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Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft-Built Smartphone Could Irritate Hardware Partners, Harm Nokia 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the upsetting-the-balance dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Rumors have circulated for weeks that Microsoft intends to release a smartphone of its own design and manufacture, embracing the strategy that drove Apple's iPhone to such enormous success over the past few years. While releasing a branded smartphone offers several potential benefits—look at the revenue and brand recognition Apple's earned as a result of the iPhone—such a strategy also carries significant risks for Microsoft. First, it could alienate smartphone partners such as Nokia, which would find itself competing against a high-end device backed by Microsoft's sizable marketing dollars. (Given the Finnish phone-maker's already perilous situation, that could prove ruinous.) But a branded smartphone could also convince hardware manufacturers that Microsoft really is 'all in' on building its own devices, which could lead to all sorts of drama."
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Microsoft-Built Smartphone Could Irritate Hardware Partners, Harm Nokia

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  • by jasnw (1913892) on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:52PM (#41888095)
    ... from the folks who brought you the Zune ... THE ZONE!
    • by Verdatum (1257828)
      It pleases me that this is the first comment.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of course the Zune was really a pretty decent piece of hardware...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Perhaps but the software SUCKED. God forbid you throw on a song with metadata containing a forward-slash / .

        Go ahead, try, I dare you.

        What's that? You can't read your tags for shit now?

        Nope, that's what I thought.Try it with a whole host of other non alpha/numeric characters common to the English language, you'll find that the software BLOWS.

      • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @12:19AM (#41890225) Journal

        that virtually nobody bought because it was years late to the party.

        Hmm, are there any parallels to the current situation?

    • by antek9 (305362) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:56PM (#41889261)
      You all too happily forget that Microsoft already had their own line of phones (yah, well, sorta...), the Kin! In order to re-invigorate that great tradition of (iirc) two weeks, the new MS phone should carry that name on to the future. May I suggest the KIN-KON, the DUN-KIN, and last but not least, the pumped up eight core cpu version, the PUMP-KIN (available in one color, and one color only).
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:52PM (#41888101) Homepage

    Last I checked you could buy an Android phone from Google (i.e. the Nexus phones) or from a 3rd party company.

    How is this any different?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because Google just sets a standard for what should be called a Nexus device and just endorses it. Nothing more, the OEM does most of the work. Microsoft seems to want to completely design and build the device themselves.

      • by kurkosdr (2378710)
        Exactly. The difference is that in the case of the Nexuses, the OEM keeps most profits, so Google acts as a subcontractor to them. OEMs like that. Instead, MS got Apple-envy and is trying to compete with their OEMs. Also, MS has the advantage that they "pay royalties to themselves" for the OS royalties of the Surface, so other OEMs are in a competitive disadvantage. Especially if the rumors of 60$ royalties for Windows RT are true. Is it any wonder that most OEMs are jumping ship from Windows RT? Same thing
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Nexus Phones are made by someone else which is different. (Different one each time).

      Seems less necessary for Microsoft though as they don't let OEM's break the OS completely.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:58PM (#41888175)

              Nexus One smartphone, manufactured by HTC, released January 2010
              Nexus S smartphone, manufactured by Samsung, released December 2010
              Galaxy Nexus smartphone, manufactured by Samsung, released in November 2011
              Nexus 7 tablet, manufactured by Asus, released July 2012
              Nexus Q, a media-streaming entertainment device, released June 2012
              Nexus 4 smartphone, manufactured by LG, released November 2012
              Nexus 10 tablet, manufactured by Samsung, released November 2012

      that different

    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:58PM (#41888177)
      Difference is that Android phones can actually differentiate themselves. Microsoft phones have very little latitude in hardware design, so there is next to no difference between phone A and phone B. So an Android phone Google is not going to be much like a Samsung Galaxy Note III, but a Microsoft phone will be a lot like a Nokia.
      • by Threni (635302) on Monday November 05, 2012 @08:35PM (#41888517)

        Yeah, it's kind of funny that Nokia didn't want to be just another Android phone manufacturer, but now they've become just another Microsoft phone manufacturer.

        Still, I'm sure Elop is just the man to get Nokia out of this sticky situation. Perhaps Microsoft will give him his old job back, once the job's been done....sorry, I mean once Nokia is beyond economic repair.

        • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@nospaM.yahoo.ca> on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:13PM (#41888867)

          This is not even a joke. Have you seen the new (cough) clone (cough) from HTC. If I were Nokia I would be furious. And there is Microsof thinking, "oh gee lets help HTC because Nokia is effing this up." No Nokia is not effing this up! Nokia is building kick ass phones. It is Microsoft that is screwing things up. The upgrade path from Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 was pure and unadulterated Microsoft eff up! When I heard about this I thought, "wow and we thought Android vendors had a sucky upgrade path."

        • Each manufacturer has its own walled garden on the MSFT app store. This gives some differentiation between otherwise identical software. In the case of Nokia their exclusive apps are the turn by turn satnav app 'Drive', the public transport app 'Transport' and the AR app 'City Lens' (amongst several other less notable offerings). Any one of these would be a reason to go for Nokia over HTC, Samsung or even MSFT and this is the reason I am putting up with their stupid decision to go exclusive with EE and wait
        • by DrXym (126579)

          Yeah, it's kind of funny that Nokia didn't want to be just another Android phone manufacturer, but now they've become just another Microsoft phone manufacturer.

          I don't get that either. Nokia has always prided itself on delivering an experience of software AND hardware. By sucking Microsoft's cock, they lost total control of the software and were severely constrained with their hardware too. Look at Nokia's new Windows phones vs HTCs new Windows phones. Practically indistinguishable. Nokia still have a few value ads like offline maps but it's not much.

          It wouldn't have been plain sailing with Android either but they could have skinned Android six ways to Sunday i

          • by 21mhz (443080)

            Nokia has always prided itself on delivering an experience of software AND hardware.

            I don't know what software you are talking about, but the software I've seen before Elop started shaking things over wasn't something to be much proud of. This is perhaps the biggest reason why did they end up in their current position.

      • by 21mhz (443080)

        Difference is that Android phones can actually differentiate themselves. Microsoft phones have very little latitude in hardware design, so there is next to no difference between phone A and phone B.

        A Lumia 920 says "bullshit" to that.

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          You forgot to say "Exclusively from AT&T"
          • by 21mhz (443080)

            What does that have to do with hardware differentiation?

            • by symbolset (646467) *
              Nothing. I was just pointing out that AT&T paid well to participate in your advertisement, and they're entitled to recognition in the prescribed form.
      • by BBF_BBF (812493) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @12:29AM (#41890283)

        Microsoft phones have very little latitude in hardware design, so there is next to no difference between phone A and phone B. So an Android phone Google is not going to be much like a Samsung Galaxy Note III, but a Microsoft phone will be a lot like a Nokia.

        Actually Windows Phones have very little lattitude in minimum and maximum tech specs of screens, no variation on number of hard buttons, nor processors. There are minimum memory requirements as well. Hardware in terms of style, is purely up to the manufacturer.

        However, I think that the fear is that Microsoft will put out a phone with a *more powerful* processor and/or a *higher resolution* display than they allow the other Windows Phone licensees to, thus ensuring that no OEM can match Microsoft's top-of-the-line phone.

        • by 21mhz (443080)

          However, I think that the fear is that Microsoft will put out a phone with a *more powerful* processor and/or a *higher resolution* display than they allow the other Windows Phone licensees to, thus ensuring that no OEM can match Microsoft's top-of-the-line phone.

          Moar, highar. Meh.
          I don't think Nokia is that into spec chasers' stupid money. They seem to differentiate on style, build quality, camera, and exclusive apps, none of which is impossible with the specs they can get now. The screen on the Lumia 920 is more than adequate, and I haven't heard complaints about the speed, either.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      I guess you could try reading the article for their reasons and how most of them don't apply to Google. But that would be effort.

    • by SQLGuru (980662)

      I would expect Microsoft to partner with Nokia on making the device (i.e. how Google partnered with Asus for the Nexus 7). It will be Microsoft designed and branded with Nokia doing the manufacturing. Nokia gets a cut of the Nokia branded devices as well as the MS branded ones. Won't hurt the partnership and still lets MS have their own phone.

    • Indeed, how is one company designing, making, and selling a phone, different from another company co-designing, subcontracting the manufacture, and selling another phone ? How ?

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Nexus phones (and tablets) to me tend to resemble reference designs. They're good devices but they also have obvious shortcomings which I suspect are left intentionally for other device manufacturers to exploit.
  • by msauve (701917) on Monday November 05, 2012 @07:55PM (#41888137)
    they wouldn't have to pay for full color RGB displays, since a blue screen would be good enough.
  • While it may be a net loss for Nokia (they have no one but themselves to blame), it will be good for consumers. Consumers need a third ecosystem, especially since WebOS is dead and BB10 looks uncertain. From what I have read, it seems like Microsoft might try out Chinese market first before launching in USA

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      No, it looks quite certain... to fail.

    • > While it may be a net loss for Nokia (they have no one but themselves to blame), it will be good for consumers. Consumers need a third ecosystem, especially since WebOS is dead and BB10 looks uncertain. From what I have read, it seems like Microsoft might try out Chinese market first before launching in USA

      It does not work out like that... read about "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish". If History is any good as reference, M$ promotes a certain kind of consolidation that leaves markets with less choice -- us

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Monday November 05, 2012 @08:22PM (#41888381)

      While it may be a net loss for Nokia (they have no one but themselves to blame), it will be good for consumers. Consumers need a third ecosystem, especially since WebOS is dead and BB10 looks uncertain. From what I have read, it seems like Microsoft might try out Chinese market first before launching in USA

      That is the bingo word of the month "Ecosystem"; Windows do not have an ecosystem, and customers do not need one. They need compatibility and standards so their devices work with each other, but not an ecosystem. Ecosystem is just a bullshit word introduced by Microsoft shills because of the massive failure of Microsoft mobile, and are trying to utilise their desktop monopoly where it is of no value.

      Oh and FYI Windows Phone still is fifth https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23771812 [idc.com] behind Symbian and RIM. With no indication that the market wants of desires a player outside iOS and Android. The sad fact is Microsoft is a failure in Chinese market, as well as everywhere else. The figures are in Nokia's quarterly reports, but an overall market share of 2% says it all.

      • by Bongo (13261)

        Ecosystems... there's the people who are looking for distributed computing (apps, clouds, integration, media, etc.)
        Then there's people who basically want a gadget that takes photos, does Facebook, and a few games.

        Both types of customers seem to do well with Apple, so it is hard to say which is biggest. Apple has an ecosystem, but does it matter in the long run? The Apple Store is just too packed for me to believe they are all computing heads wanting to sync their calendars and note collections.

        Android I dar

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Consumers need a third ecosystem

      Why?

      • for same reason we need a third party and third major desktop OS. a duopoly of control of anything is bad it encourages non conformance to standards and is bad for consumers. a third option alway insures that two "competitors" cant simply collude to screw the consumers because they will simply flee to the third option, also it breaks strong partisan ship that we can see in American politics where nothing changes because we only have two options that refuse to compromise and have extreme NIH syndrome.

        that al

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Windows Phone is still way behind BlackBerry in market share, which is saying something. If you want to back an "I'm not dead yet" tech giant, you might as well back RIM as much as you'd back MS. I wouldn't put smart money on either of them myself though.

      • by simpz (978228)
        Funny how MS and phone vendors etc go on about the need for a third ecosystem. But on the desktop lots of people claim there is only room for 2 ecosystems, and no room for Linux.
  • Was/is to make good products. So microsoft is going to do a 180 now?

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Monday November 05, 2012 @08:31PM (#41888455)

      Was/is to make good products. So microsoft is going to do a 180 now?

      No its really not. Apples [during Jobs] greatest success comes from getting users to spent money on high margin electronics; by being seen as first to market; with a compelling product, and marketing the hell out of it. Following apple into a mature market with a me too product is well the what Apple [post jobs] did with the iPad mini, only Microsoft doesn't have the same set of devoted followers, and those it neglected in the pursuit of being an electronics company.

      • by Swampash (1131503)

        Yes, of course, because nobody used mobile phones before 2007. When iPhone was launched there were literally no other mobile phones in the world.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by thammoud (193905)

          There was no phone that even came close to the capabilities of the iPhone. Having said that, I am moving over to Android as Apple is losing its innovation edge. I really dislike the closed eco system. Works for a lot of people but not for me. Not anymore.

          • by toopok4k3 (809683)

            This is blatantly wrong. iPhone was the device that lacked a lot of HW capabilities compared to other manufacturers. The brilliance of iPhone was in the fact that these HW capabilities stopped mattering. Why? Because everyone could build a mobile phone with a camera, GPS, fm radio, wifi, mobile hotspot, etc... Apple focused on software. They got it right with a lot easier to use touchscreen. Their APIs were also miles ahead of the competitors offerings in the ease of use apartment. You propably don't know h

  • I finally figured out what's happening with these slashwhatever articles.

    They've realized that since nobody reads TFA anyway, they can just post them and use the comments section to convince advertisers that slashwhatever is a worthwhile investment!

    I can't believe I didn't see this before.

    • Also:

      Conclusion: Building its own Windows Phone smartphone might prove beneficial for Microsoft’s bottom line and prestige, but it could negatively affect its current partnerships.

      Gee, nobody has said anything like that before - some truly original stuff here!

  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Monday November 05, 2012 @08:11PM (#41888309)

    Microsoft have already walked away from Nokia, and threw them under the bus with Windows 8, they are making no pretence that Nokia are old news, and if anything are flirtying with HTC. The fact that they will abandon both [I don't think Samsung will lose any sleep] is sadly predictable. LG is profitable again after dumping windows and moving to Android exclusively, maybe they learnt something :).

    What is terrifying is Nokia ignoring the original stupidity of choosing windows...exclusively seem to have no back up plan, and are acting like they have no option. They have cut too many people, and moved manufacturing to china, and seem to be moving into the Patent trolling with Microsoft...but nothing else.

    Looks like Android is going to grab even more market share before this sorry tale is over.

  • I understand the Surface, as many manufacturers had that dream of making The Next iPad Killer(tm) (which, incidentally, never seemed to materialized, until Amazon and Google stepped up, and even then, it's still all wobbly and transparent around the edges) but phones?

    As of right now, the amount of handsets Windows Phone platform sends is small. So, while losing that tiny percentage might be irritating, I don't see how it would really anger partners. Aside from Nokia that was being systematically destroyed e

  • by Baby Duck (176251) on Monday November 05, 2012 @08:25PM (#41888399) Homepage
    I first read that headline as ... Smartphone Could IRRADIATE Hardware Partners ... Technically, they already do, but I figured some additional orders of magnitude were thrown in with a headline like that!
  • I think Microsoft is just too little, too late, too lazy to keep up and they won't have more than a minor impact. App developers would have to be working overtime to support it and I don't hear anything about that occurring.

  • The other device makers really can't complain here from what I see. MS is starting to make their own products because quite frankly, the products made by others have been mediocre at best. They have had many years to pick up their game but none of them have. MS really does owe them nothing and if MS can make a better device themselves then they most definitely should because the others quite clearly can't.

    I find it very interesting that Software companies (Apple, Google, MS, Amazon) have all taken to har

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      "MS is starting to make their own products because quite frankly, the products made by others have been mediocre at best."

      What bullshit. The Lumia range had the looks, but where limited by Microsofts control over hardware...yes you read that right. It was a recipe for disaster. Single core in 2012 for WTF, but it wasn't the hardware that stopped users buying the range as the success of the N9 shows, or that hybrid symbian Chinese device shows, people just didn't want windows. I would have bought one at its

      • Well I was talking generally not absolutely. But either way. MS must believe they can do a fair bit better if they are deciding to go it themselves. They seem to have done not too badly with the Surface so I'm actually keen to see what they pull off with a phone.

        • MS must believe they can do a fair bit better if they are deciding to go it themselves.

          You mean like they did with ZUNE???

          TOTAL FAIL

    • because quite frankly, the products made by others have been mediocre at best.

      WHAT A LAUGH! What Microsoft hardware has EVER been better than "mediocre"??? Keyboards and mice made by other companies? Overheating Xboxes??? Zunes that crash???

      I find it very interesting that Software companies (Apple

      APPLE is a software company??? They make telephones and MP3 players and media centers! Oh and computers too!

      Google

      GOOGLE is manufacturing hardware??? SINCE WHEN???

      This is a perfect example of skills learnt in one area translating very elegantly into another.

      Your comment is a perfect example of COMPLETE IGNORANCE.

      • by evafan76 (2527608)

        GOOGLE is manufacturing hardware??? SINCE WHEN???

        They own Motorola Mobility, who does make Hardware.

        APPLE is a software company???

        "The big secret about Apple is that Apple views itself as a Software Company"-Steve Jobs

        (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEeyaAUCyZs [youtube.com])

        Your comment is a perfect example of COMPLETE IGNORANCE

        4/10. See me after class.

  • Hard rice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mspohr (589790) on Monday November 05, 2012 @08:47PM (#41888615)

    Interesting comment from Taiwan maker Acer about Microsoft's going into hardware competition:
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57545024-75/acer-warns-microsoft-that-hardware-is-like-hard-rice/ [cnet.com]

    I like the phrase they used: "like eating hard rice"

    Clearly, the hardware manufacturers who have been subservient to Microsoft are looking at a new reality and will have to decide what to support.
    This may give them the motivation to move to Android for phones and tablets and ignore Microsoft's offerings.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:15PM (#41888887) Homepage

    what other hardware has MS been successful with. None that I know off. They came in with XBox just in time to catch the Dreamcasts death now the the iPhone and Android juggernauts its not going to happen. Plus MS hardware seems to have the mom and dad in sweat pants image instead of the cool kid on the block.

    • by Inda (580031)
      I've loved every single one of the two MS mouses I've owned. The one on my desk now is almost ten years old and still running fine.

      Microsoft: king of the rodents.
      • Exactly what I came to say. I still use on a daily basis the original Microsoft IntelliMouse on my Windows gaming machine. I have a couple of other Microsoft mice, also. I think I paid $95 for the IntelliMouse - this is when LED mice first came out. It was/is worth every penny.

  • by kroyd (29866) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:50PM (#41889215)
    I'm sure lots of people here remembers the previous Microsoft produced phone, the Microsoft Kin [wikipedia.org] series of phones. After all, they lasted all, oh, 4 weeks? 40 days? Something like that.

    There is probably a lot of "slack" in the Windows 8 phone pricing as well - if the Windows RT "OEM license fee" is 80-95$ [extremetech.com], the Phone OS OEM price can't be far off. I'm sure Nokia, HTC and Samsung won't mind if they've got to add an extra 80$ in cost for each phone they produce which Microsoft doesn't have to worry about..

  • Target still foot.
  • ... rounded corners?

    Apple will sue!

  • Microsoft's "partners" have been directly competing with Microsoft for years using Linux and Android. HP was just made a card-carrying Linux foundation member. The only partner to be loyal to Microsoft is Nokia. If I were MS I would release a Surface phone but use Nokia to actually get it manufactured.
  • by donweel (304991) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @12:56AM (#41890397)

    It's not like they have not done it before. They built OS2 for IBM then did a 180 and made a competing product in parallel called windows. The then turned their back on IBM when they where in a position to do so. OS2 was reduced to a cult following.

    • by ikaruga (2725453)
      Can't agree with this. Back then MS was working for another company and then decided to make their own product. Nowadays MS is making other companies work for them and now is trying to ditch them. The direction money is flowing around MS is the opposite for each case.
  • Nokia can probably be had for relative peanuts now that their trojan Elop has done his best to [strike]wreck[/strike] stabilize the company, and that will also give them access to all the cross licensing agreements that are present in the telecoms market. As a bonus, I don't think Nokia have got into many lawsuits...

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:47AM (#41891315) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft fucks over partner. News at... Seriously? If this comes unexpected to you, you must have joined /. - or, indeed, this plant - very recently. If I recall correctly, ever since Nokia got put in chains, the question asked here was not if, but when this would happen.

    Lesson: If you get in bed with Microsoft, you are a whore. And whores get screwed.

  • "[Microsoft] is the fox that takes you across the river and then eats you."

    - Pete Peterson, former WordPerfect executive

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