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Microsoft ramps up Windows Phone commitment with new partners

26 Feb 2014

Microsoft has shown its commitment to Windows Phone with new partners and relaxed requirements this week, according to industry analyst firm Ovum.

While Redmond is on the verge of becoming a Windows Phone manufacturer in its own right, the tech giant has revealed a new host of partners to the team.

In addition to current great partners HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung, at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona this week, the company announced nine new Windows Phone partners, including: Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo,LG, Longcheer and ZTE.

Broadly speaking, Microsoft sees it partners overall as the engine of growth for Windows, with Nick Dillon, senior analyst, Ovum commenting that the company has been keen to remind the industry that it remains committed to its Windows Phone platform, despite Nokia’s Android-based “X“ smartphones stealing the limelight this week.

"While certainly pragmatic, the Nokia X strategy must have been a hard one for the traditionally proud Microsoft to swallow," Dillon adds.

“The addition of nine new hardware partners is certainly a positive step, but the significance of a Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) for Windows Phone should not be understated.

"In theory the QRD will enable even companies with little knowledge of handset design and manufacturing to launch Windows Phone devices. Coupled with the relaxed hardware requirements, this move could help to push Windows Phone beyond its current, very Nokia-centric, existence.

“However, the last piece of the puzzle is the Windows Phone license fee, which has been a major issue for potential hardware partners in the past. Microsoft would not comment on whether it has reduced or plans to reduce the license fee, but Ovum believes this will be crucial if Microsoft wishes to drive wider usage of its platform.”

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