Last week, Microsoft stunned the Internet when it unveiled the Surface tablet. In a first for the Redmond-based company, Microsoft said these devices would be made and branded by the famously hardware-free software company. That got some people wondering if Microsoft would do the same for the forthcoming Windows 8 phones.
Though initially cagey with their responses, Microsoft is now flatly denying that they will produce their own Windows phones. From Information Week:
Asked in an interview if Microsoft planned to apply that strategy to the smartphone market, Greg Sullivan, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, said, “No, we do not. [...] We have a strong ecosystem of partners that we are very satisfied with,” Sullivan said Friday.
The announcement will no doubt come as a relief to Microsoft’s hardware partners, who were probably a bit irked to see a major hardware announcement by the company.
And in case you’re wondering who those phone manufacturing partners might be, it’s HTC, Samsung, Huawei, and most notably Nokia. Last year, the Finnish phone maker entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft to make Windows 7 handsets. However, that alone hasn’t saved the struggling phone company, whose stock price continues to fall – Moody’s downgraded it to “junk” status at the same time that Microsoft announced the Surface.
The point here is that Microsoft effectively owns Nokia. Not outright, but the Windows phones have been the primary area of investment for Nokia, and with a stock price hovering between $2-3 a share, Microsoft could probably absorb it at any time. So while Microsoft may not be directly making its phones, its puppet Nokia definitely will. Not surprisingly, Nokia has previously denied the allegations that it is just Redmond’s tool.
Of course, who makes the phones doesn’t really matter too much if there’s no one there to buy them, but the Windows Nokia phones do have a few fans — Siri, for one.
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