Microsoft doubles Windows Phone 8 lifecycle

Windows Phone 8

Redmond extends support to three years in a bid to win over business users

Microsoft has extended support for Windows Phone 8, doubling its lifespan from 18 months to three years.

That means Windows Phone 8 users will continue to receive software updates to their devices until January 2016 - provided they've downloaded all previous updates and their carrier supports them.

Microsoft updated its support site to move the original expiration date from 8 July 2014 to 12 January 2016. The original date had led to some fears that Microsoft would again yank support from users of its mobile OS, as it had with Windows Phone 7.

Had the company stuck to the July expiration date, support for Windows Phone 8 would have ended before Windows 7.8.

Microsoft is also trying to boost the system's appeal to enterprise users.

The firm will included an "enterprise feature pack" as an update in the first half of next year, in what it said marked its "commitment" to the OS.

The pack will include support for signing in and encrypting emails with S/MIME, the ability for apps to automatically trigger VPN, support for Wi-Fi with EAP-TLS authentication, better control over app installation and certificate management.

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