. I feel ripped off with my WinRT tablet not being able to be updated to Win10 Mobile. At the very least unlock the bios/firmware to allow me to install Win10 Mobile.
  • Didn't you hear? Microsoft accidently leaked their secure boot keys which works with all Windows versions. Anybody with those keys could unlock RT and install what the tablet could support, even Android. Just need some hacker to work on the process to do it. Obviously not only RT but any Surface device or system that locks Windows to the device.
  • R0bR The 'Golden Keys' leaked doesn't grant full access to every device, it's only granting a limited subset of devices and most of those are no longer supported from what I've seen. It's not as big a deal as the media is making it out to be. Updated, August 12: Microsoft has now responded to the Secure Boot blooper. The company said: "The jailbreak technique described in the researchers’ report on August 10 does not apply to desktop or enterprise PC systems. It requires physical access and administrator rights to ARM and RT devices and does not compromise encryption protections." Source: http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2016/08/microsoft-secure-boot-firmware... The keys will likely have already been revoked or restricted, whilst it's impossible to patch every affected device in existence you'll find many of the supported devices will now be protected from any usage of the key through firmware updates and also Windows Policies. Note I've not seen a complete list of affected devices, and there's very little evidence to say otherwise that this is anything but a minor security breach. An embaressing one, sure, but it's still a minor breach. Rule No. 1 about security: It's impossible to be secure 100% of the time.
  • Perhaps with the debug policy leak it will be possible to install Android on the WinRT platform.  (Likely that these kinds of hacks are being developed!) One thing is for sure -- the last two iterations of Windows only offer a dead-end platform, watered down from what Windows once was. #nevertiles
  • Yeah, the Nokia 2520 would be the easiest  RT device to convert to win10 with the "secure boot keys" hack . Basically its the same hardware as a Nokia 1520, which runs windows 10 perfectly. With 10 hour battery life, and another 3 hours in the keyboard, 1080p Netflix, and prices around $50 on ebay, the Nokia 2520 would make a nice cheap Win10 tablet on ARM.  Someone should tell XDA developers!
  • Thank you for being honest.
  • I came from a HTC M9 Android phone to a 950XL and haven't regretted it. I use all 3 mobile OSes on a daily basis at work and by far Win10 Mobile is better. Where Microsoft have an advantage in the long term is their one core universal app and OS strategy across PCs, Laptops, Tablets, Hybrids, consoles & Mobiles. The other 2 major players just don't have that. I'm looking forward to UWPs on my XBox One.
  • Phone centric apps will suffer significant loss because of the new approach. That was obvious from the start, even though many were in denial of the obvious. Being able to use a desktop / Xbox app on your phone also is definitely going to improve, but at the expense of loosing lots of phone 1st apps seems like a poor trade off. And then there's the divided ecosystem problem, for the third time, on an already small platform.
  • Let's not forget that a lot of these companies never even let people know that there was a Windows app on their websites. You can find the iOS and Android app badges on their front page but never the Windows one. That said I'm not sure what more MS could do.
  • My favorite is now I see some apps have a badge that says [.com] next to [Apple Store] [Google Play]. It's a literal badge for their website, but they can't be bothered with a Windows Phone one. FOX Sports though does in their ad on TV, so kudos to them. Unfortunately, most people won't give them credit for doing it right, instead, we highlight the ones who don't.
  • The CBS News app ads also have the Windows badge! I was excited to see it lol.
  • Domino's Pizza Hut has a badge too, and the app it's pretty impressive.
  • I agree. The Domino's app is ferry smooth.
  • It's weird. For a couple years I've notice that they will say the Apple store or Google Play and not mention the windows store even when they have a Windows app. Weird.
  • Daniel could you plz tell us, when this bridge program from iOS starts porting quality app for windows phone.
    Are we on a sinking ship ?? If it is so, then i will be very thankful if u exaggerate the date when the torpedo hit this ship. If u have any news about Nokia plz tell me or give me a link to read it out.
  • Where did you hear about ios porting apps to windows?
  • Fox Sports Go is awesome on WP8, I probably watch it more than TV
  • This is really been a problem which I wonder if Microsoft ever make the Windows Store badge mandatory as part of publishing the app on Windows Store, or at least highly encourage. Releasing an app to certain platform then not even bothering to show the badge and advertise them is really odd, it's like wasting development resources not letting people know that their app exist. This thing has to be really communicated properly between Microsoft and app developer/publisher, then hopefully that the app publisher/developer make sure that app published have badge shown and advertised properly to the advertising agency, in accordance to the guidelines when publishing apps to the Windows Store. Likely that the advertising agency just wasn't aware that the app is available on Windows Store (or even know if it exist), this forgetting to put them on ad materials. The company who published the app to Windows Store might not even properly communicated of its existence within internally to their employees.
  • It really should be mandatory. The badge guidelines and content are readily accessible and easy to use. https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/store/badges
  • Then there is no excuse not to use it. What's the point developing and publishing the app when you don't advertise its there? Microsoft should do something about this and make it mandatory as part of the publishing app on Windows Store, no less.
  • Why doesn't MS have a dept that actively chases up all clients with apps on all Windows products and offer to create and maintain UWPs for them at super cheap pricing?
    Would be a boom for them surely?? Penny wise and dollar foolish sometimes.
  • Let's not forget that if it mattered to us as Windows Phone users then we'd look for an app to see if it existed.  I'm just sayin
  • By that logic, there's no need to have an Android or iOS badge on their websites because the people on those respective platforms should automatically look for the app. And yet these companies understand enough about advertising to represent the other platforms on their site. If they actually cared whether people could use the app they've spent the resources to publish, they would tell people about it.
  • You're right there is no need to have an Android or IOS bade on their site. You wanna know if something is out for you then look for it.  Don't expect the world to tell you everything.    
  • At what point does it become okay for a company to expect their customers to check back every single day or week for their app to show up in a store without making the slightest effort to inform them of its existence? Yes, we check the Windows store but eventually the amount of time spent searching reaches ridiculous levels and falls into the realm of poor customer service and/or deliberate miscommunication.
  • This is also a less excuse since the badge can be just added with the ad material if they already have ad promoting the app on other platforms. Unless they only published an app to Windows Store, then yeah that's additional resources. Even then, they're wasting resources of making apps regardless of the platform if they never advertise them, not letting people know it exist. It's really odd having it missing.
  • Lowes (and/or HomeDepot) and Realtor does this too. They have a WP app but never advertise it at the end of their commercials. Sad.
  • What, there's a Lowes app? Gonna have to check that out. :D
    To your point, *sigh*
  • I haven't looked in a while, but I think Lowes and Home Depot apps are just web wrappers.  Maybe their development teams don't know they have apps either :-).
  • No, there isn't. It's a Microsoft web wrapper. Not official or published by Lowes.
  • If it's a web wrapper and not even published themselves then that's understandable and not surprising. If the company published the app themselves, they have their own responsibility to advertise it.
  • Realtor does have a windows badge.
  • If an App just works there is no need to update it.  So not having updated it in over a year does not = no support. I can say this because I am a developer (well not so much these days, because I now mange developers) and if I make something that works my customers only ever request a change if new functanily is needed, there is a performance issue or security concern.   If the app is doing what it was designed to do then why does it need an update?  The fact that it is doing what it was developed to do means it's being supported, becasue the infrastructure is in place.  
  • Amtrak could have gotten on board with W10 though and done things with Wallet, notifications, live tiles, and more. The UI was very dated and there were some issues with it on W10M (see store reviews). I mean, it didn't even hook into Cortana, which I could see a whole lot of opportunity for Amtrak beyond even the app (think Cortana showing your trains in the area, reminding you of your departure, etc.) Updating an app, changing the UI, adding features signals to the customer that this is something getting better and the company has interest. Even a site like us it's a big deal. A new app update comes out, we cover it, and people go "oh yeah, there's that thing". I didn't even remember they had an app, what does that say about everyone else?
  • I actually used the Amtrak app quite frequently. This sucks. Even though it wasn't updated recently, it worked really well and covered all of my needs. I, too, am a developer and I understand the lack of a need to update software if it works well enough. Daniel, while you think having this app off your radar was their fault, if you traveled on Amtrak and didn't even bother to look for the app, you're part of the problem. People on other platforms automatically look for the app before browsing to the site. It has become second nature for WP/WM users to do the opposite because we expect it doesn't exist. That's a problem for the platform. Well, that and the fact that we have NO F**KING phones! #StillUsingAnIcon
  • I also used this app quite a bit. Yes it was dated. Yes, it could have been better. But it was still helpful and losing it is unfortunate.
  • 'worked well' in the past doesn't necessarily mean "still works well" even though no code has changed. Time passes. Technology advances. Ideas evolve. Old things come to look older. 'quality' can deteriorate over time if the product begins to lose value when compared to other competitor products, if the competitor products are advancing and your app isn't. Hence why if you care about it, you need to keep it relevant and valuable. Just sayin...
  • In this case, what competitor product?  No compition no need to inovate.
  • Their website is a mess! Tried to use it a couple weeks ago to see about a family day trip to Chicago, but gave up.
  • Why are you ******* Amtrak simply because they're removing the app? I have probably taken it more than you, and I've never had an issue with the website or their customer service.  Particularly, their in-person customer service at the train stations have been very good and swift to work with. Also, I don't think their website, or that of the average airline carrier is that bad.  Amtrak.com is fairly clean, as is AmericanAirlines.com.  I could say the same for United.com. Maybe you only visit CheapTickets or SkyScanner? The thing you're saying about leaving it there to whither is harping on a symptom instead of the problem.  The Apps were not updated because the developers likely seen usage was terrible and therefore did not give it any attention.  Amazon hasn't updated their Kindle for Windows apps in forever (the RT apps), and it's likely for that exact same reason - there are not enough people using the app to make it a priority.  If they remove it, does it really matter if you come here and say "The app was terrible anyways, and they barely ever updated it..."  No, it doens't.  What it means for users and potential users, is that there is one more service they cannot conveniently access on the platform, and that's not something you can "explain away." The apps were allowed to stay there as a convenience to the few users (comparatively speaking) that were using them, but developers get to a point where they simply do not want to have to support those users, as keeping the app there will eventually force them to devote time and resources to updating it.  So, they eventually have to pull it. You never knew they had an app for Windows Phone, becuase you barely take Amtrak and therefore never had a huge incentive to think about it. This is normal.  You probably don't know that Sean's bank doesn't have a Windows Phone app and that's why he's still using Android, becuase you don't use his bank and frankly don't care for that reason. "I took Amtrak a few weeks ago" doesn't give you any extra credibility.  In the Northeast, Amtrak basically functions like the big train that takes you between cities in the Chicago region.  It's a very important service.  I'm pretty sure there was an article here when Amtrak launched their app as well.  For both its launch and it's updates (latest in April 2015).
  • Hmm... If the developers invested the time to update their app into a UWP app, then they'd have access to much more users, which defeats your argument about why devs shouldnt update due to lack of users... Unless the devs don't know about the UWP?
  • You are assuming there are a lot of UWP users. Those desktop users you are referring to have a full web browser and likely an iPhone or Android phone to access apps. I would bet that a large number of those users also don't use UWP at all.
  • Danial I think WC should stop reporting such negative news about apps that leaving windows store. It only only hurting the platform and reminding people that better to switch android /ios. Nobody really cared about this app till today and whats the point of reporting it now. So stop spreading negative vibes among windows fans and give chance for others to laugh at us.
  • Blinders Engaged! Reality Distortion Field Active!
  • You're Cypher from the Matrix.
  • if you are ashamed of your phone OS choice, you have bigger problems than WC announcing another app leaving.  Who is laughing at you? iOS users? Android users? if that bothers you, maybe you should get one of those devices. 
  • They are doing that. Remember a week or two ago report Nadulla cutting more jobs? WC never reported it. Don't worry fanboy. WC got your back.
  • I think you're right here and Microsoft is trying to make it's own history here. We are talking about an OS that all but dominates the PC market but struggles in the mobile market. So what do you do? Has this ever happened before? Will this be a slowly dying horse like Blackberry OS? The community is right. The struggles of trying to get the OS out the door fast enough has been a hindrance. Not keeping up with the PC is really starting to affect the OS. Personally, I think it is bad to sell too many phones at once. Maybe Microsoft should focus on their Lumia line and ensure that their OS works there. They have the capital backing them so now it is time to buckle down and get the OS moving. If they keep falling behind they could see serious downfall. If their target is business with the HP market, they have all but lost the business people who take Amtrak. This is a killer in my opinion. So what now? Microsoft is killing it in terms of innovation with HoloLens but that's because that's a product that has huge future potential. It's time to release the OS's that actually match up universally. So that the average person can say, hey, my phone is the same as my tablet/desktop/laptop. That's what people want. And they want something with apps. If they don't, it may be time to capitulate.
  • Lumia is dead.
  • As this and other sites have already reported, the Lumia line of devices and the branding is dead; the last Lumia produced by Micrsosoft was the 650.  Going forward, it's been reported, that there will likely be a single mobile device produced under the 'Surface' brand, some time in 2017, and.....not much else is known.
  • The important thing is you survived an Amtrak ride!
  • We all talk about the big apps coming and going away but there are small apps that other OS have that MS won't ever that may only be used by even a smaller percentage of users.
  • We booked our Amtrak tickets months ago and didn't know about the app either, I usually assume there is no app for this kind of thing, I think there is only one airline that has one in the US as well but we don't fly it.
  • How de we know about new apps when all Windows Central covers lately are a ton of WhatsApp tutorials??
  • I never knew they had an app
  • it was mentioned awhile back
  • I did and was hoping to use it on a trip to the east coast next month. Ah well. Frees up some storage on my phone.
  • Another one hit the dust ;)
  • Is Microsoft's own Flow on Windows Phone? :D https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/getting-started/#use-the-... Rest in peace Windows Phone.
  • Wow, n MS expects us to cling onto this platform. its a pity.
  • *bit the dust
  • I'm glad! The more MS lose support, the you'll realize you miss Elop and baldmer.
  • Speaking of market share, the railroads all went out of the passenger business many years ago. Amtrak is a shining example of government incompetence providing a service nobody wants, and only stays in business because they are subsidized by the taxpayer.
  • I'd argue it's more complicated than that. There is a clear reason why trains are popular on the rest of the planet except the US and it's not because we put mayonnaise on everything and fry our foods. There is a long history of automakers interfering with public transportation in this country and it clear our infrastructure favors cars e.g. Acela can only hit top speeds in very limited areas. That is not by accident, but by money and interest groups. It's a shame. My Amtrak experience, my first in a decade, was enjoyable. I plan on using them from Boston to NYC instead of driving or flying, which both do no make any sense.