Sony Considering Windows Phone: Report
Japanese device maker Sony may be getting ready to offer a Windows Phone as Microsoft waits for its deal to take over Nokia hardware business to close.Microsoft may have scored another major smartphone partner, Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony. According a report in The Information, Sony may be gearing up to offer a Windows Phone this year. Amir Efrati wrote on Dec. 31 that the company "whose mobile unit has exclusively made smartphones powered by Google's Android software for nearly four years, has considered launching a Windows phone as soon as mid-2014, according to a person who was involved in the talks and a person briefed about the device." Efrati noted that the development comes in the wake of efforts by Microsoft to "attract other partners such as China-based ZT" to its smartphone operating system. In a push to expand the Windows Phone hardware ecosystem, Microsoft "has boosted incentives for potential Windows Phone handset makers, including slashing the software licensing fees it would charge them." Despite some encouraging growth in some markets like South America, Windows Phone trails well behind Google' Android and Apple's iOS mobile platforms. Android dominated the smartphone market during the third quarter of 2013. In that quarter, Google's mobile platform accounted for 81 percent of smartphone shipments, a total of 211.6 million smartphones, according to IT market research firm IDC.
Meanwhile Microsoft, with a boost from Nokia's Lumia smartphone line, helped Windows Phone achieve year-over-year growth of 156 percent. The platform nonetheless faces a daunting challenge in narrowing the gap with Android. Windows Phone comprises less than 5 percent of the market, said IDC.