by Anton Shilov
09/03/2013 | 11:15 PM
From the very start, Microsoft Corp. planned to make Windows Phone experience as consistent as possible so that to better compete with Apple’s iPhone. As a result, there are not so many different WP8-based models on the market. Moreover, 80% of such smartphones have been sold by Nokia Corp. for a while. But despite of acquisition of Nokia’s mobile devices division, Microsoft will still try to sell Windows Phone to other partners.
“As the engineering leader for the Windows Phone efforts, I was there at the birth of Windows Phone, and a key part of our original partnership with Nokia. I know firsthand how critical it was for me and the team to be a valuable partner to Nokia, in addition to building out a great ecosystem of partners, hardware and software alike. Today’s announcement does not change that – acquiring Nokia’s devices group will help make the market for all Windows Phones, from Microsoft or our OEM partners,” said Terry Myerson, the head of operating systems engineering group at Microsoft.
At present, there are a number of smartphone vendors, who have Windows Phone 8-based handsets in their lineups, including Samsung Electronics, HTC, Huawei, Toshiba and so on. Still, the overall market share of Windows Phone is less than 5%, which means that sales volumes of all WP8-based smartphones, except Nokia’s, are very low. Even Nokia's sales are negligible: life-to-date sales of all Lumia handsets featuring Windows Phone OS were 27.3 million units at the end of Q2 2013.
Microsoft officially said that the purpose of Nokia’s devices business acquisition if speeding up innovation and time-to-market of leading-edge smartphones. In case Microsoft delivers Lumias with new-generation capabilities a quarter ahead of its partners, the latter will be unable to sell novelties with high margins, which means that they will barely earn on them on the competitive market.
Obviously, in case Microsoft Windows Phone becomes as competitive as Google’s Android, vendors will utilize it gladly. However, without a demand from end-users, but with inevitably heavy competition from Microsoft’s own Lumia handsets, the platform seems less and less viable for third-party makers. Nonetheless, it all does not mean that Microsoft may not succeed with its own-brand smartphones.
“Together, Nokia and Microsoft have the scale to combat [Samsung] Galaxy, the design to combat [Apple] iPhone, and the innovation capabilities to lead it all,” added Mr. Myerson.