Samsung: The kingmaker for Windows Phone 8?

Microsoft can't rely on Nokia and a second-rung cast to carry the Windows Phone banner. The software giant needs a Samsung Galaxy-level push.

Microsoft plans on pushing Windows Phone 8 as attempts to grab some smartphone momentum, but until it gets Samsung on board in a big way the software giant is still a long shot.

The problem for Microsoft: Samsung is decidedly in the Android camp. Samsung's smartphone charge is led by its Galaxy S III. The other side of smartphone dominance belongs to Apple.

Stuck in the middle of Samsung and Apple is the land of also-rans: RIM, HTC and Nokia. Microsoft said that Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei will make Windows Phone 8 devices. On the low end of the market, Huawei can be a key asset to Microsoft. Samsung is the kingmaker and so far Windows Phone has been relegated to lesser phones from the Korean electronics giant. Let's be real: The Focus isn't the Galaxy line.

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In addition, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 launch is likely to coincide with a new iPhone 5. That poor timing could spell trouble.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said:

We believe WP8 has made significant improvements from WP7.5 and offers interesting features. That said, we believe the success of WP8 will ultimately depend on consumer and developer interest. While the shared core with Windows 8 will be very helpful for developers, the lack of upgradability for current WP devices has eliminated the existing user base. Launch Coincides with the iPhone 5. We believe the initial launch may fail to gain traction as the timing coincides with the iPhone 5. We believe Samsung is a kingmaker and their commitment to the platform is a crucial factor.

Misek's take isn't far off. Microsoft can't rely on Nokia to carry the Windows Phone banner. Nokia is struggling and just talk about a cash squeeze among buyers may put off purchases. Samsung and a big splash is what's required for Windows Phone. It's hard to see Samsung pushing Windows Phone when it is tied to Android and driving its own software overlay.

What Microsoft needs is the Samsung Galaxy III and a few strong reviews. Notice the difference. Samsung Galaxy III review:

And the Samsung Windows Phone Focus.

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