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

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.


Topic: HTC

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • .

    Fragile outlook? Just because a couple of Apple loving "journalists" like yourself don't like metro, doesn't translate into Fragile outlook.

    Business users have this thing called "software assurance" which i know you have no experience with, just like most of these people saying they wont sell any copies, but they are tied in to multi million pound deals and taking Windows out of that deal that includes licensing for sharepoint, sql, office and the entire system center suite is minimal so they wont bother and will renew the licenses for 8 when renewal time comes so they will sell (or at least get paid for, the definition of selling really) around 100m copies without doing anything. Plenty of consumers out there will buy these things, and out IT department are looking at replacing all company tablets with hybrid laptops as it makes more sense than giving people 1 laptop and 1 tablet, when we could just give them 1 hybrid (and no.... nobody can use an Android hybrid to do real work)
  • Better update your stats

    The "embargo" was lifted and the phones for Sprint shipped on time. Apple couldn't even provide enough gusto to get the product DELAYED.
    • So, in other words, HTC

      is lying when they said the embargo was one f the reasons they have an inventory glut.
  • Avoid Fragmentation

    It's quite clear Microsoft needs to manage its ARM platforms very carefully, to avoid the fragmentation disaster that Android has been. It's quite clear that the fewer platforms that Windows supports, the more successful it becomes. Microsoft's total focus on its partnership with Nokia has been a resounding success for Windows Phone so far, it only makes sense to build on that.

    It only makes sense that the first Windows RT tables should be produced by Nokia.
    • where are NOkia tablets?

      I was hoping to be surprised this week, but nada.
  • Customized home screen

    HTC engineers wanted to build a customized home screen. I'm interpreting that as if they asked Microsoft for permission to replace the new Start screen with their own Sense home screen, as they have done on Android. Of course, Microsoft does not want that kind of versions of Windows RT. Microsoft wants control of the Windows operating system and it's user experience.

    I think HTC are certainly welcome to manufacture Windows RT devices provided that they do not demand access to make user interface changes to Windows.
    • Avoiding "me too"?

      If all HTC can do is build a machine with their hardware but the exact same user experience as Nokia then they're only going to be able to compete on hardware and price. That will just lead to another race to the bottom on price/quality.
      Robert Crocker
      • It doesn't matter

        If they want their custom home screen they are welcome to use Android. Windows RT is designed to be a consistent experience across devices. Sense UI is okay and I'm sure they could launch a Sense app like they do with Windows Phone. Although I've already uninstalled it on my Trophy and never used it anyway. The WP7 UI is just superior to Sense.

        I do feel bad for HTC though as they actually made some fantastic WinMo 6.x devices which is like turning Rosanne into Charlize.
  • HTC 'cut out' of the Windows RT loop: report

    This has nothing to do with Microsoft Windows 8 being 'fragile' or a scapegoat or HTC's financial problems. The quote you quoted says it all.

    [i]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. [/i]
    Its obvious they wanted to put their crappy sense gui onto Windows 8 and Microsoft told them to get bent. HTC either follows the rules as everyone else or they get left out as is the case here.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • There is nothing "crappy"

      about the Sense UI - I find it far more useful than Samsung's TouchWhiz and nowhere near as fugly as Metro.

      Having said that if one of the rules to have a Windows 8/RT handset is to have an unmodified Metro interface on it and HTC insisted on modifying it then the decision to leave HTC out of the 8/RT loop is understandable.
      • Then you're either blind or......

        smoking crack. Metro is a far superior UI to TouchWiz, Sense, Android, or iOS. You obviously have no taste to speak of, because Metro is by far the best from a design and UI standpoint, especially on a tablet.

        I'd suggest you need to burn your eyes out with a red hot poker, because they are obviously aren't doing anything for you. Sense sucks. TouchWiz sucks. Android sucks. They all suck from a UI perspective. iOS doesn't suck by a long shot. It's very good, but still is lacking compared to Metro.
      • @jhammackHTH

        Just read your comment and invert it. iOS is EASILY the most outdated looking mobile OS out there. For all the flak it gets, Windows Mobile with TouchFlo was far prettier and more useful than iOS which presents 4x4 icons, you know, the way Windows for Workgroups did 20 years ago.....

        SenseUI is nice, useful, can be customised has widgets
        Android is nice, useful, can be customised has widgets
        Metro is nice, useful, can be customised has Live Tiles
        iOS is bland, boring, cannot be customised, has nothing

        Hmmm... tricky this one....
  • Or More Likely

    HTC were given a choice of either dump android and come to the windows camp or go forth and multiply. HTC probably took the latter option as MS would not let them be distinctive.

    If HTC struggle expect Huawei to be eyeing them or even just sweep them aside.
    Alan Smithie
  • Yeah that's pure crap. Most W8 tablet makers also make android tablets.

    And Nokia is also suing a lot of other smartphone makers. This is nothing political at all. No one is allowed to mess up the W8 start screen the way HTC wanted to. Neither are they allowed to mess up the WP start screen. HTC can certainly build a WinRT tablet just like anyone else can and they can have it ready on day 1.
    Johnny Vegas