ZTE commits to more Windows Phones, despite Microsoft-Nokia deal

After Nokia announced that it was planning to sell its devices business to Microsoft - a deal that Nokia's shareholders are voting on today - some speculated that it would result in other manufacturers dropping their Windows Phone products entirely. While HTC, Samsung and Huawei still offer Windows Phone handsets, Nokia's Lumia range already accounts for over 90% of all devices sold with Microsoft's mobile OS.

HTC, for example, denied rumours in August that they was planning to dump Windows Phone in favour of an all-Android future, saying that they were "absolutely dedicated to [their] Windows Phone line-up". But after the Nokia sale to Microsoft was announced, that enthusiasm has been far less apparent. In a statement to Neowin regarding the deal, HTC simply said that they were "assessing the situation". 

But for those concerned that Microsoft may be set to go it alone with Windows Phone once the Nokia deal is complete, worry no more. At least one OEM is committed to the platform - one that had apparently abandoned it some time ago: ZTE. 

ZTE previously offered handsets with Windows Phone 7, including the Tania and Orbit, but it was conspicuously absent from the list of partners for Windows Phone 8. A year ago, it was rumoured to be working on a 5.9-inch phablet running WP8, but that device was never released

But that's all set to change as ZTE executive vice-president, He Shiyou, told the Financial Times that the company is committed to the platform, and will launch new Windows Phones after Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's device business is completed.

According to He, Microsoft executives visited ZTE to offer assurances regarding its support for platform partners in the future. He stated: "Initially, we were hesitant [but] after clarification from Microsoft about industry support, we are willing to commit to [the] Windows platform again." 

The FT also reports that Microsoft told ZTE that it is keen to "maintain a wide network of handset makers rather than simply make its own Windows phones". Whether other partners will be similarly enthusiastic about continuing to build Windows Phones remains to be seen, but it could be viewed as an encouraging sign that Microsoft has been able to secure a commitment from a partner that had previously turned its back on the platform. 

Source: Financial Times (paywall) via WMPU

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3 Comments

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A risky but smart move. Android is fierce competition and Samsung is too powerful. All the other OEMs are fighting over the left-overs. With Windows Phone they have a chance of fast growth. It's probably why Samsung is also keeping one foot in the WP pond, you never know when it becomes an ocean.

Especially with Nokia 'disappearing'. The brand name will be gone so there is room for another company to 'own' the iconic tile interface just like Samsung 'owns' the face of Android.

He stated: "Initially, we were hesitant [but] after clarification from Microsoft about industry support, we are willing to commit to [the] Windows platform again."

Sounds as though they were holding out for confirmation that MS would be offering them discounts, bonuses, and various similar incentives as "clarification". Which is fine by me as long as they keep building Windows Phones.

It depends on how MS handles the partner deals going forward. I think it'd be good for them to offer the base OS to them for free and gave a fee for the version that comes with the Nokia extras that are exclusive right now till MS buys them.