Shortly after Microsoft announced the Surface tablet last week, some pesky analysts have already begun spreading rumors that Microsoft might have also contracted a hardware manufacturer for creating a Windows Phone 8 smartphone, thus following the Google Nexus model.
Yesterday, all those rumors were put to rest by Greg Sullivan, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone: “No, we do not” Sullivan said.
But what’s really interesting is that Sullivan appeared to be more interested in reassuring Windows Phone hardware partners that Microsoft is still relying on them for the success of the WP platform: “We have a strong ecosystem of partners that we are very satisfied with” Sullivan continued, before mentioning Nokia, HTC, Huawei and Samsung as the manufacturers that will release Windows Phone 8 smartphones later this year.
The support of three of the big four US carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) was also mentioned by Sullivan. From where I’m standing, it sure looks a lot like Microsoft doesn’t want to get anywhere near the Nexus smartphone controversy, one that has created a lot of unhappiness among major Android smartphone manufacturers that were, so far, “banned” from participating in Google’s program.
At this point, I want to stop and mention that a Windows Phone 8 smartphone built by Microsoft doesn’t make a lot of sense, even after the announcement of the Surface Windows 8 tablet. For starters, the Surface tends to the tablet market, one that is now converging with the ultrabook market. As Microsoft owns the Ultrabook market with their Windows OS, the Surface is designed (or at least, in my perspective) to keep other companies (Apple!) from biting even further into their share of the lion.
And if you think of it, the idea of a Microsoft tablet that provides (at least in concept) a similar functionality to a ultra-portable laptop does seem really appealing. Granted, the real-world difference between the Surface and your Ultrabook will be enormous, but it at least gives Microsoft a very lucrative marketing opportunity.
On the other hand, the idea of a Microsoft smartphone isn’t nearly as appealing from a marketing perspective as the general public is widely aware that Microsoft’s mobile OS … sucks. Add the huge competition that exists in the smartphone market and it seems obvious that Microsoft wouldn’t want to waste money (and its image) by building a smartphone that has little chance to sell well. Feel free to post your comments in the section below!