There has been plenty of talk lately about how Microsoft's move into hardware will affect its partnerships with HTC and Nokia, both of which manufacture phones running on the Windows mobile OS.
With rumors of a Surface brand Microsoft phone
coming to market in 2013, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop reiterated his commitment to the partnership with Microsoft and downplayed the early rumblings of a Surface phone.
While Nokia's first line of Windows phones underperformed, eroding the company's share in a rapidly evolving mobile market, the emergence and adoption of Windows Phone 8 still figures critically in future plans. Elop told interviewers that he has no indication Microsoft will build its own phone, but that even if it does, the product would be "a stimulant to the ecosystem," The Verge reports
Microsoft's partnership with Nokia includes the latter's mapping technology, which will benefit Nokia regardless of the device on which it is accessed. The decision to partner with Microsoft stemmed from a need to differentiate from other phone makers, such that a Nokia phone for Android would not have made sense.
It is also worth noting that Nokia has previously opted for exclusive deals with carriers to further this goal. The latest WP8 models, the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, will be available exclusively through AT&T
, at higher end prices.
It would appear that Microsoft's business partnerships in the mobile market might best be viewed in terms of the Windows 8 ecosystem as a whole, since the strength of the software will have to hold up well enough to support a significant future for Microsoft hardware.