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BBC iPlayer app for Windows Phone to be retired in April

Another Windows Phone app is getting ready to bite the dust, as the BBC has just announced that the BBC iPlayer app will be retired in April. The BBC made its announcement in a FAQ page on its website, noting that Windows 10 Mobile Mobile users will still be able to stream shows via BBC iPlayer on the web in Microsoft Edge.

So what's the reason for the app's death? Basically, it comes down to the cost of maintaining the app. From the BBC (via MSPU):

When the BBC iPlayer app was originally created it was not technically possible to playback BBC programmes via the browser. As it's now possible to playback via the browser it's no longer cost effective for the BBC to maintain a BBC iPlayer app for Windows mobile devices. And by using the browser version of BBC iPlayer, Windows phone users will get the benefits of the web version as it evolves.

As some will rightly point out, this leaves anyone still hanging onto Windows Phone 8.1 in a bit of a pickle, as Microsoft Edge is the only compatible browser mentioned and it's only available in Windows 10 Mobile. As the FAQ notes, you'll still be able to stream radio programs on Windows Phone 8.1, but video content will be a no-go.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

69 Comments
  • Next one please
  • Rubbish app anyway, and irrelevant now you need a TV License.
  • Does Microsoft really have any plans to speak of?
  • I'm sure the employees do but if it doesn't have to do with the "cloud" or his stock options, Nutella doesnt give a damn.
  • If Nadella notices lost apps at all, it's apparent he just shrugs.
  • Because this clown is worried about his pockets and thats it.
  • Windows 10 is covered trough edge. Update your phone, buy a new one or quit with the program!
  • Don't be fooled by BBC claiming maintenance costs.
    They have tonnes of versions of the same app on all smart TV's, all blu-ray players and other plaforms.
    In this case, Microsoft is not to blame for corporate jealousy.
    Stick around, you don't need BBC.
  • Retrench, aw yeah!!!
  • Should I already abandon ship or should I still buy the Idol 4s? Kind of tough time to be Windows Mobile fan... :-(
  • I would jump ship and see if things improve in a year. It is not worth the investment with so much uncertainty surrounding WM.
  • Have to agree. Windows phones have potential, but it may not necessarily be in the form of a Windows 10 Mobile device. I wouldn't buy any new Windows phone that isn't from Microsoft. We need to know where they're going with this.
  • And since Microsoft laid off the entire Windows phone division, I think we do know...nowhere.
  • I'd either abandon ship or wait for the Surface Mobile. I wouldn't buy anything new right now.
  • Well I have the 950 and very pleased, I tried continuum on the cheap and ended up buying the official dock. Sure if your after loads of apps and games your limited but for working, media browsing its very good. Remember this is in its infancy but looks promising.
  • I can recommend the Oneplus 3... It's honestly a shame about Windows phone. I'd hoped for an alternative to Android, but it never quite got there.
  • if the 3T 128GB had been in stock id have jumped today. everyday that passes the surface phone seems to get further away. i was tolerating the missing apps - amazon video, airlines & hotel chains, & the apps that didnt get the updates they got on iOS & android, but in the last few months eBay gone, amazon gone, iplayer gone. things arent going to improve until the surface phone launches & by then it may be too late. after 9 years & 8 phones its time to say goodbye to windows mobile & give android a try, at least for a year.
  • I'm seriously looking at the 3T as a replacement for my 950XL. Little bit worried about potentially losing camera quality, but I can see me getting one or something similar very soon. How is it?
  • forget about the Idol.... you have some better options: Android - One 3T/Samsung S7 or wait for the new Nokia 8/Samsung S8...... another option is to wait till new trends arrive (foldened devices). W10 mobile is dead... W10 as an universal system could be good... but......
  • I got a Samsung S7 and I only lasted 3 months and went back to a 950XL. Windows 10 is a much better os.
  • I will never go for Android. The only option is iOS. But I guess I will give WM one more chance and we'll see... I like WM, very much. It just doesn't get too much attention and it is out of focus for most of devs.
  • Should I already abandon ship or should I still buy the Idol 4s? Kind of tough time to be Windows Mobile fan... :-(
      This is interesting. ​Apple won over the smart phone market because 'theres an app for that' slogan that worked, not because people wanted apps, but because the internet ws still geared towards PCs using browsers, and phone hardware was poor in comparison, be that screen cpu or ram, but certainly browser compatibility. ​So it's strange given that we have mobile phones that are more than capable of doing just what the website needs to do, yet we're obsessed with apps, on platforms that offer little to no benefit from having them over using a website anyway.
  • Webs don't do it for me, I want apps. As soon as webs can give me push notifications, live tiles and performance like apps, yes why not.
  • No benefit using apps?? you clearly have no idea...
  • The Web is getting less and less useful, honestly, as more and more functionality is pushed back into applications. That's a shame.  A Web-first world is a better world, but it's not the world we have.
  • I got the idol and I love it, if you really are a Windows Mobile user and do not need f@a Snapchat:).. Get one. It's beautiful...
  • It is clear that after nearly 2 years UWP is the same flop that Windows 8 Metro/Modern apps were. Only this time in windows instead of full screen. <Opens browser>, the real universal platform :p
  • To be fair the app wasn't ever amazing and Edge is a better option, although it will mean Windows Mobile won't be getting a download feature any time soon.
  • Given the app didn't allow downloads anyway then can't see this as any loss at all. Reminded me they support HTML5 video so all good.
  • I guess with the low market share of Windows Phone, we can expect more and more apps to be abandoned. 2017 will be the year of the app exodus from the Windows Store.
  • One month in and look at how many are lost. I imagine the pace of removal will pick up over time.
  • come on its not so bad, soon bots will take over, they will watch the videos on behalf of you ;)
  • eBay then Amazon then EE and now iPlayer. One after the other. Sadly, one app I'm beginning to use a lot of is Web Tiles - a tile designer for all of the web links I'm now having to put on my start screen. It works well.
  • Amazon is still on
  • Nope, they retired that app a few months ago.
  • And again...someone tell the developers that their "web solution" is almost never as good as the app. Keep sitting on your hands Nutella. While Panos is busting ass getting whatever this mobile Surface solution is, ready for the world, your killing any app store the would be waiting for it. We can only pray this clowns days are number.
  • Keep them coming. Everything screams of a full Windows 10 ARM Surface Phone announcement in Novemeber this year. It's so obvious it hurts. Pocket PC time is nearly here. Makes sense with the nearly 90% market share Full Windows 10 has.
  • I already have a Pocket PC. MS abandoned Pocket PC users. Not a great idea to repeat that, but you're right, I can see it happening all over again.
  • A bit of a non story, no app was ever available on on the store for pc and tbh the web site is better than the app.
  • Incredible that you don't see all the whiners in the topics were a uwp gets a nice update or when an old app is converted to uwp... When the website is a viable option, who actually cares for an app? I'll surely get downvotes like mad but really don't care. You only see a lot of people here when there's "bad" news but no cheers and joy on other articles where great stuff is told.
  • Another app in the grave yard.....
  • The BBC iPlayer app was doggy doo-doo from day one.
  • Please stop it
  • Considering how much it must cost to develop Windows 10 Mobile and UWP platform, MS sure does currently very little to make them appealing.
  • I wrote too soon. Just had a play with iPlayer on edge and it's a terrific experience. The logo that comes up when you save the link to the start screen isn't brilliant. I put the proper logo to the link via Web Tiles and now I can't tell the difference. Basically, no BBC app is no loss.
  • I find it more than a little odd and perplexing how things are going with regard to the Windows app store ecosystem.  In fact I think it's short-sighted that all these so-called big technological app developers can't see past their Windows app offerings as anything more than appealing to the Windows Mobile market.  I see massive potential in not just mobile but desktop, tablet, Hololens, IOT and XBox. All are now in easy reach using the same app store, the same development tools, the same UWP app with a slight tweak for the various form factors.  Why is it that they only think mobile for Windows when IOS and Android platforms cannot hope to reach the array of Windows 10 clients in the same way.  On the flip side, I can understand that for many Windows users even those with tablets, the browser will do and many don't utilise UWP apps like for Facebook when they can visit facebook.com and get all the same, if not more functionality.  But by that same measure, you could argue that the average iPad user can equally get the best experience in a browser too.  The difference, I guess, is that some apps have a native persuasion towards a dedicated app because of the navigational and /or input mechanisms that dictate how the user interacts with the content.  I dearly wish my bank enable their Windows mobile app to work on the desktop as I think it would be fantastic and be much easier than using their website but I fully accept that the website is the most fully featured so it's unclear whether there would be the same appeal. But, since it's the same UWP app, there's not much they need to actually do to make it work. At some breaking point, Microsoft is going to have to step in and change course - I don't know what the answer is but I don't think a Surface phone is the answer.  It could be for the fans but there has to be a fundamental shift in thinking about how Microsoft gets devs to create quality apps for the Windows app store ecosystem.  Simply going full-circle and doing previously unimaginable great things on other platforms (like creating SQL Server for Linux) has its consequences.
  • they can come back anytime... to publish an APP is not a big deal... BUT they are leaving because right now, the whole system is K.O. and the future? Wait for it. Surface phone cant change the whole market, HoloLens could be beaten up by hybrid devices (VR+holo). Not only Microsoft is working on the future
  • You don't actually know if that is the sole reason... Could be they get tons of visit on their website if it's properly designed for mobile phones... I really am with the Gartner prediction that apps will decline as the web experienced grows better and better...
  • My problem with the web experience, when using my phone, is annoying ads that pop up, and sometimes you can't even get rid of them. They do such a good job of hiding or making the "x" hard to get to on a phone, that it's just easier to use an app. Plus, you're not taking into account popular apps that are designed with phone use in mind that typically gets released on iOS and Android, but not WM.
  • Really? On the BBC? I get absolutely no ads on that site (the complete opposite of the Windows Central horrific ad mess of a site). You should complain to Auntie Beeb as ads are not supposed to be allowed.
  • $10 says Netflix is next.
  • Better not, the app on PC is way better than the browser. 5.1 surround sound for starters which browsers don't support.
  • By summer Netflix will be gone.
  • So windows phone isn't dead its just dying a slow painful death. Day one windows 7 phone user, very sad to see its going app by app. Universal app just isn't bearing any fruit
  • Does somebody use this app?
  • So based on their logic they will be getting rid of the the Android and iOS apps as well since all you need is a browser? No? Didn't think so. Screw you too BBC
  • the thing is they have an app for the xbox one, probably not a UWP but you would expect them at some point to update it to UWP if they are continuing development on. so in that case why not make it available then for mobile and the millions of Win 10 desktop users in the UK.
  • Maybe on Full Windows 10 their data says that they are happy using the browser? I don't know just guessing.
  • I don't know if it has been reported here, but the EE app (carrier in the UK) is discontinued as well. Now when opening the app it's written the windows phone app will cease working "soon" and they ask to use the mobile website. Sad times indeed...
  • Even carriers are fed up with this pathetic OS
  • The web version is actually very good, probably a bit better than the actual app, but this is still a big hit for UK users. It's one of the key apps on the store really, and its now another one gone. Real shame.
  • I don't know why everyone is so disappointed in these apps leaving the store. If people remember, apps only really came about because mobile browsers were absolute rubbish. Nowadays though, most apps are just a container for the website, and mobile browsers are 90% there with the desktop counterparts. All you really need the App store for now is games and things like Sensor tools. The only thing that really was disappointing was Minecraft no longer getting updates. But if Windows 10 on ARM and this Windows 10 cloud are coming, then you can just use the Win 10 one.
  • The key disaster about this truly dreadful app was it's inability to download content to watch later. Android and iOS no problem, Windows = no way. This is just putting an end to a limping dog. I remember iOS users going nuts when the BBC didn't support them when the iPlayer launched. Their lobbying paid off. I can't believe it would have been that costly to port the iOS app to Windows. Surely then it would be updating just the one code base. Only way out now is full Windows on ARM phone where sites like iPlayer will have same functionality , download progs etc, just as on a pc.
  • Just noticed tonight that the Halifax banking app now states it will cease to work and will be removed and they direct you to their mobile site.
  • Was that a thing?
  • Issue is the Idols with Windows is only in the USA and Canada, what a silly move. Plenty of people in other countries would grab one of these if we had the chance.
  • HAHA!! In your face Microshit!
  • The problem is that app developers think W10 = mobile apps but there are millions of users with Windows 10 PCs that can run these apps. The BBC have not released a single UWP app for Windows PCs except for the BBC Store. Media playback apps such as iPlayer are ideal for PCs
  • Another app to clog up your system , what's the point when the web version works well, its not like it's in chrome and limited to 720p