Will Microsoft stop licensing Windows Phone after acquiring Nokia?

Will Microsoft stop licensing Windows Phone after acquiring Nokia?
Right now, the Windows Phone platform walks the line between Android and iOS. WP is licensed to 3rd party vendors, like Android, but those vendors are not free to do with it as they please, more like iOS. The OS tries to give some customization while keeping control in the hands of Microsoft. With the bombshell announcement late last night that Microsoft will purchase Nokia's mobile division, sources are now wondering if Windows Phone will become an exclusively Microsoft product.

To be clear: there is absolutely no evidence as yet that this is the case, and could simply be fear and overreaction by industry sources, much like the chatter that happened when Google purchased Motorola. According to DigiTimes sources, not only is there a possibility that Microsoft will stop licensing Windows Phone after the Nokia acquisition is complete, but Windows Phone OEMs could simply abandon the platform all-together. 

We're assuming that these industry sources either didn't see, or didn't think much of the blog post that Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson published as the news was being made public. Myerson's entire post attempted to quell exactly this rumor, which Microsoft obviously knew was coming. Myerson started out by saying that "acquiring Nokia’s Devices group will help make the market for all Windows Phones, from Microsoft or our OEM partners."

Then, Myerson not so subtly referred to Microsoft's history, which is as a software maker, not a hardware maker, and certainly not as a company that makes closed down OS software. He really hit it home with this passage:

That seems pretty straightforward, and hard to misinterpret. But, that doesn't quite shut the door on the case. While we don't really agree DigiTimes sources saying that Microsoft will close down the Windows Phone OS and become the sole hardware maker for the platform, that doesn't mean that the decision will be completely in Microsoft's control. It could be that Microsoft will become the sole Windows Phone maker just by the nature of competition. 

Keep in mind that there are only a handful of Windows Phone partners, and the biggest partners - Samsung and HTC - have had their loyalty to the platform questioned on more than one occasion. Samsung is obviously focused on saturating the market with Android devices, while developing its own Tizen OS in the background, and seems far more interested in Windows 8 than Windows Phone. And, HTC is desperately trying to right the ship, but Windows Phone doesn't seem to be the answer there. 

The question of whether OEMs even want to try competing with Nokia is more the argument that we see where various OEMs are looking into other platforms because of Samsung's control over the Android market. But, the two don't quite match up. Less than one month ago Gartner estimated that Android made up almost 80% of the 229.6 million smartphone shipments in Q2 or 2013, which equates to 182.6 million Android smartphones. Samsung shipped 76 million smartphones that quarter, not all of which were Android, but the vast majority were. But, even assuming that every device from Samsung was running Android, that would only account for 41.6% of Android shipments. 

On the other side, we have a situation where Nokia is responsible for as much as 80-90% of the Windows Phone device sales, and other OEMs were already seemingly ceding the market to Nokia before Microsoft made this deal. While Windows Phone is growing quickly in some regions, most of that growth is from Nokia devices. Per the Gartner numbers, Windows Phone shipped 8.9 million devices in Q2. Nokia's earnings report for that quarter reported 7.4 million Lumia devices shipped, which amounts to 83% of all Windows Phone devices shipped for that quarter, leaving just 1.5 million non-Nokia Windows Phone handsets shipped. 

So, it's all well and good for Microsoft to say that it values its OEM partners, and loves the "innovation, diversity and scale" that they bring to Windows Phone. But, the truth of the market is that Nokia has been the major driving force, and now those devices are likely going to start carrying the Microsoft branding. The strategic partnership between Nokia and Microsoft had already been giving Nokia a huge advantage in visibility, and that advantage will only widen as Microsoft takes over. 

In the end, it may not be a matter of if you believe the industry sources, or if you believe Microsoft, because there was already very little room for competitors when Nokia was simply Microsoft's partner. Now that Nokia's mobile division will be part of Microsoft, there would need to be some big changes in how Windows Phone is handled to convince OEMs that it is worth the effort. 



1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

At least no other companies are going to be interested in WP. I wouldn't buy a non Nokia WP device so for me WP is dead. I will go for Sony next.

24. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Why ? the tipe of phone will most likely remain the same..

45. WindowsiDroid

Posts: 138; Member since: Jul 22, 2013

So we are just same i'm not interested in WP anymore coz the Nokia Brand Name was not retained, And Sony will be my next phone.

47. sam.7

Posts: 68; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

the Nokia brand name will remain for next 10years according to the deal.

50. takeja

Posts: 35; Member since: Aug 16, 2013

Exactly and more: 1) NSA back doors in all the Windows 2) blackmailing android manufacturers so Microsoft steals more money from one android phone than from poor and limited WP

2. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

Thats a good point. I hope not because Windows Phone will be as restrictive as iOS and look at where they are right now. We'll have to wait and see

3. McJobs

Posts: 107; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

LUMIA > iPhone > Galaxy

15. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Galaxy > iPhone > MICROSOFT LUMIA

17. greathero1

Posts: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 2008

I like how your user name works with your post lol.

29. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Note 3 > Sony Z1 > LG G2 > S4 > HTC One > Note 2 > HTC mini > Droid mini > iPhone > Droid Ultra Max > LUMIA Android is just too deep.

43. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

Lumia > iphone >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> any android phone

20. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Recent market share numbers tell an entirely different story.

23. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

So , Acer > Apple (Laptops)

35. illiad

Posts: 132; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

nope, lets correct that for you!! Iphone > LUMIA > *any* android > galaxy ... :) just google this,... 'bluetooth file transfer on lumia' 2000 results Iphone? well this should help..http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/can-i-transfer-files-via-bluetooth-on-my-iphone-4-without-jail-breaking/

37. Seo_Joo_Hyun

Posts: 65; Member since: Jul 14, 2013


4. rms.max

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

whatever ..........die wp die.

5. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

WP will die without Nokia.

8. Seo_Joo_Hyun

Posts: 65; Member since: Jul 14, 2013


18. tedkord

Posts: 17489; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I see what you did there.

25. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

- 1520

42. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

agree, people was, and is buying Nokia not WP........not let's see how WP survive.........!!!

46. WindowsiDroid

Posts: 138; Member since: Jul 22, 2013

People are buying Nokia Brand not WP8 so WP8 might become dead soon.

49. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013


16. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

One way or another Nokia dead i hope they name just "Lumia" instead of MICROSOFT LUMIA .

6. papss unregistered

I'm super excited by this news.. I hope they stay on this path and create more great phones... I hope m$ doesn't cave when sissy fanboys cry over the direction they move...cough Xbox one drm cough. They had a great thing going with the family share but idiots cried and now its no more special then the ps4

22. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

You're an idiot, the idea of paying $60 for a license to a game and leaving MS and the Pub with the ability to kill support when they wish leaving you with a coaster at best. Sure you can eat that crap up all you want. You're a special kind of individual aren't you? What makes consoles special is what exclusive games they put out, but who cares about that eh? MS has Halo and Forza and to a lesser extent Fable...hard to count on exclusives when you barely have any worth their salt isn't it. MS can't create any thing worthwhile hardware wise, just looking at the size of the technologically immature Xbox One is enough to prove that fact(power brick outside the already massive chassis). I hope they got Nokia's hardware company to so they can do the constructing, if MS constructed phones they'd come with heat sinks as big as your head.

28. papss unregistered

Its cute that you need to insult be because your intellect doesn't reach higher than 3rd grade level. Grownups are talking kid, go get your diaper changed you are being fussy

34. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

If everyone who insulted someone else was below the third grade, there'd be like 2 people on PA who'd be above that age. Adults insult each other all the time, like talking down to someone by calling them kid. Why not just call them skippy, slick, tiger, or sport while you're at it. This could hurt MS, there's been a lot of ill will over the xbox stuff, & now quite possibly the Nokia name getting lost if they end up calling them MS devices. It's kinda sad, the two greatest pioneers in mobile, Moto & Nokia both bought out, and shells of the companies they were in their heydays.

36. illiad

Posts: 132; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

problem was, Nokia was killed by paranoid, stupid management - many companies are affected by this, they are too frightened to try something new, holding back any progress....

7. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

I was gonna get the Nokia 1020 but now hell no, Nokia is dead to me. Sony z1 it is

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless