Sony eyes up Microsoft's Windows Phone: report

Sony eyes up Microsoft's Windows Phone: report

Summary: Has Microsoft found a new mobile partner in an old rival?

TOPICS: Windows Phone
Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 10.02.06
Credit: James Martin/CNET

Microsoft is furthering efforts to promote the Windows Phone system, and may have found a new partner in an old rival: Sony.

According to The Information, Sony is considering the launch of a new Windows Phone handset as soon as the middle of 2014. Citing a person with knowledge of the matter and another briefed on the new device, the publication says that while Sony has exclusively released smartphones running on Google's Android operating system, the electronics maker could be one of many lured to the Windows Phone front -- thanks to financial incentives. Talks have apparently progressed to the point of prototype device designs. 

Microsoft is apparently luring handset makers with the promise of incentives including slashed software licensing fees, and is looking to attract partners including Sony and ZTE.

If ZTE is indeed in talks with Microsoft, a deal could help the Chinese telecom equipment maker towards its goal of becoming one of the world's top three handset makers by shipment volume by 2016. ZTE spokesman David Dai said that the firm is looking at markets within the United States, India, China and Russia in particular, as well as having established a dedicated mobile device business group to further drive its smartphone business.

The group is focused on producing both low and high-end handsets. If Microsoft is confirmed to be offering licensing deals, it may be that firms such as ZTE could produce low-cost, entry-level smartphones for emerging markets in areas such as India -- and despite fierce competition from companies such as Apple and Samsung -- the move could boost the number of Windows Phone users.

Dai commented:

"With a separate handset business group, we can respond timely to fast-changing customer demand by launching new smartphone models quickly."

The Windows Phone has been losing out in the mobile device space against larger rivals including Google and Apple, developers of the Android and iOS operating systems. While announcing of the acquisition of Nokia's mobile device business, the Redmond giant stated that the OS would hold a 15 percent in 2018, however, other parties seem to think otherwise. Research firm IDC projects a share of 10 percent for Windows Phone in 2017, far lower than its rather optimistic outlook of 20 percent in 2015 made three years ago.

ZDNet has contacted Sony and will update if we hear back.

Topic: Windows Phone

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  • These predictions are interesting, but worthless...

    The mobile market is changing so quickly, it's difficult (if not impossible) for anyone to seriously predict what things will look like in five years.

    All we know at the moment is that Windows Phone is growing faster than the market, and that if they can keep that up, than the platform will definitely be something to reckon with in a few years.
    • Not hard to do...

      for a market that is growing at 10%+ per year, anything going from 0% to 5% is faster than the growth of the market...

      But trying to catch up with the quantity will be very hard...
      • what are you comparing

        Which market is growing at 10% assuming whole smart phone sales compared to previous years sales, the other 0-5% means the quantity you are saying and is fraction dividing among all phone Oses.
    • I totally agree

      IDC predictions are just crap, in 2017 blackberry will have 3-5% or will stop making devices, will not drop from 2.7 to 1.7. And these are made under assumption that only existing phone makes will continue to make devices on that oses.

      Already phone OS sales are proportion to apps available.

      Windows phone definitely will have a great improvement as they are already in a process of merging all OS market places.
  • WOW that's about the only way you could damage the Windows Phone brand

    Not that WP is all that shimmering and glowing but letting Sony make a Windows Phone will be the worst. Sony is living off of past glory and is nothing but a junk dealer in todays world.
  • umm, Happy New Year Charlie and everyone. :-)

    • :-(

      The filter removed my confetti tag enclosed in brackets :-(
  • Good to gain share

    Offering, or even paying for others build WP devices will impact sales in a positive way. I wonder if without those incentives WP can still live even if they eventually reach, say, a 10% market share.
    Pressure to be important in mobile market is big for Microsoft, I still think the best strategy would be to build desirable and innovative software - windows 8 needs a big revision in its all incarnations.
  • Money is money, I suppose

    If Sony would be willing to buy licenses, I don't see a reason why Microsoft wouldn't be willing to sell them the licenses. Sony still offers PC's, after all, and as far as I know, Sony doesn't have an in-house direct competitor to Windows Phone, just those Android devices. No harm in hedging one's bets, and Sony's money is just as much legal tender as any other company's.
    Third of Five