Telefonica backs Windows Phone to target iOS, Android duopoly

Telefonica backs Windows Phone to target iOS, Android duopoly

Summary: The mobile phone giant is waking up to the fact that the Android and iOS bubble may pop, and it needs a fallback plan. Given a choice between Windows Phone and BlackBerry...

TOPICS: Windows Phone
(Image: CNET)

Telefonica on Wednesday announced it is throwing its weight behind Windows Phone 8 as part of an enhanced marketing effort, in a bid to raise sales of its moderately performing range of devices.

The mobile phone and cellular giant said in a note that for an initial period of one year, it will boost its device marketing support with the help of Microsoft in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Chile.

First thing to think about here is "why." Telefonica gave a reason, but it's as hollow as Swiss cheese.

The reason is, quoting the press release, to "improve the current balance of mobile operating platforms on the market" by "encouraging it to be more diverse and less of a duopoly."

Ouch. One might think that's a kick in the ribs for Apple and Google, but there is method to this madness. 

Windows Phone sales are chugging along gently, albeit without leaving much of a dent in the market. Latest research from Kantar Worldpanel suggests Microsoft's share in the mobile space has grown to 8.4 percent of the U.K. market, thanks to an uptick in Nokia sales. IDC concurs, with the platform taking the third-place slot in Western Europe, with a market share of 6 percent. Meanwhile, sales have grown in the U.S. from 3.8 percent in 2012 to 5.6 percent this year.

So that's reason number one.

Also in the note, Telefonica said it plans to offer its clients enterprise-class business features, including Office 365 and SharePoint, as well as SkyDrive and Xbox, in a bid to increase distribution of Windows Phone 8 devices. The mobile phone giant will work closer with Samsung, HTC, and Nokia to bring its devices to the market as quickly as possible.

Do you see what's going on here? There are a lot of moving cogs, but it seems to be a working relationship between Telefonica and Microsoft that is beneficial to both.

Microsoft has found a partner willing to enter into a win-win pact. Telefonica wants to diversify its range of smartphone sales, and Microsoft wants to increase sales of its Windows Phone platform for not only sales but to spread its love for Metro — which spans desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile and now consoles — across the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to plug its business features in order to gain momentum in a space it has typically seen great success in its desktop and software divisions. It's a pitch to both consumers and business users, while at the same time plugging the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

Telefonica sees Windows Phone 8 as being a contender in taking on the two top platforms in the market space.

Eventually the Android and iOS bubble will pop. We've heard plenty about Android's fragmentation problem, which restricts its place in the enterprise, and the innovation "problem" that Apple faces, amid claims of iPhone fatigue. It's about time a third place opened up, and the stresslines are beginning to show. Telefonica has already thrown its weight behind Firefox OS for smartphones even at this early stage, so it's clear the company is looking for a duopoly get-out clause.

And that's reason number two.

If Telefonica and others — and they will have to sooner rather than later — pick a third-place runner in the mobile marathon, for now it's either going to be Windows Phone or BlackBerry.

Yeah. I'll say no more. 

Topic: Windows Phone

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
  • Telefonica backs Windows Phone to target iOS, Android duopoly

    Just the beginning. Android and iOS markets are saturated. Its better to go with Microsoft Windows Phone where there is so much potential growth.
    • I agree

      There's stale (Android and IOS) and there's Microsoft which is fresh.
  • Only if you're an Idiot do you Choose Windows Phone

    It truly is a poor OS.

    Only an Idiot would choose it over anything else out there. Which explains why most MS-Humpers love it.
    • Odd

      It's odd that my response to your post--which was infinitely more civil and less coarse than yours--was apparently deleted, yet your post remains.

      Why for, ZDNet?
      • Mine too...

        And ITGuy considered it a compliment and thanked me for it.
  • Why Thank You


    Sometimes the truth does hurt.
  • Hmmm

    Telefonica has hedged its bet with Firefox OS as well perhaps they think a small slice is all they get anyway. What do you bet there interested in Ubuntu as well? The marginal market could be as good as the slice of the big pie? Why not go all out and offer all? Why not we will see what happens.
  • Metro

    Metro looks great on phones, and really ugly on the desktop.
  • Great deal for Windows Phone!

    This is a shot in the arm for Windows Phone platform. Telefonica is the world's 6th largest moble carrier with about 250 million subscribers including paid and prepaid. This is WP's chance to get atleast 50 million or even more of those subscriber population.

    If this deal executes as said by end of June 2014, then WP's worldwide marketshare will move past the 5-6% range now to atleast 10% or even more. It looks like Gartner's predictions will go wrong again.

    Just to put this in perspective for American subscribers, the combined subscriber strength of ATT and Verizon in America is only 115 + 110 = 225 million. And on top of it, both of these carriers support a necessary duopoly between Apple and Samsung which is bad for consumers.
  • Android Is Not A Monopoly!

    People have this weird idea that Android is like Windows, a‌ monopoly platform controlled by one platform owner. It's not. It's a highly competitive‌ market, full of players taking different risks without having to ask permission from anybody with veto powers. Google didn't invent dual cameras, 9:16 aspect ratios, HD screens, ‌hyper-retina screens, phablets, mini-tablets, dual screens or any of the rest of it: they were all ‌innovated by the hardware makers themselves. The devices they built ran Android, simply‌ because it is the most flexible and adaptable mobile OS out there.
    • @ ldo17

      Android is not yet a monopoly marketshare holder but is already a duopoly marketshare holder. Apple and Google have divided the smartphone OS market between each other. Further carriers are not interested in helping to distribute a 3rd OS platform into the same market. There are different reasons why this is happening but the facts hold correct for the North American market.

      There is little that Microsoft or Blackberry can do to improve their marketshares in the mobile OS market. Carriers indirectly wanted a duopolistic platform position so it enhances their negotiating leverage. But a 3rd OS platform may not contribute much to the carriers. There is not much that the platform companies can do in this regard.

      Unlike the PC or embedded OS markets, the mobile OS market is geographically determined since mobile carrier entrenchment determines the platform reach. For the PC OS market, the hardware OEM distribution reach determined the OS penetration to customers. For the embedded OS market, the particular distributional deal with a vertical industry determined the OS penetration abilities. But Android and iOS are different. ATT and Verizon wanted these two OSes to spread and so they spread a lot. They (and Google and Apple) do not want 3rd OS platforms to grow. And so they do not grow. This is quite unlike the mainframe or minicomputer or PC or embedded OS markets in the past.
      • @ ldo17

        My statement also implies that it is still possible for Microsoft or Blackberry or Firefox or Tizen to grow their marketshares but it will not start in North America.

        This is precisely the reason that the above deal makes sense since Microsoft can only grow in Western/Eastern/Southern Europe, North/Central/South Africa, South/South East Asia and Central/South Americas. Essentially North America and East Asia are places where Microsoft cannot hope to gain much marketshare due to saturation and carrier strategies.
      • Re: Apple and Google have divided the smartphone OS market between each oth

        How many smartphones does Google make?