Microsoft is paying its hardware partners $2 billion to develop next-generation Windows Phones, according to one report.
The figures, which include $1.2 billion in support for Galaxy S4 maker Samsung, $500 million in support for Sony, $600 million in support for Huawei and $300 million in support for other companies, is believed to be payments for developing just one handset running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. At least, that’s according to Mobile Review and its leader Eldar Murtazin.
To be clear, Murtazin does have a rather sketchy past in sharing accurate information, and as Microsoft isn’t likely to talk about these dealings publicly, the wider-world may never know how much support Microsoft is providing Windows Phone makers with.
On the other hand, Microsoft has already made it clear that it sees no problem in supplementing the cost of Windows Phone development. The company paid Nokia a fairly hefty amount in platform payments after it announced its intent to use Windows Phone on all of its smartphones.
Sony also recently confirmed that they’d been in talks with Microsoft to create devices running Windows Phone. Murtazin’s tweet includes Sony in the support estimate, further lending credibility to the information.
Regardless of whether Microsoft is spending $2 billion on supporting Windows Phone makers, it’s clear that Microsoft has to do something to encourage Windows Phone hardware development or risk having the entire Windows Phone market cannibalized by Nokia. Most estimated now peg Nokia’s Devices and Services division as controlling around 92% of Windows Phone usage. That would mean that Nokia now completely eclipses HTC and Samsung. Both companies dominated Windows Phone sales until Nokia began making devices with the operating system.
Microsoft announced its intentions to purchase Nokia’s Devices and Services division in September of last year. Both companies are still waiting for regulatory approval before proceeding, however it seems that the merger will get approval eventually.
Microsoft will need to keep other hardware makers interested if it has any hopes of keeping Windows Phone from just being just an in-house endeavor without a large selection of handsets.