While 2021 was a big year for new devices and services from Microsoft, the company also ended support for several of its products. Gamers, business customers, and general consumers all lost out on at least one Microsoft-made item. Here are the biggest things that Microsoft killed off in 2021.
Windows 10X was meant to be a new version of Windows made from the ground up for modern computing. It was built on top of Windows Core OS, which removed legacy components in the name of a better user experience and improved security. The new OS was even available for Insiders to try out but was canceled in May 2021.
"Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company," said Microsoft.
Microsoft didn't just put a new skin on top of Windows when developing Windows 10X. It took a different approach to computing. That came with some bumps in the road and sticking points about how to support legacy applications. Ultimately, the company decided to take some elements created for Windows 10X and place them in Windows 11.
While Windows 11 has legacy support and is built on the same core as Windows 10 and previous versions of Windows, it does have several of the elements seen in Windows 10X. The new Start menu, Taskbar, and Action Center all appeared on Windows 10X before making their way to Windows 11. The improved touch keyboard, voice typing experience, and several other features also made their way to Windows 11 from Windows 10X.
The end of Windows 10X also marked the likely end of the Surface Neo. Microsoft's handheld foldable PC was set to run Windows 10X. There's still a possibility that we could see the Neo running Windows 11, but there's a good chance that the device will never be available for consumers.
Minecraft Earth was a spinoff of the popular Minecraft series that merged the iconic game with the real world. Initially revealed in 2019, Minecraft Earth brought an augmented reality experience to iOS and Android devices. Unfortunately for those that enjoyed the game, the end of Minecraft Earth was announced at the beginning of the year, and the game closed down on June 30, 2021.
While Minecraft Earth drew criticism for how it aggressively handled microtransactions and its time limits for certain tasks, there were aspects of the game that were worthwhile. Our Zachary Boddy broke down some lessons that Minecraft could learn from Minecraft Earth.
Microsoft replaced the old Microsoft Edge with the new Microsoft Edge in a Windows 10 update in April 2021. The newer version of Edge, which is based on Chromium, came out in 2020, but Microsoft took its time to roll it out as a complete replacement for the older version of Edge.
Generally speaking, the new Microsoft Edge has received better reviews than its predecessor. Because it's based on Chromium, the new Edge has better compatibility with websites and supports extensions. Microsoft also regularly adds features to the new Edge.
While the new version of Edge works well, and is considered by some to be one of the best Windows apps, it has received criticism this year. Microsoft aggressively pushed the browser on people and added buy now, pay later functionality this year. Microsoft making certain elements of Windows open in Edge despite people's default browser settings has also caused complaints.
Timeline syncing across devices
The Timeline feature on Windows is still technically around, but Microsoft removed its core functionality. Timeline lost the ability to sync across devices in July 2021, at least for those with Microsoft accounts (Azure Active Directory accounts were unaffected by the change). For most Windows users, the feature is just a chronological Task View. Timeline has its uses, but it isn't what it once was.
Syncing your timeline across certain devices required Cortana. The iOS and Android apps for Cortana have since been discontinued, making Timeline less useful. The end of the mobile Cortana apps likely factored into Microsoft discontinuing Timeline syncing across devices.
Skype for Business
Microsoft announced the end of Skype for Business back in 2019. This was done to give organizations enough time to transition to a replacement, such as Microsoft Teams. On July 31, 2021, Microsoft retired Skype for Business Online.
With two years to make the switch, many businesses were able to move over to Teams or another offering. Microsoft has a support document (opens in new tab) for organizations that still need to move away from Skype for Business.
OneGuide TV listings on the Xbox One
Microsoft has moved away from TV-centric features for the Xbox One for quite some time. That trend continued with the end of TV listings in OneGuide on the Xbox One in May 2021.
It's clear that Microsoft has prioritized gaming on Xbox consoles, which makes sense. Unfortunately, that shift has hurt the ability to use an Xbox device as a media hub. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S don't even support Microsoft's own Xbox One Digital TV Tuner. The new consoles also lack the OneGuide app.
Last year, our senior editor Zac Bowden analyzed if you can replace the Xbox One with an Xbox Series X or S when it comes to viewing TV.
With the death of OneGuide TV listings on the Xbox One, Microsoft's older console lost support for one of its last remaining dedicated TV functions.
More in the graveyard
These are the biggest products and services that Microsoft ended in 2021, but it's not a comprehensive list. Killed by Microsoft keeps a detailed timeline of what Microsoft ends support for. That site's timeline goes back to 1995, so you can reminisce about when Microsoft Bob reached its end of support.
Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.
No mention of the Surface Book? What about the i3 Surface Pro's demise, that came with a $200 price increase on the i5 model, making the starting price for a Surface Pro increase from $750 to $1,100? Heck, "reasonable pricing on Surface products" could have been its own topic.
The surface pro starts at $899, same as the i3 did when it first came out. Also, the surface series has ALWAYS been a premium brand, and therefore commanded higher pricing. The i3 was never up to snuff for performance this time around, and reviews on that were consistent. Making it cheaper doesn't change that. Finally, there's the surface go. If you want a much lower price, you can go with a surface go with your i3 processor, 8GB RAM and 128GB storage right now less than 700. That's why there's no i3 pro, it doesn't make sense
Microsoft doesn't compete against their partners. They compete against Apple MacBooks at the high end and Google's Chromebooks at the low end, hence the pricing.
In the hearts and minds of Duo owners, the biggest thing Microsoft killed off in 2021 was their word.
I came for this.
Yup, MS is effectively killing off the Duo. I feel bad for those Duo fans who also went through the same thing with Windows Phone.
And windows central killed off their userbase with that Linux fanboy screaming on about how Linux is better than windows in all aspects, I think I got censored for responding to the troll posts of the author for simply saying that I will choose to leave this website rather than deal with this nonsense, just as others with no time for this, would, cause we come here for practical purposes as fellow Windows users tend to be, I don't think that such writers are introducing it at all, rather trolling on about and censoring users who respond to their childish articles of which the criticism they cant seem to handle. so much of that article is off, the lack of awareness of the author is astounding for a tech forum such as WC, the commentators have more accurate knowledge about the topic than the author himself, that speaks volumes.
Methinks thou dost protest too much. (Hey, it was just an opinion piece.) I've used every version of Windows, except Vista [just lucky, I guess], and my favorite OS is still--wait for it... MVS! Now, my favorite Windows versions are--in order: Win7, Win2k, WinXP, WinNT, and DOS (when "win" was just an environment running on DOS). In between, I'm a Unix (not Linux) guy. But, really, it's all about the programs you need to run, not so much how or where you run them. The only thing really keeping Windows from being more "popular" (not hated?) now is Microsoft. It's not so much that people want to stop using Windows but that they want to stop having anything to do with Microsoft.
I think this is mostly about whats practical for people who don't have time to deal with the extra jangle in their lives, everyone likes ease of use and functional support, nobody promotes Linux without speaking of the issues that one would have to deal with, unless they are, either unware of the issues related to it or simply do not care about casual users who just want to get on with it "hassle free". where as the piece itself misleading about something that certainly is not easy to setup nor maintain. "One does not simply install Linux"
The typical Windows user's reluctance to use Linux?
Talking about what is killed off, can you sack fake writer in this website aka Linux parasite like @RICH EDMONDS ?? This guy article is very controversial and dumb, at this point he looks like going to split people and maybe will killed off Windows Central if you keep this Linux fanboy in this website.
Now that is a habit with Microsoft...!
I kind of liked the idea behind Timeline. Its a handy feature but I disliked that you could not type to search (instead you had to click a small icon in the top end corner).
I wonder what the 2022 update to this article will look like? Other than having 1 year old comments, of course.
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