HTC vs. Nokia Windows Phone 8 flap misses the point

HTC vs. Nokia Windows Phone 8 flap misses the point

Summary: The two companies have been dueling over which one has the real Windows Phone 8 device. Their time would be better spent figuring out how to survive against Android devices and Apple's iPhone 5.


HTC and Nokia are like two 120-pound weaklings bickering over which one will be first in line to be pounded by King Kong.

The two companies have been dueling over which smartphone maker has the real Windows Phone 8 device. Their time would be better spent figuring out how to survive against Android devices and Apple's iPhone 5.

In other words, the HTC and Nokia Windows 8 bake-off---laid out nicely by CNET's Jessica Dolcourt---borders on comical. Why? Both smartphone makers are screwed.

We'll let Morgan Stanley analyst Jasmine Hu elaborate:

We think the smartphone battlefield has shifted from technology to scale, marketing and branding, which might affect consumers’ behavior in choosing their next phone, based on past user experience. Given its lack of upgradeability and limited differentiations (or less superior if comparing total apps of ~100k+ to Android’s 500k+ and iOS’s 650k+), vs Android and iOS, whether Windows 8 could regain the traction among consumers remains to be seen...The intensifying competition from the upcoming iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note II may cast a shadow on the growth outlook of HTC’s new smartphones in next few quarters.

You could cut and paste Nokia for HTC and that paragraph would still hold.

The reality here is that HTC and Nokia are bickering over which company is the real Windows 8 phone, but the reality is Samsung is likely to be a more valuable partner to Microsoft's mobile ambitions.

Foley: HTC's Windows Phone 8 devices: An initial pleasant surprise | Miller: HTC and Microsoft reveal new Windows Phone 8 products; the 8X and 8S | Kendrick: Windows Phone 8X by HTC: Full specs | Woods: HTC outs first Windows Phone 8 devices: Photos

Repeat after me: Scale, marketing and branding. HTC just doesn't have it. Nokia used to have all three. Today those qualities are debatable for Nokia. The smartphone market in the U.S. is saturated and will become saturated in Europe and Asia in the not too distant future. Is there really room for HTC, Nokia and Samsung in the Windows Phone 8 device race (assuming Microsoft's branding gives the mobile OS a push)? Probably not. As a result, you'd have to place your Windows Phone bets on Samsung. Nokia lacks the U.S. clout and is losing ground around the world.

That's why analysts are as dismissive of HTC and its Windows Phone 8 devices as they were of Nokia.

Macquarie analyst Daniel Chang said:

Due to Microsoft’s tight control of OS/UI/specs, Windows Phone 8 smartphone makers can only try to differentiate their Windows Phones in hardware spec and design. Unfortunately, after a few boom years, all smartphone makers have been able to adopt high spec components for their phones. HTC tries to differentiate itself from peers by using external feature design such as audio (Beats) or external cases. However, we find little differentiation here. We believe Windows Phone 8 competition will be based purely on branding, cost, channel and MSFT’s support. All things considered, we think Nokia has an advantage over HTC, except HTC has stronger recognition in the U.S.; but we don’t think Windows Phone 8 can be a game-changer for HTC or Nokia.

Topics: Mobility, Nokia, Smartphones, Windows

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  • Has new iPhone survived own Map Service yet?

    WP8 is laughing meanwhile.
    • This is an idiotic article

      Larry says they're dueling, yet neither company put the other company down. MS looks to be working and highlighting ALL their partners phones.

      Then quotes Morgan Stanley who say "We THINK the smartphone battlefield has shifted" (that's a safe way of saying 'we don't really know').

      Then Larry says "The smartphone market in the U.S. is saturated and will become saturated in Europe and Asia in the not too distant future".

      So then nobody will buy any phones, according to that statement.

      I'm seeing this as Larry being wrong, yet again.
      William Farrel
      • I agree

        This article seems pointless. It's like saying Apple and Android own the market. Other people shouldn't even try because analysts say it's a moot point.

        I seem to recall the EXACT same argument being made for a little product named XBOX that was going to flop and bring about the end of Microsoft. Sure, MS bled out millions of dollars with the first system alone, but now it is one of their most profitable divisions period.

        I can't tell you how excited I am for WP8. I'm tired of both Android and Apple. According to the author of this article, I should just settle for less and accept it. Glad other companies think differently.
        • Right!!!

          You are so Right! ... And now XBox is the best game platform on the market today...

          Now that Microsoft had converged their products - Win8 for PCs, Win8 for tablets, WP8 for smartphones... You will feel the effect of the Big Microsoft hitting markets really soon... Don't forget how much Windows XP and 7 had sold (Vista is the exception) but ... believe me, when Microsoft place their puzzle parts and when they are really ready they can make the market shake...

            I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I've made such great money. It's really user friendly and I'm just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do, >>> Green32.comREAD MORE
        • i think your right

          windows 8 is my next system for tablet, phones and desktop, i will start with phone then buy the tablet and desktop
        • "I'm tired of both Android and Apple"

          I agree with ya. And I think theres many people that would. I know a bunch of people who dont like android,, but that apple has started to suck a bit, with iOS 6.

          I, myself, own android and apple products and are sick of how they are both doing business. I hope windows make a few start moves, and focus on what customers want. After all, thats what Apple USED to do.
        • You miss the point

          Nokia and HTC are fighting for scraps, under the table. Nokia is even suing HTC, to have some of their more profitable phones banned (the Android phones), simply because Nokia can't make a profit selling WP 8 Series OS Phones.

          The author is indeed correct, and Mr. Miller (Farrel) is wrong again...
          Troll Hunter J
      • Right!

        You are right!!! Another stupid article from the great Larry Dignan.... Do'h!!
    • Laughing at

      3% marketshare after 2 years? Yes hilarious!
      • Apple OS 7% market share after 28 years

        even more hilarious!
        • Apple's market share

          Yes, compsrt, Apple is the most valuable company in the world and along with Samsung owns 106% of the mobile device profits. Apple changes the world, city buildings put Microsoft Windows computers in the parking garages. Your point is?
    • windows 8

      htc will be on t mobile so as for nokia they will miss any customers that might want a windows 8 phone like for example me. Second apple tablets are boring and you can not do anything on them, windows 8 tablets manufacturing companies will give more options like running full windows 8 , this will push people to the phones as well because of the ecosystem, and fyi from the 650k apps, 600k of them are crap
  • Does it really matter?

    I mean Windows Phone is a failed OS, with no developers, no apps, no marketshare.

    Whilst HTC and Nokia might be fighting, consumers are shopping elsewhere anyway.
    Mark Str
    • Missing Apps?

      I use my windows phone every day. and I can tell you that I do not want for any apps.
      Be it Amazon Kindle, Amazon mobile, word press, Weather channel, Netflix, eBay, evernote, facebook, etc.. Need I continue with the list of Apps that are “not” on the platform?
      I can name an app or two that is not on the others, Office and for me Zune, do not knock it until you have tried it.
      I have an iphone as well, and I have been thru all the failed updates and the, your holding your phone wrong antenna issue, and there is nothing wrong with the battery life, after the iOS 4 update, you just need a new battery.
      Those who drank the apple juice did not say a single bad word towards Apple, however they proclaimed, “It’s all good, and Apple will fix it soon”; how long did it take Apple?
      Sorry, got distracted.
    • Windows Phone 8 is a different beast

      Windows Phone 8 is substantially different from Windows Phone 7, they're almost worlds apart. For starters, WP8's NT-based kernel and compatibility with C++/C coding makes it a much more feasible/accessible OS for developers to support than the CE-based WP7.

      This is an easy push for the big developers (e.g. Rovio), and makes the Windows Phone marketplace a 'feasible adventure' of sorts of all iOS/Android developers.

      The gaming experience on Windows Phone 8 will be substantially better than WP7 thanks to DirectX, as well as the prospect of using engines such as Havok and Unreal. XBOX on Windows Phone would be among the top, if not the top for mobile gaming.

      MS Office Suite and integrated Skype (and other VoIP solutions) would be genuine enterprise offerings thanks to the fact that WP8 devices will possess solid software and hardware encryption. Firms using Exchange/365 and MS Office Suite on PCs would be intrigued to say the least (as opposed to turned off by WP7's lack of security).

      And lets not forget hardware. Previous gen WPs were lower spec'd and in areas where it apparently mattered (e.g. core counts, HD screens, cameras, etc.) they lost out to competitors. This is not the case with WP8 handsets.

      Windows Phone 8 has the ingredients to succeed, heck unlike WP7 new WP8 adopters would have access to up wards of 100 000 apps from the get-go, as well as matured map/navigation, VoIP, social networking and media (e.g. video, camera, etc) solutions integrated into the OS...

      ...a feat unthinkable to me when I bought the Focus in December 2010. I agree however that marketing will be key, it will be integral and will make/break Windows Phone 8.
    • You mean the fasting climbinb app store ever? closing in on 120K

      These are the stats
      2708 new apps last week alone
      30K "approved" developers yet alone those that arent official.

      And why would people be fighting over the newer phone that is bringing together 93% marketshare of the desktops as well -- and a phone OS -- and bringing them together as one?
      Because that is the future and not fractured toy OSes
      • Climbing*

        Sorry hit enter too soon.
        • Dontcha

          Dontcha love it that there's no "edit" button now?
          • Following the industry...

            Each upgrade at the moment seems to be reducing functionality, not increasing it...