Microsoft's Nokia purchase left many pondering the future of third-party Windows Phone devices, but a new report suggests the company is peering over its walls to transform Android into a Trojan horse of sorts.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft's newly crowned OS chief, has asked HTC to include Windows Phone as a "second option" on its Android handsets, Bloomberg reports. To sweeten the pot, Microsoft allegedly offered to "cut or eliminate" its usual licensing fee.
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Could you dual-boot between the two? Would you have to pick a primary OS up front? The report says the technical details aren't concrete given the preliminary nature of the talks, but one thing's for certain: The tag-team would definitely be an unprecedented move. And if any companies need to shake up the status quo, it's HTC and Microsoft.
Reaching for glory
After rising rapidly during Android's early days, HTC has since been steamrolled by the Samsung-Apple tandem, hemorrhaging money, market share, and executives alike despite the HTC One's utter awesomeness. The company has slipped out of the top 10 phone vendors, according to ABI Research, shipping just 6.63 million phones in the second quarter.
Windows Phone, meanwhile, has claimed third place in smartphone OS war, but that has more to do with BlackBerry's slow death than any particular uptake on Microsoft's part. Windows Phone's slice of the global market share pie sits under 4 percent by Gartner's latest count, and the vast majority of those devices are made by Nokia -- soon to be MicroKia -- itself.
Microsoft managed to move nearly 7.5 million Windows Phones last quarter, Gartner says, so reaching a deal with HTC could help the company nearly double its reach. Meanwhile, a phone with two operating systems would definitely be a unique selling point for HTC -- though "unique" doesn't always mean "good," and I'm not sure the masses are clamoring for smartphones with multiple user interfaces.
Still, the fact that Microsoft could even be considering giving away Windows Phone licenses shows that the "Phones are the key to everything" ethos the company rolled out in the wake of the Nokia deal is more than mere lip service. And hey -- if the deal falls through, Microsoft can just keep collecting the Android licensing fees it's collecting from virtually every major phone manufacturer, including HTC.