HTC on Microsoft-Nokia deal: 'We are assessing the situation'

The announcement late Monday that Microsoft plans to acquire Nokia's smartphone hardware business has already started tons of speculation on what this might mean for the very few other OEMs that also make Windows Phone devices. Neowin sent out emails to those companies (HTC, Samsung and Huawei) this morning to see if they wished to comment on the Microsoft-Nokia deal and if they thought it will affect their own individual Windows Phone plans.

An HTC representative did respond back, telling Neowin via email, "We are assessing the situation and have no comment at this time." So far, we have yet to hear anything back from Huawei or Samsung, although AllThingsD reports they received a even simpler statement from Samsung: "Decline to comment."

Aside from Nokia, HTC has perhaps been the most supportive OEM for Windows Phone. The Taiwan company has launched several devices that run on Microsoft's mobile operating system, including three for Windows Phone 8: The HTC 8S (shown above), the HTC 8X and most recently the HTC 8XT. The company has been highly rumored to launch a Windows Phone 8 version of its Android device, the HTC One, later this fall.

Samsung has also been a supporter of Windows Phone for some time, releasing a number of products, including most recently the ATIV S Neo. Huawei has only released one Windows Phone 8 smartphone, the Ascend W1, but the company has confirmed it will launch the Ascend W2 later this year.

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It's pretty obvious what Microsoft are trying to do, they want to control the entire product from top to toe like Apple do with the iPhone. Sales outside of the Lumia range are pretty weak anyway.

Assessing what, exactly? HTC makes phones, and then puts no effort into supporting them. Maybe this is the fire under their ass, that they've needed?

HTC has been playing the 'me too' game for a while now.

When they jumped away from WM/WP7 and focused on Android, they had a reputation built on their software side, not hardware.

So when entering into the android world, anything they built for the software side could and was copied by other vendors and developers. (Look at the 3rd party Apps in the Play Store that mimic software ideas and functionality that HTC brought to the Android world.)

Unless HTC can keep ahead of Samsung in terms of hardware, they are doomed in the Android market, as their software features can't be locked down or prevented from easily being replicated.

Since Samsung is a parts MFR, they have a big advantage. When they aren't making components for the iPhone, they are a fast R&D track to put into their own products.


As for the Microsoft Nokia deal, it could help HTC and other OEMs...

With Nokia needing to offer unique features, they have an entire set of Apps, SDKs, and licensing agreements that give the Nokia WP8 devices advantages over the other OEMs.

By folding the Nokia software offering back into Microsoft, there is a good chance Microsoft will push to make them available to all OEMs. Nokia mapping has already started to make its way to other device via Microsoft and post transition, it is to be expected, the other Apps will also become available.

This would essentially give HTC and other OEMs an advantage, as Microsoft doesn't have to offer exclusive features to Nokia any longer, and would allow HTC and others to 'add' additional software and tools on top of the Nokia offerings. Microsoft would also be open to allow changes that only Nokia were allowed to make in the past.

I own a HTC 8X and they put no effort with updates and making apps. The problem with HTC they do half ass stuff and when they do something right HTC One, is too late.

I bet OEMS will not be happy with Microsoft. You cant buy Nokia and not compete against the other phone manufacturers. I think the Nokia acquisition potentially could cause backlash from the OEMs!

But then, HTC can't afford to be "not happy" about the deal and back out. They need Windows Phone right now because they are not exactly blooming in Android either.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I bet OEMS will not be happy with Microsoft. You cant buy Nokia and not compete against the other phone manufacturers. I think the Nokia acquisition potentially could cause backlash from the OEMs!
I expect that this is true, and Microsoft had better be smart about how they manage this purchase. Not that it's really a big deal though because the other OEMs were only playing the Windows Phone game as a "me too" or just incase it got big.

For starters, Microsoft should hand over the marketing keys to their hardware over to Nokia's marketing team. Second, Microsoft needs to start pumping out the same phone to every carrier, just like Apple, and at the same time (at least within a week); the Microsoft Lumia 1040 should be on every single carrier next fall. Finally, Microsoft needs to push Nokia's engineers that pumped out features like "Glance" and the Nokia Pro Camera app into the WP core team to put those features (and features like it) into the core OS, but I expect the desire to do this was half of the reason for the purchase.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I bet OEMS will not be happy with Microsoft. You cant buy Nokia and not compete against the other phone manufacturers. I think the Nokia acquisition potentially could cause backlash from the OEMs!

Crazy idea, with MS making the Lumia phones now why not drop the WP licensing fee to other OEMs? If that happens then things really get interesting. Also with GDR3 or 8.1 you can open it up a bit more and let them go crazy on the hardware side.

GP007 said,

Crazy idea, with MS making the Lumia phones now why not drop the WP licensing fee to other OEMs? If that happens then things really get interesting. Also with GDR3 or 8.1 you can open it up a bit more and let them go crazy on the hardware side.

The licensing fee is tiny. HTC pays Microsoft less per handset for a WP8 device than they do for each Android handset. ($10 for WP8 to Microsoft, $15 for Android to Microsoft)

This is where OEMs that have said the 'cost' of WP8 is too expensive have been misleading users with the big bad 'costs'.

Even if HTC didn't have to pay Microsoft for each Android device, the OS development costs that Android costs HTC is huge in comparison to WP8, where Microsoft does 99% of the build and testing of the OS.

Mobius Enigma said,

The licensing fee is tiny. HTC pays Microsoft less per handset for a WP8 device than they do for each Android handset. ($10 for WP8 to Microsoft, $15 for Android to Microsoft)

This is where OEMs that have said the 'cost' of WP8 is too expensive have been misleading users with the big bad 'costs'.

Even if HTC didn't have to pay Microsoft for each Android device, the OS development costs that Android costs HTC is huge in comparison to WP8, where Microsoft does 99% of the build and testing of the OS.

I get that, though I don't know if your numbers are what they are for HTC and Samsung. I'm simply saying that with MS now owning the Lumia brand and making the phones as to not seem as much of a direct competitor with it's OEM partners to just forgo the OS fee.

If you look at the stats, HTC and Samsung have sold few WP devices, the OS licensing money MS has gotten from them is tiny, pocket change in the grand scheme of things. Why bother over a few million? Drop the OS fee, the base OS fee that is and let OEMs just use it. What they could do is charge a fee for the OS + the Nokia stuff they are going to get. That would be a nice offer and make more business sense IMO.

Heck it'll make WP look even better to them in the end since it's free and MS does all the heavy software work that they would otherwise do with Android right now.

GP007 said,

Crazy idea, with MS making the Lumia phones now why not drop the WP licensing fee to other OEMs? If that happens then things really get interesting. Also with GDR3 or 8.1 you can open it up a bit more and let them go crazy on the hardware side.

The licensing fees are already small, as I note above with the HTC example. The development costs these OEMs are having to dump to build and run Android on their devices makes Android massively more expensive.

Mobius Enigma said,

The licensing fees are already small, as I note above with the HTC example. The development costs these OEMs are having to dump to build and run Android on their devices makes Android massively more expensive.

That's exactly my point though, because the fees are so small, due mostly to low volume, it doesn't matter to MS, it's pennies to them, they can drop the fees and not notice. It'd serve to make their partners happy though.

GP007 said,

That's exactly my point though, because the fees are so small, due mostly to low volume, it doesn't matter to MS, it's pennies to them, they can drop the fees and not notice. It'd serve to make their partners happy though.

Good point...

The only problem might be Microsoft's requirements for consistency and avoiding dumping laws. Google gets around this, as HTC/Samsung are technically building their own OS, and the only Google association is certification requirements to get access to Google Apps and the Play Store.

Even with Nokia, Microsoft 'had' to charge them for the Windows license.


As for the $10 example, that was the Nokia price and 'estimated' HTC/Samsung price range. The main point is the support/development costs HTC and Samsung are putting out to build Android for their devices is significantly more than 'any' license fee.

Mohitster said,
Crazy idea - Microsoft buys out HTC too!

Microsoft does have the cash flow for such a purchase. How much is HTC valued at? Honestly I like the 8X very much on Verizon. It's been very solid.

HTC makes excellent phones and confuses me how they could not be doing well. It must be on their marketing or financial division end. I think HTC should reorganize itself a little.

dbam987 said,
Microsoft does have the cash flow for such a purchase. How much is HTC valued at? Honestly I like the 8X very much on Verizon. It's been very solid.
Based on their QA, I hope that HTC is not worth more than about $20. I have never owned an HTC phone that lasted longer than three months, nor have I known someone that did better (or should returned their phone because its GPS chip was faulty).

It would be a mistake for Microsoft to buy HTC because HTC has little-to-no engineering talent left at the company. They also do not have a decent sized patent portfolio, which also happens to be the reason that they are the last big cell phone maker that uses Super LCD screens. And to add to my knock of their QA, they generally do not use Gorilla Glass in their products to squeeze out a tiny bit of extra profit at the huge expense of their customers.

pickypg said,
Based on their QA, I hope that HTC is not worth more than about $20. I have never owned an HTC phone that lasted longer than three months, nor have I known someone that did better (or should returned their phone because its GPS chip was faulty).

It would be a mistake for Microsoft to buy HTC because HTC has little-to-no engineering talent left at the company. They also do not have a decent sized patent portfolio, which also happens to be the reason that they are the last big cell phone maker that uses Super LCD screens. And to add to my knock of their QA, they generally do not use Gorilla Glass in their products to squeeze out a tiny bit of extra profit at the huge expense of their customers.

Don't spread cockamamie falsehoods around like that. I have a HTC Evo 4g LTE phone and its an exceptional phone. It has a big sharp beautiful screen, its speedy, lightweight, powerful, reliable, very nice looking. It does have gorilla glass and even features a little kick stand to watch videos. HTC phones are very well engineered and are rock solid. I also had another HTC Evo phone before that and it was an exceptional phone as well.

dbam987 said,

Microsoft does have the cash flow for such a purchase. How much is HTC valued at? Honestly I like the 8X very much on Verizon. It's been very solid.

HTC's closing market cap was $3.8 billion. Smaller than the Microsoft-Nokia deal, plenty of room for an acquisition premium.

But HTC is primarily an Android vendor. It would require a major strategic turnaround post-acquisition. Whereas Nokia is a drop-in acquisition.

Don't spread cockamamie falsehoods around like that. I have a HTC Evo 4g LTE phone and its an exceptional phone. It has a big sharp beautiful screen, its speedy, lightweight, powerful, reliable, very nice looking. It does have gorilla glass and even features a little kick stand to watch videos. HTC phones are very well engineered and are rock solid. I also had another HTC Evo phone before that and it was an exceptional phone as well.

--------------------------

Yes, that should explain why they are missing forecast. YOU had a good experience with their phone, that's good for you. I would like to see how much they spend on logistics.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,

Don't spread cockamamie falsehoods around like that. I have a HTC Evo 4g LTE phone and its an exceptional phone. It has a big sharp beautiful screen, its speedy, lightweight, powerful, reliable, very nice looking. It does have gorilla glass and even features a little kick stand to watch videos. HTC phones are very well engineered and are rock solid. I also had another HTC Evo phone before that and it was an exceptional phone as well.

Why are they missing financial forecast? You had a good experience using their phone, that's good for you. I would like to see how much they spend on their logistics.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Don't spread cockamamie falsehoods around like that. I have a HTC Evo 4g LTE phone and its an exceptional phone. It has a big sharp beautiful screen, its speedy, lightweight, powerful, reliable, very nice looking. It does have gorilla glass and even features a little kick stand to watch videos. HTC phones are very well engineered and are rock solid. I also had another HTC Evo phone before that and it was an exceptional phone as well.
It's only a falsehood if it's false. Everything I said was true, albeit anecdotal. But, there comes a point where anecdotal happens so frequently that it just the way of a company, and HTC crossed that line after about the fourth person for me.

Amusingly, one of my friend's with an Android-based HTC phone had an HTC Evo 4G until recently, and he had an endless stream of problems. He switched to a Nokia Lumia 928 just last week after switching from Sprint to Verizon.

As for the phone being nice with Gorilla Glass--it's the exception and not the rule with HTC (e.g., the HTC Evo 4G did not have Gorilla Glass http://www.corninggorillaglass...-gorilla/full-products-list ). The Evo 4G was based on the HD2, which was hailed as a good device. Being nice looking is debatable and it comes solely down to taste, and, as such, I completely disagree. I am not sure that I have heard anyone else call it a phone with a "sharp" and "beautiful" screen, although I have heard that some people actually prefer the colors from an LCD screen to that of an IPS or AMOLED screen.

Honestly, I don't really care about the other OEM's.... and really, why should anyone at this point?

Samsung and HTC, and the others that have attempted, have only really attempted... only dipping their toes into the ecosystem. They never really cared. Samsung Neo? is that a joke? pathetic. I mean HTC is giving a little more effort, but overall I think that Nokia was the only one that gave two nuts about it - and it did them good, or was starting to show a light at the end of the tunnel.

Anyways, here's to the future of Nokia phones, that Microsoft won't make them hinder innovation.

I said the same thing regarding the Samsung ATIV S Neo, but I really like it. I was "forced" to get it because I'm on Sprint and it's the best Windows Phone 8 device available. However, I'm really surprised how much I like it. Maybe it's last year's hardware inside, but it runs great and never looks to slow down or lag. The battery life is also pretty good. Much better than my previous HTC EVO android device. I have tried out various Nokia phones (except for the 1020 or whatever the 41mp flagship device is) and they're nice....but definitely not noticeably better than the Samsung ATIV S Neo.

You will notice the difference once you go back to a Nokia phone. Their complete suite of apps and their all out support for the platform is why I will always buy their phones when it comes to WP. Look at the Amber update.. which other OEM brought in so many features to their phones in addition to GDR2?

Their hardware is unmatched and right now, so is their software. And once this deal is complete, there really is no other reason to buy another OEM's phone (unless you don't have options on a particular carrier).

Although I agree that Nokia is the best WP manufacturer, it is always good to see healthy competition.
For an ideal experience the following needs to happen:
-More unified app experience across devices, like if Samsung launches their "S" suite for their WP phones, make it a paid purchase for other brand phones
-Allow boot to app (assigned access) and have HTC develop an app that adds the Sense UI's feed screen, but have it free for HTC phones and paid for other phones
-HTC should launch the One and One mini on WP
-WP should push more updates like 4k screens and Notification Center (as an app) , and the ability to pin individual settings (like wifi) to start, and support for 8 core processors
-Samsung should port their entire line of Galaxy devices to WP (unlikely)
-Microsoft needs to keep the Nokia brand name for awhile because it still has the durability image
-Somehow get sony on WP

evacc44 said,
I said the same thing regarding the Samsung ATIV S Neo, but I really like it. I was "forced" to get it because I'm on Sprint and it's the best Windows Phone 8 device available. However, I'm really surprised how much I like it. Maybe it's last year's hardware inside, but it runs great and never looks to slow down or lag. The battery life is also pretty good. Much better than my previous HTC EVO android device. I have tried out various Nokia phones (except for the 1020 or whatever the 41mp flagship device is) and they're nice....but definitely not noticeably better than the Samsung ATIV S Neo.
You were doing fine until you tried to compare battery life. Comparing battery life of a phone that is full of features like full multi-tasking, to a phone whose fanciest feature is...nothing.

auziez said,
Honestly, I don't really care about the other OEM's.... and really, why should anyone at this point?

Samsung and HTC, and the others that have attempted, have only really attempted... only dipping their toes into the ecosystem. They never really cared. Samsung Neo? is that a joke? pathetic. I mean HTC is giving a little more effort, but overall I think that Nokia was the only one that gave two nuts about it - and it did them good, or was starting to show a light at the end of the tunnel.

Anyways, here's to the future of Nokia phones, that Microsoft won't make them hinder innovation.

I said the same and I agree 100%. All the other OEM's have basically made a phone that isn't even worth looking at. When Windows Mobile was king, HTC sold 80% of the device. Why? Because they were the best option. I tried option from Moto and even LG and they all sucked. The HTC TouchPro2 which was the last one I own was a nice device, but the CPU @ 528Mhz was simply to slow to handle WM6.5. ****ed me off and I didnt keep it. I went Android/iOS after that. I tried early Wp7 devices. I like the HTC Surround per se, but preferred the Samsung Focus. If I could have placed the screen of the Focus on the Surround it would have been prefect.

If the other OEM's wanted WP to be a success, they need to stop making crappy devices. Even with MS' restrictive hardware requirements, they could have mae something way better. Also MS made it much harder for WP to be accepted with the stupid requirement. Why restrict resolutions to 800x600 or whatever, when other phones were already hitting HD resolutions?

I want WP to be successful. I want the great features of Windows Mobile that are still useful to be avail on WP8. I want to be able to sync directly to Outlook without using Exchange. I want high res screens of at least 1280x720. I want 4.7" or higher devices. I want wallpapers, full multi-tasking and more. And bring back USB Mass Storage without be having to use a stupid registry hack.

Until WP is as useful as it use to be, its going to gain nothing but hard press.

TechieXP said,
I said the same and I agree 100%. All the other OEM's have basically made a phone that isn't even worth looking at. When Windows Mobile was king, HTC sold 80% of the device. Why? Because they were the best option. I tried option from Moto and even LG and they all sucked. The HTC TouchPro2 which was the last one I own was a nice device, but the CPU @ 528Mhz was simply to slow to handle WM6.5. ****ed me off and I didnt keep it. I went Android/iOS after that. I tried early Wp7 devices. I like the HTC Surround per se, but preferred the Samsung Focus. If I could have placed the screen of the Focus on the Surround it would have been prefect.

If the other OEM's wanted WP to be a success, they need to stop making crappy devices. Even with MS' restrictive hardware requirements, they could have mae something way better. Also MS made it much harder for WP to be accepted with the stupid requirement. Why restrict resolutions to 800x600 or whatever, when other phones were already hitting HD resolutions?

I want WP to be successful. I want the great features of Windows Mobile that are still useful to be avail on WP8. I want to be able to sync directly to Outlook without using Exchange. I want high res screens of at least 1280x720. I want 4.7" or higher devices. I want wallpapers, full multi-tasking and more. And bring back USB Mass Storage without be having to use a stupid registry hack.

Until WP is as useful as it use to be, its going to gain nothing but hard press.


I will have to agree with you about Microsoft lagging behind with the OS and its features. I'm actually a huge fan of Microsoft, so much so that I arrogantly bought the LG optimus 7 way back when wp7 first came out. I thought it was going to be great, but little did I realize that it was a complete mess. Yes, it's a clean OS, and easy and all that... but when you compare it to other OS's, they either have more options, better features, better hardware, more accessibility or all of this together.

As I just ran out of my 3 year contract, I renewed it with an Android HTC one. I actually am quite astounded by the interface... It took me around a day to get used to it, but in the end I have everything I could ask for and more. I mean this phone has easier ways to switch settings, more customization options, more accessibility to your favorite apps (at the bottom)... I will admit though, the phone does lag at times... but in the end I really don't care because of how many leaps forward it is then any other WP out there.

I only wish that Microsoft could kick in more resources, or spur more innovation to its workers.... I really am concerned by how slow things are going, management really needs to change up... Hopefully with the new organization things will move faster...

on a side note, I cannot wait to see how Elop transforms Microsoft.