With Windows Phone failing to make a dent in the smartphone market, at least in its pre-Nokia Lumia 900 days, some phone manufacturers are getting uncomfortable with the special relationship between Microsoft and Nokia. One supporter of the platform is even going so far as to stop releasing Windows Phone altogether.
LG Electronics, South Korea’s second largest phone manufacturer and a loyal supporter of Microsoft’s Windows Phone from the beginning, told Korea Herald that they are not going to release any Windows Phone in the near future. Claiming that the company hasn’t reaped any financial benefits from partnering with Microsoft, the spokesperson said that “the total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure.” The Windows Phone woes, we’re assuming, contributed to LG’s painful failure to make money over the last seven quarters. But it’s not all bad news for LG, because in Q1 2012 the company has finally got back in the black territory.
Despite the break up, LG plans to maintain its good standing with Microsoft and the Koreans will still “continue research and development efforts” on Microsoft’s mobile operating system. We’re not sure what this implies, but given that Steve Ballmer is apparently scheduled to visit Seoul on May 22 for a tech conference, it’s likely that LG’s double talk is just a way to get some attention from Microsoft’s top guy.
With Windows Phone device development on hold, the spokesperson said that LG will focus on developing Android smartphones, which seems to be where the money’s at for a lot of manufacturers, with Samsung raking in top dollars and HTC expecting to make a return to profit in the next quarter.
In any case, we still think that the more is the merrier when it comes to mobile platform competition and how it fosters innovation. Regardless of LG’s not-so-memorable contribution to Windows Phone’s roster of handsets, the company’s decision to abandon ship will be a blow to Microsoft, though the jury’s still out on whether it’s just a minor or major one.
On the up side, this means we’ll get more LG handsets of the Android flavor this year. Any particular model you’re looking forward to the most?
[Update] According to Pocket Lint, a LG spokesperson dismissed Korea Herald’s report as speculation:
“None of it is true. Korea Herald is showing its speculative side again,” a spokesman for the company in Korea exclusively told Pocket-lint before adding, “We are still on board with Windows Phone, but right now, we’re focusing on Android because that’s where the demand is.”
So, what is it: mind games or unsubstantiated rumor?
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It doesn’t matter. LG has sucked for smartphones. They can produce some decent hardware but cannot marry it to decent software and forget about updates/upgrades, so it doesn’t matter — definitely one of the last companies I would recommend buying a smartphone from at this point in time.