Even though Microsoft purchased Nokia’s device and services division, Huawei says it will continue to be a Windows Phone licensee and build new handsets running on Microsoft’s software. The statement comes directly from a Huawei executive speaking to reports as noted by the Wall Street Journal.
Richard Ren, in charge of Huawei Europe consumer unit said:
“We will continue to develop devices running Windows Phone, and launch more products. We remain one of Microsoft’s strategic partners.”
I’m surprised by the statement although I’m not sure Ren speaks for the top brass at Huawei. In fact, I suggested that nobody would bother licensing Windows Phone after the Nokia deal was announced. Nokia already accounts for the bulk of Windows Phone sales as handset makers have largely opted to use Android. Actions speak louder than words though, so we’ll see what — or if — Huawei brings anything new to the Windows Phone market.
What’s interesting is that Huawei is the first hardware partner I’ve heard to speak about Windows Phone since the news of Microsoft’s interest in Nokia. Contrast that to when Google bought Motorola in 2011.
When that deal was announced, Google already had positive statements from its then-most prominent Android partners. Microsoft had no such statements from its few remaining partners: We didn’t hear a peep out of Samsung, HTC or others mainly because their focus is Android anyway. Strangely, Huawei is a big Android device maker as well, so Ren’s statement strikes me as odd.
Perhaps Huawei figures its brand is stronger in its home country of China than Nokia’s or Microsoft’s. If so, it could find some benefit to supplementing Android handsets with Windows Phones. Let’s wait and see.