Samsung mulling Windows Phone devices
Samsung source says Windows Phone based Samsung phones could be seen this year
Samsung is considering making mobile phones based on the Windows Phone OS, according to a report in the Korea Times.
The report cited an unnamed Samsung official as saying that Samsung has trialled Microsoft's mobile OS with a view to reducing its reliance on the Android operating system.
"Samsung has run pilot programs on the stability of Windows 8.1 software on devices," a Samsung official told The Korea Times. "It is interested in promoting Windows mobiles. By releasing a Windows mobile, Samsung could manage its phone business in the low-, mid-, to premium-end sectors."
Samsung's efforts to develop non-Android devices have not been widely successful. It has postponed the launch of the ZEQ 9000 smartphone, which was based on the Linux-based Tizen OS. The Tizen OS has also not attracted much attention from app developers.
A possible deal with Microsoft would mean that Samsung could access the Windows mobile eco-system, which is the third most popular worldwide, and the only real alternative to Google's Android. Microsoft would also gain considerably from Samsung promoting and producing Windows Phone devices.
"Microsoft knows Samsung has indisputable strengths in marketing and understands that it will be helpful if it promotes Windows mobiles," the official said. "Samsung knows this. The two companies are still trying to find common ground
The main barrier to Samsung adopting Windows Phone is ongoing litigation between the two companies. Although Microsoft now gives away Windows Phone for free, Samsung still owes $1 billion in licence fees to Microsoft, due to patents that Microsoft holds related to Google Android. Samsung had previously paid these royalties to Microsoft, but stopped when the latter bought Nokia, bringing it into competition with Samsung. The Korean company is also still appealing to regulators to overturn the Nokia deal, even though it has completed.
The Samsung official said it might be possible that Samsung devices running Microsoft's OS could be seen in 2015: "If the companies settle their litigation, then Samsung will manufacture handsets powered by the Microsoft-developed mobile platform. The timing could be the third quarter of this year at the earliest."