Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone is finally making a dent in the market. After initially launching in 2010 with an innovative new tile interface, replacing the legacy Windows Mobile platform, the software giant has now grown to become the No. 3 smartphone player.
There have been numerous reasons why Windows Phone is gaining relevance and momentum, but none are more important than strengthening relationships with OEMs and carriers. After all, for a software maker to sell its operating system, it needs someone to make the hardware and someone else to deliver the actual service.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is getting second chances at numerous domestic carriers. Windows Phone 7 didn’t fare very well on Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Wireless initially, but Big Red just recently launched a slew of Windows Phone 8 devices. Microsoft’s history with Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is similar, with the HTC Arrive running Windows Phone 7 being quietly discontinued last year. Sprint is now about to launch the HTC 8XT, its first Windows Phone 8 device, in a week.
On the OEM front, Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is easily Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s most important hardware partner. The Finnish company ships the majority of all Windows Phones in the world today, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from expanding its OEM partnerships. Thus far, Microsoft’s most prominent hardware partners are Nokia, Samsung, and HTC. Let’s add another major vendor: LG Electronics.
LG’s director of India Soon H. Kwon recently told Light Reading India that the South Korean company has a Windows Phone 8 device in the works. The smartphone is still in development at LG’s South Korean headquarters. LG continues to gauge the market opportunity and hasn’t specified any launch plans quite yet. Kwon reiterated LG’s commitment to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android — even though a separate LG exec said the company has no interest in building a new Nexus for Google — but is confident that Windows Phone will keep gaining momentum as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to put more weight behind it.