HTC 'cut out' of the Windows RT loop: report

Summary:Reports suggest "inexperienced" tablet maker HTC has been shut out of Windows RT development. Microsoft playing politics, or could a poor tablet experience tarnish Windows 8's fragile outlook?

Things are going from bad to worse for HTC.

You would think Microsoft would want all the help it could get in bringing Windows 8 to the tablet market, as the Redmond-based technology giant attempts to take on Apple at its own game. Apparently not.

HTC already makes Windows Mobile phones, but not Windows 8 tablets (Source: CNET)

HTC already makes Windows Phone devices (Source: CNET)

The smartphone maker has been "shut out" of the introduction of Windows RT --- the forthcoming operating system's debut on ARM processors --- after HTC said its second-quarter looks bleak, according to Bloomberg's sources that are familiar with the matter.

On Wednesday, HTC said it will deliver weak revenue on its second-quarter earnings, and took a charge of NT$2.6 billion ($87 million) after it was struggled to shift its inventory.

One of the reasons for the poor quarter was due to a U.S. Customs battle over imports of its smartphones, after Apple won an import embargo following a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) patent infringement case.

While Bloomberg's sources suggest the move could be that HTC may diminish and tarnish the Windows RT experience and with a lack of HTC's tablet-building experience, speculation has already begun suggesting it may be a case of Microsoft playing politics.

This quote raised an eyebrow:

"HTC engineers wanted to build a Windows device with a customized home screen that would be distinctive to its devices, as manufacturers are allowed to do with Android. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft refused, said the people, and HTC was left off the list of companies the software maker provided with early versions of the software."

It would not come as a surprise if HTC's poor Q2 outlook was merely a scapegoat for Microsoft's already risky bet in Windows 8.

There is another play.

HTC and Nokia are smartphone rivals. Escalating the tense relationship, HTC confirmed the ITC is investigating Nokia's concerns that the Taiwan-based infringed its patents.

Considering Nokia and Microsoft's partnership, it has already been suggested that the Redmond-based technology giant is pushing out HTC in a bid to strike back at the alleged Nokia aggressor. Also, HTC also makes Android-based tablets and smartphones which could be seen as a threat to Microsoft.

Bloomberg said a Microsoft spokesperson said HTC remains a "strong partner now and for the future." A HTC spokesperson said the smartphone maker "intends" to support future versions of Windows, but was unavailable for further questions at the time of writing.

Image credit: Sarah Tew/CNET.

Related:

Topics: HTC

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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