There comes a point in every corporation's life when it's time to usher on steadfast loyalists into the brave new world of next-generation products. For Microsoft and Windows Mobile, that time is now.
On May 9, Microsoft will be closing down, boarding up, and never looking back on its Windows Marketplace for Mobile, an app store it launched in 2009 for Windows Mobile 6.5, the last iteration of its Windows Mobile OS.
The message to hangers-on is clear: Windows Phone Marketplace and the Windows Phone OS overhaul are Microsoft's OS future now--and there's no going back.
Of course, if you count yourself a Windows Mobile owner, that doesn't mean that you can't continue to use the apps you already have, and nobody will stop you from sideloading apps through third-party sites (like CNET's Download.com, to shamelessly name just one.)
So the bottom line is: if you're using a Windows Mobile 6.X phone, now's the time to back up your apps and other data offline. If you accidentally delete an app, or if your phone gets wiped, you'll have little recourse for recovering what you've lost.
Microsoft's cold shoulder to Windows Mobile should come as no surprise. Ever since launching Windows Phone 7, the company has transitioned away from Windows Mobile and instead backed the new OS as its only chance for future mobile success.