It appears you can stick a fork in Microsoft’s phone business. As Ars Technica and a number of other sources are reporting, it’s effectively done. Microsoft’s laying off nearly 2,000 people as it closes down the last remnants of Nokia. Microsoft reps insist they’re “scaling back, but we’re not out!” but it seems likely that’s more for PR purposes than anything else. While Microsoft will still try to get other companies interested in Windows phones—and might have a decent shot at it, as far as business enterprise is concerned, with the appeal of phones that can run the same apps as Windows desktops—it’s not planning to make any more of its own at the moment.
As I said the other day, Windows phones can still make decent e-reading devices if you can get them cheap enough—and with Microsoft scaling back, it becomes increasingly likely they’ll go on fire sale. You might want to keep an eye out.