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Microsoft developing a Windows Phone 8 handset, say suppliers

Rumors by Andrew Kameka on Friday November 02, 2012.

rumors · microsoft news · windows phone news · smartphone news · andrew kameka

Please note that this story is based upon rumor and/or speculation.
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Despite previous comments that it has no plans to develop a smartphone, Microsoft is reportedly working with Asian component suppliers to test a smartphone design. The Wall Street Journal reports that sources at Microsoft's suppliers say that Microsoft is testing a phone design of a smartphone that measures between four and five inches. Sources say they are unsure if the phone will go into mass production.

Microsoft has been rumored to develop a phone since the company revealed in June that it would sell a Surface tablet that directly competes with its Windows 8 licensees' tablets and laptops. When journalists began asking if the company would take a similar approach with phones, Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, said:

"No, we do not. We have a strong ecosystem of partners that we are very satisfied with."

Why would Microsoft change course after flatly denying suggestions that it would self-produce a Windows Phone handset? If the rumors are true, Microsoft may see manufacturing phones as a necessity for making its mobile efforts more competitive and profitable. It's possible that Microsoft saw the enthusiasm from Surface tablet sales and realized that it might be able to gain similar support for a Surface phone. The company may feel more comfortable taking a risk where it controls everything rather than relying on partners.

Google Android and Apple iOS dominate the smartphone market so much that it's difficult for anyone to gain a foothold. Microsoft tried relying on Nokia to boost Windows Phone 7, but that strategy failed. Windows Phone 8 will lean heavily on Nokia once again, but it also includes HTC, which worked directly with Microsoft on the Windows Phone 8X, and Samsung, which has millions of sales of Android products to provide a distraction from making its ATIV S a priority.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal asked Microsoft CEO Steve Baller if Microsoft would make its own phone. Ballmer declined to "comment in any dimension," which is less definitive than the "No" offered by Sullivan four months ago. If Microsoft does compete directly with Windows Phone manufacturers, the company would head into new territory. Google releases Android phones and tablets, but those products have been developed in partnership with and manufactured by Asus, HTC, LG, or Samsung. Sources for the Wall Street Journal suggest that Microsoft would design, manufacturer, and sell its phone directly to consumers, which is a strategy that has more in common with Apple.

source: Wall Street Journal

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