Microsoft allegedly investing over $2 billion on Windows Phone makers in 2014

Yes, you read that correctly: Microsoft is to invest a whopping $2.3 billion to entice more manufacturers to the Windows Phone party in 2014.

That's of course according to the Chief Editor of Mobile Review (a Russian website), Eldar Murtazin. While the source of this info is a little sketchy, apparently Samsung will win the lion's share of the bounty with $1.2 billion earmarked for new Windows Phones, while at the other end of the scale, current Microsoft partner HTC will have to settle for a portion of the $300 million put aside for "others." Murtazin said a month ago that Samsung would be getting around $1 billion in support from Microsoft.

Although HTC launched Windows Phone 8 devices alongside Nokia, it has failed to capture a large mindset among customers, and there have been several reports that HTC was planning to ditch Windows Phone altogether, which were later denied.

While there's no way to gauge the accuracy of Murtazin's claim without confirmation from Microsoft or one of its hardware partners, the company did reportedly invest more than $1 billion on smartphone research and development in 2010. Given Microsoft's increased emphasis on mobile going forward, it's possible the investment is accurate. At the same time, however, Nokia was getting about $1 billion a year from Microsoft, and it was an exclusive partner; Samsung getting more than that for simply developing more Windows Phone devices seems unlikely.

Microsoft is obviously taking an aggressive approach to capture even more marketshare after famously overtaking BlackBerry as the third smartphone ecosystem in 2013; and while the motivation will most certainly be welcomed by Samsung, Sony, Huawei and possibly others, we're guessing it will take a little longer to capture the second spot away from Apple.

Source: Eldar Murtazin (Twitter)

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Good

WP8 is turning the tide and seems to have escaped the bust tag and is a viable 3rd option in the phone market.

Now is the time to push it so it stays that way and gains more marektshare.

Recently I see more and more people with Windows Phone is Serbia, quite surprising. It makes both happy and sad. Glad WP is gaining traction but people don't ask me any more what phone is that... i enjoyed to explain.

swanlee said,
Good

WP8 is turning the tide and seems to have escaped the bust tag and is a viable 3rd option in the phone market.

Now is the time to push it so it stays that way and gains more marektshare.

I agree with you. Here in the UK, Windows Phone market share is much smaller compared to Android and iOS. From personal experience, I don't think there are enough Windows Phone handsets available with carriers - certainly the most options I've seen are from Nokia only, and maybe a few from others.

I hope things improve. Windows Phone is a great platform - I'm quite surprised it has quite a low market share in some important markets. I think maybe part of the problem is, apart from the lack of wider choice with some carriers, is the fact some customers (not everyone, but at least some) might not even consider a Windows Phone when upgrading or looking around.

Galaxy quality? Wished to say low quality? Well if Microsoft gives them 1.2bln i bet they would control quality of devices and won't allow Samsung to put WP on crap hardware like S4 is. Expect something like Lumias or One...

Samsung is all about horsepower and have no time to care about the build quality. As for the windows phone, i can't imagine how far they gonna torture it. The only android phone that i endorse is HTC. Samsung is overrated in so many ways that i can't begin to describe.

Master of Earth said,
The only android phone that i endorse is HTC.

I really don't understand how anyone can even consider buying a HTC after what they did just recently with the One X(+)…

Interesting, not sure how accurate this is though, HTC has been a windows partner since the early Windows Mobile days, would mean they are pretty much parting ways with the platform if they weren't getting any money from this.

That being said might not be the worst thing,. HTC re-invigorated themselves with the WP8 handsets, I was very happy with the 8X, but their ongoing support pales in comparison to that offered by Nokia or even Samsung (who barely gave a toss about this last WP handset).

HTC don't have vision, they are totally lost. They are afraid to make long term investment and that cost them. One phone don't sell well and they drop support for it, that way they lose current users. My opinion is that they should shift just to WP and change their support policy. Force support for your device, force ads, if device is good it will pay off in future.

ROFL, "investing". The title should be "Microsoft allegedly trying to bribe phone makers with over $2 billion to use Windows Phone in 2014."
OEMs don't want to use it. They certainly aren't going to design products specifically for it. They may very well take the money and then throw Windows Phone on devices they've designed for Android though. That's why it was important for MS to update the OS to support no physical buttons. Android phones have gone that way and if MS wanted OEMs to put the OS on those top tier Android phones then they needed to support it. The reasons OEMs don't want to support Windows Phone are because it's too locked down and it's not a fair playing field. While consumers may hate Android skins OEMs love it as it allows their products to be different from their competitors. MS doesn't allow such customization so it's hard to differentiate your product in software. Even in hardware Android allows them to come up with entirely new hardware and write their drivers for it if they want but MS restricts what OEMs can do. Furthermore even before MS bought Nokia they gave them the ability to modify the code more than any other OEM as well as earlier access so it wasn't even a fair playing field if you wanted to try to compete. The deck as stacked in favor of Nokia so why would any OEM even care to compete? If MS wants to get strong multi-OEM support they need to get out of the hardware business and if they want to be in the hardware business and make handsets of their own via Nokia then they need to abandon this idea of other OEMs making products and just embrace an Apple-like completely MS/Nokia platform. They can't have it both ways.

What are you on about?

1. HTC has made quite a few popular WP products. More ODMs just signed on this year too. If nobody wanted it why the hell would they sign on for it? $2 billion is not exactly a lot of money when it's split over all the ODMs.

2. MS didn't exactly open up the source code for Nokia to look through it as they pleased. Their phones aren't any more modified than HTC, Samsung are. Some of their apps are cool but pretty much any ODM can make them too.

3. Hardware? WP supports a lot of different hardware, sure it's not as much as Android but who really cares? My single core lumia is still buttery smooth and has always been that way.

4. WP marketshare is going up with every quarter. In some countries it holds quite a decent amount of the market.

Go back 5 or so years and people were complaining about how android will be such a massive failure and it was stupid of Google to get involved. Where are those people now?

-Razorfold said,
What are you on about?

1. HTC has made quite a few popular WP products. More ODMs just signed on this year too. If nobody wanted it why the hell would they sign on for it? $2 billion is not exactly a lot of money when it's split over all the ODMs.


You are aware the HTC is collapsing. It's only a sliver of what it was at it's height so it's not exactly a great thing to trumped as the success of non-Nokia Windows Phone OEMs. I'm not sure by what scale you are calling HTC's Windows Phones "popular". Are they competitive with Nokia phones running Windows Phones? Howe about Samsung Android Phones? What about Apple phones? No, HTC phones are not popular and that's why the company is falling apart.
-Razorfold said,
2. MS didn't exactly open up the source code for Nokia to look through it as they pleased. Their phones aren't any more modified than HTC, Samsung are. Some of their apps are cool but pretty much any ODM can make them too.

This is simply wrong. Sure Nokia couldn't change just anything they want but they WERE given more of an ability to change things then any other OEM creating an uneven playing field.

From just after the announcement in 2011:
"Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that the company had a "unique relationship" with Microsoft, and that the deal was "not your mother's OEM deal with Microsoft" and that the deal also allowed Nokia to differentiate itself from other OEMs."
and
"Elop even suggested that Nokia had the power to change the WP UI to suit its needs, something that no other OEM can do."

-Razorfold said,

3. Hardware? WP supports a lot of different hardware, sure it's not as much as Android but who really cares? My single core lumia is still buttery smooth and has always been that way.

Who really cares? Hardware manufacturers care. They don't want some outside company telling them that these are the features you can have. They want to make whatever they want and if they make something new they'll write a driver for it and move on. That's how Android works, that's how Windows (desktop version) work. OEMs are constantly pushing the resolution up phones, it cares if you tell them they can only support resolutions X, Y, and Z. New processors are being developed all the time and OEMs don't want to be told the OS only runs on processors A, B, and C.
-Razorfold said,

4. WP marketshare is going up with every quarter. In some countries it holds quite a decent amount of the market.

WP marketshare is going up every quarter largely because Blackberry is collapsing, not because it's gaining on Android or Apple. Using the Q3 (I don't think Q4 are out yet) IDC numbers Android went from 139.9 to 211.6 in that year. That's a growth of 71.7. Apple went from 26.9 to 33.8. That's a growth of 6.9. Windows Phone went from 3.7 to 9.5. That's a growth of 5.8, the slowest of the three. They aren't going to catch anyone if they aren't even growing as fast.

You are aware the HTC is collapsing. It's only a sliver of what it was at it's height so it's not exactly a great thing to trumped as the success of non-Nokia Windows Phone OEMs. I'm not sure by what scale you are calling HTC's Windows Phones "popular". Are they competitive with Nokia phones running Windows Phones? Howe about Samsung Android Phones? What about Apple phones? No, HTC phones are not popular and that's why the company is falling apart.

1. HTC was the most popular WP ODM until Nokia came along. HTC
2. HTC isn't falling apart because their phones aren't popular. They make some really good phones, the One series and the HTC 8 series were both examples of really good phones. They failed to support them. That's been their biggest issue, they make so many phones and abandon them after a year.

That's why I used the word HAS not IS.

This is simply wrong. Sure Nokia couldn't change just anything they want but they WERE given more of an ability to change things then any other OEM creating an uneven playing field.

But they didn't. So the playing field hasn't really been adjusted at all. If I pick up a Nokia phone or an HTC phone I don't see any drastic differences.

Also the only reason MS gave Nokia the freedom to do more was because Nokia committed themselves fully to WP, and is the only ODM to do so. They're also one of the very few companies that seem to understand that innovation in the smartphone market isn't just about "look at my new fancy 8 core processor that is marginally better than my previous quad core processor".

Who really cares? Hardware manufacturers care. They don't want some outside company telling them that these are the features you can have. They want to make whatever they want and if they make something new they'll write a driver for it and move on. That's how Android works, that's how Windows (desktop version) work. OEMs are constantly pushing the resolution up phones, it cares if you tell them they can only support resolutions X, Y, and Z. New processors are being developed all the time and OEMs don't want to be told the OS only runs on processors A, B, and C.

Then why do so many Android phones get abandoned by their ODMs? Guess what, ODMs don't like writing new drivers everytime a new version comes out, it's quite expensive. They also don't like having to get everything re-certified, yet again it's expensive. With WP a ton of that gets simplified with MS doing most of the grunt work.

Why is it that Nokia can invent things like the Pureview camera and get them on WP, but other ODMs, even on the Android side, can't?

WP marketshare is going up every quarter largely because Blackberry is collapsing, not because it's gaining on Android or Apple. Using the Q3 (I don't think Q4 are out yet) IDC numbers Android went from 139.9 to 211.6 in that year. That's a growth of 71.7. Apple went from 26.9 to 33.8. That's a growth of 6.9. Windows Phone went from 3.7 to 9.5. That's a growth of 5.8, the slowest of the three. They aren't going to catch anyone if they aren't even growing as fast.

So a gain of 256% is considered slow? In one quarter they more than doubled their userbase, that's hardly called slow. If WP was really a failure then it should be losing marketshare or staying steady. Just because it isn't gaining 70 million new people a month doesn't make it a failure.

-Razorfold said,

1. HTC was the most popular WP ODM until Nokia came along. HTC

Yes, they were the most popular WP until Nokia came along and used the unfair advantage given to them by Microsoft to take the market. So long as they have this advantage no OEM is ever going to catch them and that is why they don't care about competing and MS has to pay them to use their OS.
-Razorfold said,

2. HTC isn't falling apart because their phones aren't popular. They make some really good phones, the One series and the HTC 8 series were both examples of really good phones. They failed to support them. That's been their biggest issue, they make so many phones and abandon them after a year.

I don't know what you think the word popular means but HTC isn't particularly competitive in smartphone sales. Overall Samsung dominates and even if you restrict it to just Windows Phones they are being crushed by Nokia. Their phones may be good, Windows Phone may be a great OS but they aren't selling well. The best technology isn't always the most popular, in fact quite often it isn't.
-Razorfold said,

But they didn't. So the playing field hasn't really been adjusted at all. If I pick up a Nokia phone or an HTC phone I don't see any drastic differences.

Right, so because you can't see any drastic difference there isn't one. Sorry I'm not going to just take your guess on the topic as truth. I'd bet they have used at least a little of what others couldn't even if it isn't the most visible thing in the world and I bet they'd use even more if someone were actually competitive with them in sales on Windows Phone. They don't have to differentiate themselves too much right now because they are dominating in that area and now it's a moot point either way because they ARE Microsoft. So now the DO have access to the full source that other OEMs don't so I know if I made smartphone I sure as heck wouldn't try to compete with Microsoft owned Nokia for the little market share Windows Phone has unless MS paid me to do it. Even then I'd just throw the MS OS on hardware I was already making for Android or whatever platforms I could actually change and actually sold in large numbers.
-Razorfold said,

Also the only reason MS gave Nokia the freedom to do more was because Nokia committed themselves fully to WP, and is the only ODM to do so.

Oh, I totally agree. It was a GREAT move for Microsoft. Windows Phone may have completely failed if it wasn't for the deal. It hasn't worked so great for Nokia though, they collapsed and got bought. It also hasn't worked so great for other non-Nokia OEMs making Windows Phones. MS going the Apple route and just making Windows Phone Nokia-only so they control both the hardware and the software makes more sense then paying other OEMS to try to compete with Nokia for sales when Nokia has greater access to the platform.
-Razorfold said,

Then why do so many Android phones get abandoned by their ODMs? Guess what, ODMs don't like writing new drivers everytime a new version comes out, it's quite expensive. They also don't like having to get everything re-certified, yet again it's expensive. With WP a ton of that gets simplified with MS doing most of the grunt work.

Android phones get abandoned by their ODMs because ODMs are hardware manufacturers and they want you to buy new hardware not keep updating what you have. They would absolutely rather write new drivers for their brand new hardware that's going to give them a one up on their competitors instead of constantly updating the same old hardware they released last year and giving it to users for free. Also Android certification I believe is free.
-Razorfold said,

Why is it that Nokia can invent things like the Pureview camera and get them on WP, but other ODMs, even on the Android side, can't?

What are you talking about. Nokia can probably invent things like Pureview camera on WP because they have greater access to the platform than other OEMs. Android invents new things all the time, devices are released with different kinds of cameras with different capabiltiies all the time, in fact it is fairly unusual for an android phone to come with the stock Android camera app at all, most replace it with custom ones. ODMs push new resolutions, new processors, etc. all the time on Android, that's one of it's big advantages.
-Razorfold said,

So a gain of 256% is considered slow? In one quarter they more than doubled their userbase, that's hardly called slow. If WP was really a failure then it should be losing marketshare or staying steady. Just because it isn't gaining 70 million new people a month doesn't make it a failure.

If you have less than 4% of a market and another company has over 80% and that company is increasing the number of devices it is selling faster than you are then you are not competitive, you are not popular. I didn't say you were failing. Companies can exist with tiny market share. Apple survived a good deal of it's life with only a tiny fraction of the PC market.

Yes, they were the most popular WP until Nokia came along and used the unfair advantage given to them by Microsoft to take the market. So long as they have this advantage no OEM is ever going to catch them and that is why they don't care about competing and MS has to pay them to use their OS.

Jesus christ, Nokia doesn't have this massive unfair advantage that you seem to think they do. All the ODMs have pretty similar base apps, and their OSes all look the same. Nokia became popular because they made their phones different than the stock black shell with a screen. Then they went further and made awesome cameras.

I don't know what you think the word popular means but HTC isn't particularly competitive in smartphone sales. Overall Samsung dominates and even if you restrict it to just Windows Phones they are being crushed by Nokia. Their phones may be good, Windows Phone may be a great OS but they aren't selling well. The best technology isn't always the most popular, in fact quite often it isn't.

Their phones are popular, the company isn't. Basically people love their phones, The 8S and 8X were pretty good phones, the One is a great phone. However because of the company being a piece of ****, people are more hesitant to buy them.

They don't have to differentiate themselves too much right now because they are dominating in that area and now it's a moot point either way because they ARE Microsoft. So now the DO have access to the full source that other OEMs don't so I know if I made smartphone I sure as heck wouldn't try to compete with Microsoft

Um they were differentiating themselves even before the deal and being bought out. Yes now that they're bought out they could probably do a whole lot more but they still aren't?

That's like saying oh Motorola has an unfair advantage with Android because Google owns them. Then why is Samsung number 1? Motorola gets the full support of the company that creates Android, Nokia gets the full support of the company that creates WP.

Oh, I totally agree. It was a GREAT move for Microsoft. Windows Phone may have completely failed if it wasn't for the deal. It hasn't worked so great for Nokia though, they collapsed and got bought.

Nokia had collapsed long long long before MS and WP. The reason they're doing better is because their phones are different. How many 41mp GOOD cameras do you see out there on smartphones? How many have the great low-light photography that some of the lumias do?

Android phones get abandoned by their ODMs because ODMs are hardware manufacturers and they want you to buy new hardware not keep updating what you have. They would absolutely rather write new drivers for their brand new hardware that's going to give them a one up on their competitors instead of constantly updating the same old hardware they released last year and giving it to users for free. Also Android certification I believe is free.

So my point still stands? And I wasn't talking about Android certification (which isn't free, not if you want to use google apps), I was talking about FCC and carrier certification. If you factor in google apps it costs the same for an ODM to go WP or Android. Amazon keeps their costs down by using their own apps (no Gmail, GMaps etc on the Kindle).

What are you talking about. Nokia can probably invent things like Pureview camera on WP because they have greater access to the platform than other OEMs. Android invents new things all the time, devices are released with different kinds of cameras with different capabiltiies all the time, in fact it is fairly unusual for an android phone to come with the stock Android camera app at all, most replace it with custom ones. ODMs push new resolutions, new processors, etc. all the time on Android, that's one of it's big advantages.

Except the pureview camera is hardware... The software is just something on top, you can take their camera app and install it on an HTC phone and it would work fine there too. There isn't really a special magical code that only Nokia has.

Yes Nokia has greater access, but time and time again they've said they really don't use it. They can skin the OS if they wanted to but they don't.

If you have less than 4% of a market and another company has over 80% and that company is increasing the number of devices it is selling faster than you are then you are not competitive, you are not popular. I didn't say you were failing. Companies can exist with tiny market share. Apple survived a good deal of it's life with only a tiny fraction of the PC market.

I did mention outside the US. There are quite a few countries in which WP has 10-20 (and I think a couple that are more than 20 not sure). But going by growth rate alone, WP is outpacing the iPhone. Sure Android has a massive massive lead but well we all knew that anyways.

-Razorfold said,

Jesus christ, Nokia doesn't have this massive unfair advantage that you seem to think they do. All the ODMs have pretty similar base apps, and their OSes all look the same.

Having an unfair advantage doesn't mean all your apps will look completely different.
-Razorfold said,

Their phones are popular, the company isn't. Basically people love their phones, The 8S and 8X were pretty good phones, the One is a great phone. However because of the company being a piece of ****, people are more hesitant to buy them.

All I'm saying is their sales aren't competitive. You can speculate all you like about how why that is but the fact remains they don't sell well compared to their competition. I'm not trashing HTC or Nokia on hardware quality or anything else. I'm just talking about what sells.
-Razorfold said,

That's like saying oh Motorola has an unfair advantage with Android because Google owns them. Then why is Samsung number 1? Motorola gets the full support of the company that creates Android, Nokia gets the full support of the company that creates WP.

Motorola could be given an unfair advantage by Google but they are not. The difference is when Google bought Motorola they made clear that they were going to keep a strict division and not give Motorola any access that other ODMs don't have. That is radically different from the comments of Elop and others after the MS-Nokia deal in 2011. Motorola has never been selected to make a Nexus device or gotten any other special treatment by Google. The fact that they are doing so poorly demonstrates they aren't being given an advantage.
-Razorfold said,

Nokia had collapsed long long long before MS and WP.

Nokia hadn't collapsed, they were collapsing and shareholders were told going Windows Phone exclusive and throwing away all of Nokia's own platforms was going to save them... it didn't.
-Razorfold said,
The reason they're doing better is because their phones are different. How many 41mp GOOD cameras do you see out there on smartphones? How many have the great low-light photography that some of the lumias do?

Again I'm not bashing Nokia hardware quality. They do make great devices, especially cameras, but they don't sell anywhere near what the competition does. I don't understand how arguing how great Nokia's hardware is is supposed to show how they don't have an unfair advantage or how they are popular compared to others who sell several times the number of phones.
-Razorfold said,
So my point still stands?

How so? You said ODMs don't want make new hardware that they have to write new drivers for because it's expensive and I countered that they'd much rather pay to write new drivers for new hardware they are putting in new products to sell then keep updating software on old hardware for free. This refutes your point not supports it.
-Razorfold said,

And I wasn't talking about Android certification (which isn't free, not if you want to use google apps), I was talking about FCC and carrier certification. If you factor in google apps it costs the same for an ODM to go WP or Android. Amazon keeps their costs down by using their own apps (no Gmail, GMaps etc on the Kindle).

I'm no ODM of course (though I doubt you are either) so I'm not positive but according to this quote:

"How much does compatibility certification cost?
There is no cost to obtain Android compatibility for a device. The Compatibility Test Suite is open-source and available to anyone to use to test a device."

From here: http://source.android.com/faqs...tibility-certification-cost

-Razorfold said,

Except the pureview camera is hardware... The software is just something on top, you can take their camera app and install it on an HTC phone and it would work fine there too. There isn't really a special magical code that only Nokia has.

I'm not so sure this is true. Hardware requires drivers and I'm not sure exactly what the PureView camera requires at a driver level but it may or may not be the same as the stock Windows Phone code. Switching resolutions on a computer seems trivial too but Windows Phone only supports a specific (but expanding) set even though it would seem an ODM could just make a higher res screen, throw it on a Windows, and it would work fine. It won't, there IS special magical code they're called drivers and hardware level driver access is heavily restricted in Windows Phone. Nokia probably had more (but not total) access to that code then other ODMs. Drivers don't make changes in the GUI either so a Nokia phone with a special driver to support higher resolution wouldn't look any different in the UI then any other Windows Phone. Again though this a moot point because Nokia is now part of Microsoft and I seriously doubt MS is going to restrict their bread and butters access to the platform to keep the playing field level with other ODMs. I expect great things from MS/Nokia in the future, again I'm not bad mouthing them. I would not however compete against Nokia for Windows Phone sales if I were an ODM because Nokia is part of MS so the playing field isn't level.
-Razorfold said,

Yes Nokia has greater access, but time and time again they've said they really don't use it. They can skin the OS if they wanted to but they don't.

Skinning the OS is only a tiny part of what they can their greater access to the code does. Just because they aren't skinning the OS doesn't mean they aren't using that greater code access to write drivers and such that others couldn't. At least you finally do admit though that they do have greater access and thus they playing field is uneven. Let's say they aren't using ANY of their greater access though. Even if that is true, which I don't believe, you don't think that if another ODM started beating them in sales they wouldn't use every tool they had available to them to regain their lead? Sure they would, any company would, it's the nature of competition. So now your the ODM that was winning on an even playing field but Nokia starts using that extra access and you lose the lead. As an ODM why would you even risk the chance that that might happen? So you can get a fraction of the 4% of the market MS has. Or you can just compete with Android and not worry about it.
-Razorfold said,

I did mention outside the US. There are quite a few countries in which WP has 10-20 (and I think a couple that are more than 20 not sure). But going by growth rate alone, WP is outpacing the iPhone. Sure Android has a massive massive lead but well we all knew that anyways.

I ignored the massive lead. Want the numbers again? Here you go:

"Using the Q3 (I don't think Q4 are out yet) IDC numbers Android went from 139.9 to 211.6 in that year. That's a growth of 71.7. Apple went from 26.9 to 33.8. That's a growth of 6.9. Windows Phone went from 3.7 to 9.5. That's a growth of 5.8, the slowest of the three. They aren't going to catch anyone if they aren't even growing as fast."

Ignore what the number were (the lead) and just compare the change (growth). Androids CHANGE was 71.7. Apples CHANGE was 6.9. Windows Phone's CHANGE was 5.8. Apple's 6.9 is larger then Microsoft 5.8 and so they are not outpacing iPhone. Maybe in select markets, especially 3rd world ones because Apple bills itself as a premium luxury device. Maybe in specific quarters because Apple is on a yearly release cycle so sure if you release near the end of the cycle when their products are nearing the end of their life you might get a temporary win... until the new iPhone comes out and CRUSHES you again. Averaged over the full year though they are beating MS. Both Apple and MS are just fighting for the crumbs though, Android has over 80% of the market and again, even setting that aside their GROWTH as 71.7 compared to both Apple and MS tiny single digit growth. MS isn't closing the gap on Android or Apple. Again though I'm not saying they never will, who knows what the future holds. I'm also not saying they are going to fail completely, again Apple lived a good chuck of their life with only a tiny fraction of the PC Market and did just fine. I'm just saying that RIGHT NOW they aren't even closing the gap, they aren't competitive, they aren't popular.

All I'm saying is their sales aren't competitive. You can speculate all you like about how why that is but the fact remains they don't sell well compared to their competition. I'm not trashing HTC or Nokia on hardware quality or anything else. I'm just talking about what sells.

Well to be fair we are talking about android so essentially it's Samsung at the very top with a huge chunk of the marketshare, everyone else is kindoff low down.

I'm no ODM of course (though I doubt you are either) so I'm not positive but according to this quote:

Not talking about Android certification, that is free. Carrier and FCC certification isn't free. And also if you want to use Google Apps then you have to pay Google for it. It's why Amazon Kindle, even though it runs android, has no access to GMaps, GStore, GPlay etc.

It won't, there IS special magical code they're called drivers and hardware level driver access is heavily restricted in Windows Phone. Nokia probably had more (but not total) access to that code then other ODMs. Drivers don't make changes in the GUI either so a Nokia phone with a special driver to support higher resolution wouldn't look any different in the UI then any other Windows Phone.

But then Nokia apps wouldn't work on any other manufacturer right? It wouldn't have the basic drivers and firmware to get them to work. But back with WP7 (I don't think WP8's security has been bypassed yet), anyone could download Nokia apps from XDA-Devs and copy them over and they'd run fine. Hell I was using Nokia Drive on my HD7 for months because it was a free GPS. Of course now since MS owns them I'm sure they have more privileges.

But also you have to remember that at one point of time HTC had a similar thing going. MS loved them, and I think they were a platinum partner or something. That had to have come with benefits that are similar to the ones Nokia had.

Or you can just compete with Android and not worry about it.

Technically you're competing with just Samsung, everyone else just has table scraps. Similar situation with WP. You're competing with Nokia, everyone else is just fighting over the table scraps.

Ignore what the number were (the lead) and just compare the change (growth). Androids CHANGE was 71.7. Apples CHANGE was 6.9. Windows Phone's CHANGE was 5.8. Apple's 6.9 is larger then Microsoft 5.8 and so they are not outpacing iPhone.

I was talking about the growth. Sure their change wasn't as big as Apple's but their YOY growth has been significantly higher than iOS. Apple's YOY used to be absolutely massive but it has slowed considerably in recent years.

-Razorfold said,

Well to be fair we are talking about android so essentially it's Samsung at the very top with a huge chunk of the marketshare, everyone else is kindoff low down.

Right, so let's say you are an ODM that has a great new smartphone you are going to sell and you have to decide what OS to put on it. You MIGHT be able to put Windows Phone on it IF the hardware matches the list that MS says you can have or you can put Android on it. If you put Windows Phone on it then your main competition is going to be Nokia who is owned by the company that makes the OS and you can be sure that any new hardware advances they make will be supported by the OS while any new hardware advances you make may or may not be supported, you are at a disadvantage. On Android the biggest competition is Samsung who has no special access to the OS at all so no advantage over you. You're probably going to pick Android, and that's ignoring the fact that the existing user base of Android is over 20x that of Windows Phone. That's what is happening.
-Razorfold said,

Not talking about Android certification, that is free. Carrier and FCC certification isn't free.

ODMs have to get Carrier and FCC certification no matter what OS they put on their phone. They would absolutely rather sell new phones and pay those fees over continuing to support already sold phones with free software updates.
-Razorfold said,

And also if you want to use Google Apps then you have to pay Google for it. It's why Amazon Kindle, even though it runs android, has no access to GMaps, GStore, GPlay etc.

Are you sure Google Apps have to be paid for? I'm not positive either way but it was my understanding that the reason Amazon Kindle can't have Google Apps is because they violate the Google Play terms of service NOT because of money. Google Play terms of service say that in order to use it you can not have your own app store that sells apps without Google getting their cut. Amazon wants its own app store where it gets a cut instead of Google and thus they can't use Google Play.
-Razorfold said,

But then Nokia apps wouldn't work on any other manufacturer right?

No. Nokia apps probably access their drivers via standard APIs so they'll work on anything that supports that API. It is INSIDE the driver where the custom code is to access specific hardware and Nokia has greater access to write that custom code then any other ODM. Look at it this way: Games run on DirectX (a standard API). nVidia makes a new graphics card and it writes the driver for it so the new hardware works with DirectX. Now it works with any DirectX game because the game doesn't have to know what the hardware is, it just knows DirectX. Now you come along and make a new graphics card and go to write a driver for it but MS says they aren't going to give you driver level access to their OS, you have to use only the already approved drivers but nVidia can write their own for the new hardware they develop. As a hardware developer that's a dealbreaker. None of this shows up to the user because all they see is DirectX games not specific driver implementations.
-Razorfold said,

But also you have to remember that at one point of time HTC had a similar thing going. MS loved them, and I think they were a platinum partner or something. That had to have come with benefits that are similar to the ones Nokia had.

It did not. MS wanted to lock everything down to prevent fragmentation and that included locking it down for platinum partners. Nokia became the exception when that deal went through in 2011. Up until then the playing field was level but that tipped it and drove ODMs away.
-Razorfold said,

Technically you're competing with just Samsung, everyone else just has table scraps. Similar situation with WP. You're competing with Nokia, everyone else is just fighting over the table scraps.

Yes but Samsung doesn't have any access beyond you to the OS but Nokia does. You can compete with Samsung on a level playing field while you can't with Nokia. Additionally even if you only got 5% of the Android market that's more than the entire Windows Phone market combined. If you take 5% of the windows Phone market you've got next to nothing.
-Razorfold said,

I was talking about the growth. Sure their change wasn't as big as Apple's but their YOY growth has been significantly higher than iOS. Apple's YOY used to be absolutely massive but it has slowed considerably in recent years.

Change is Growth. If you are 5 feet tall and then you are 6 feet tall the difference/change is 1 foot. That's 1 foot of GROWTH. Microsoft's GROWTH is not higher then Apples.

They should invest in the customer base.

Pay end users fees for their top 10 apps if they switch.

Then those app makers would get paid by MS effectively to port their apps.

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