So what happens if the Nokia Lumia 920 turns out to be a big dud? Bloomberg reports, Microsoft is not one to be worried as reports are swirling that the tech giant, which partnered with Nokia for the Lumia Windows 8 flagship phone, is looking towards building its own hardware in case partnerships with phone makers fail. The company is currently working with Nokia and HTC to market the Windows Phone 8 OS.
Recently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced Windows 8, which is available to the latest Nokia Lumia line and the HTC 8X and HTC 8S. Both the much-awaited Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X have just hit retailers’ shelves the first week of November. With top-of-the-line specs, the Nokia Lumia has been touted by CNET as “the most powerful, feature-rich Windows phone available.” The phone is sharing the top Windows Phone 8 spot with HTC 8X. Vlav Slavov from the Verge says that the 8x trumps the iPhone, Galaxy Note and even the Nokia Lumia 920. He adds, “The more I used the 8X, the more I enjoyed using it.”
However, it still remains to be seen if business phone users and the general public will be as impressed as the tech reviewers are. Sources point out that Microsoft did not hesitate in building its own tablet, the Surface, after partners like Dell and Hewlett-Packard seemed unable to go against Apple’s iPad. This observation is consistent with a Wall Street Journal report pronouncing that Microsoft is already testing its own smartphone design with component suppliers in Asia. Sources who declined to be named say that smartphone currently being tested has a 4- to 5-inch screen. The iPhone, for comparison, has a 4-inch screen, while the Samsung Galaxy S III has a 4.8 inch screen. In an interview with the WSJ, Ballmer declined to comment about the news.
Windows Phones haven’t sold well. To date, the Windows Phone OS only holds 2 percent global smartphone market share according to the IDC. Android currently dominates the list with 75 percent market share, up from 57.5 percent in the same quarter the previous year. The good news is that Windows Phone 8 OS is also the fastest growing OS, growing 140 percent from Q3 of 2011. These numbers do not currently reflect devices running Windows Phone 8, so it remains to be seen how Windows Phones will fare with the release of the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. If ever the handset-makers fall short of expectations, making its own hardware seems to be a viable option for Microsoft.
Spokespersons from both Nokia and HTC have both declined to comment on the latest news. If proved to be true, this would be a shift of strategy for Microsoft. Greg Sullivan, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, had mentioned in an InformationWeek interview last July that the company was not planning to make its own phones, saying that, “We have a strong ecosystem of partners that we are very satisfied with.” However, Ballmer’s annual letter to shareholders last October highlighted the possibility of Microsoft building more hardware. In interviews, he also declines ruling out the possibility of the company making its own a phone.
So far, sources say that Ballmer has been pleased with the current Windows Phone 8 devices. Ballmer’s own phone is the new HTC 8X.