back to article Microsoft: no plans to make own phones

Microsoft has categorically denied it plans to enter the smartphone hardware business. It remains satisfied, it insisted, with its current manufacturing partners. Following the announcement of Microsoft Surface, the company's own-brand entry into the tablet market, speculation has been rife that it make the obvious next step …


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  1. EddieD

    I doubt Nokia has any long term plans

    Given that Microsoft with their announcement of no meaningful upgrades to current phones, have guaranteed that they Nokia will sell very few phones between now and the launch (if it happens) of the Windows8 phones, I can't help but wonder if there will be any Nokia to build phones for them soon.

    1. Ramazan

      Re: I doubt Nokia has any long term plans

      "Microsoft remains satisfied with its current manufacturing partners."

      I'm starting to suspect Microsoft in necrophilia...

  2. Big_Ted

    "With faith lost in HTC's ability to sell slates, Redmond decided to take matters into its own hands. A process it obviously feels unnecessary in the smartphone domain"

    Well why should they, its been such a success with millions of units shipped....

    OK they are piled up in warehouses but at least they shipped, plus with phone makers willing to throw money at it why should MS bother.

    On tablets there are none yet running windows 8 so MS have set the bar high with its vapourware tablet. Buyers will expect a surface like machine.....

  3. Jim Coleman


    Well I bought an HTC Titan late last year so am looking for a phone upgrade (I upgrade every year as I'm not on a contract) - I can wait a couple more months for Nokia's flagship Windows Phone 8 device (Lumia 900 series, presumably), it looks like it will be a bit of a barmstormer. And yeah I'll probably get a Surface, and an XBox 720 next year. I do like the idea of a unified UI across all devices. Makes sense to me. Can't speak for everyone else, of course. Perhaps Halo will come to WP8 together with support for the XBox controller, now that would be awesome sauce.

    And even though this post es filled with happiness and light, I expect it to get downvoted because it is pro-MS. Ah well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nokia

      "I expect it to get downvoted"

      Happy to oblige!

      1. Jim Coleman

        Re: Nokia

        Favour returned!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. EddieD

      Re: Nokia

      The 900 is an 800 with a bigger battery, extra camera, "4G" support and very little else - it and its friends are dead, 7.8 is the best they will do, the new phones will be new architecture. And will probably only ever go to Win 8.8, and you'll need a new phone for Win9...

      Anyone who buys a Windows phone in the next 9 months or so will either be in a dead end, or early adopters trap, and by the time Win8 is stable and feature will be cancelled, Win9 will be announced, with no upgrade path for all the suckers who didn't learn from history.

      Fool me once, etc...

      (I have Lumia 800, for the record, and it's a good phone. It's also going to be obselete, very, very soon)

      1. Jim Coleman

        Re: Nokia

        I really think you are wrong. Nokia's next Lumia 900-series phone (910 maybe?) will run WP8. The reason for the hardware upgrade this time around (wasn't necessary for the 7 to 7.5 to 7.8 upgrades) is mostly the change in Kernel to match the desktop. Now that desktop and phone carry the same kernel, there's no need to force hardware upgrades further down the line, any more than anyone's forced to upgrade their PC when a new version of Windows comes out. Plus, let's be honest here, many Android phones never receive the latest version, ICS isn't coming to every phone, so Android users often find themselves left out in the cold as well. iPhone....well quite often new features are denied to older models, Siri being one. To berate MS for new hardware requirements without rattling the sabre at the competition is hypocritical.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: Nokia

          Oh Jim, so blindly optimistic.

          Suppose Nokia do throw out a WP8 capable N9xx, that doesn't make the existing ones WP8 capable. Also the new multicore *requirement* means current WP7 devices could never perform to the specified level, even if Microsoft choose to build a suitable kernel for them. Make no mistake, Microsoft went multicore for a reason (the incessant complaints about poor multitasking) and aren't going to let 2million Lumia owners mess they're shiny new multitasking improvements up.

          BTW with very few exceptions Android apps carry on working as you upgrade OS, carry on working on older OSes and don't need some magical cloud recompilation to achieve it. Looking at the deployed device stats I might drop Android 1.5 support soon. Or probably won't because I had to avoid just 1 non-essential feature to maintain backward compatibility across all those versions.

          WP7 devices have been orphaned, the OS stack they were built on has been obsoleted because its convenient for Microsoft. Eventually you'll believe it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nokia

          @Jim Coleman

          You make some perfectly valid comments. It's incredible that so many people are blinkered iSheep or have been borged by Androids.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nokia

          Yes, because the desktop kernel only runs on multi-core, doesn't it. Um...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nokia

        Absolutely spot on.

        The Lumia 800 is a brilliant piece of hardware let down by an average OS. I quite liked Windows Phone 7.5 but it feels incomplete and has quite a few annoying niggles.

        1. Robert Forsyth

          Re: Nokia

          The electronics are NOT Nokia's, the case may be.

          Nokia's processor of choice: TI OMAP

          Microsoft's choice: Qualcomm Scorpion

          Not that either SoC is bad, different graphics and DSP, though.

      3. Mint Sauce

        Re: Nokia

        Anyone who buys a Windows phone in the next 9 months or so will either be in a dead end, or early adopters trap,

        Only if you care about having the latest shiny shiny. The lumias are pretty good phones - I'm happy enough with my 710. I had my previous PalmOS phone for 4 years and that was obsolete when I got it. So what? It did what I needed at the time.

        I'm not bothered that the 710 won't get the latest whizz-bang features. It has niggles, sure. But then so did every iPhone/Blackberry/Android/etc device I ever looked at. *shrugs*

        Although..... Zune. That blows goats for sure. I think Microsoft saw early versions of iTunes for Windows and thought: "aha! We can do *far* worse than that!" ;-)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nokia

        It's only going to be as obsolete as you want it to be. Sheep are still buying old iPhone 3s and early 4s. Nothing is really obsolete that on a rolling 3 years basis. It might not be the newest, but it's far from obsolete. Obviously the marketing department has got you hook, line and sinker.

        1. Neil 7

          Re: Nokia

          Apple never dumped their preferred high performance programming framework in favour of something that won't run on their older devices.

          Microsoft has done just that - XNA has failed and is now dead, with C/C++ the preferred option for high performance on WP8 but C/C++ isn't allowed to run on WP7.x devices. All those games companies will jump at the chance of ignoring the shit that is XNA and instead port their game engines to WP8 using C/C++, leaving WP7.x owners with even fewer options. Expect to see C/C++ used to overcome other failings in Silverlight, and the process of obsolescence for WP7.x will be complete.

          This is pretty much a complete platform break for Windows Phone - if you think developers are going to continue supporting two completely different operating systems in order to target the handful of WP7.x owners you're bonkers.

        2. Neil 7

          Re: Nokia

          @Frank: Apple never obsoleted devices that are still on sale (and in the case of the Lumia 900, have only just gone on sale) - they waited at least 18 months to two years before dropping OS support.. BIG difference to what Microsoft has just done.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Nokia

      > I do like the idea of a unified UI across all devices.

      Whereas I like the idea of using a different UI depending upon whether I'm using a mouse and keyboard, my fingers, or a joypad.

    4. Philip Lewis
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nokia

      Couldn't let a request for a down vote pass by, so here you go, one more!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They may not have to...

    Perhaps this is MS simply playing with words. I simply can't believe that they have no designs on Nokia, having (a) got a former employee in at the top (who promptly defenestrated N's own phone OSes and switched to an unfinished MS product before N had suitable devices ready), and (b) effectively made N's first Windows Phones obsolete with the announcement of WP8. Even if you don't believe in the sabotage theory (intentional or not), you have to admit that appearances doesn't exactly discourage the suspicion.

    Moreover, even if MS doesn't buy outright what will remain of Nokia within a year or two, perhaps they could still take a controlling interest whilst still leaving N an outward shell of a company - thus leaving MS able to claim that "they aren't making their own phones" and being letter-of-the-law correct.

    Whatever mistakes and mis-steps Nokia made in the past, it's sad to see a once-great company reduced to a tottering shell, with the vultures watching for it to take its final fall.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: They may not have to...

      They don't need to make their own phones... They pretty much have Nokia owned and bent over the kitchen table.

      Nokia have burnt and sunk all their other boats and sacked anyone that know another way. So they are the MS "premium partner" until death do they part. Why would MS need to make their own phone? Nokia will do whatever they say (they have to for survival), and Nokia might still even remember something about building phones too (bonus).

    2. Robert Forsyth

      Re: They may not have to...

      I think a reasonable theory, not mine I might add.

      Nokia had Symbian and were moving to Linux, Microsoft took the opportunity to kill that. Microsoft already have to fight Unix and Linux (in Apple and Google).

  5. JDX Gold badge

    Makes sense

    Many companies are already good at making great phones. But only Apple has shown form in making tablets and they're not going to get on the W8 route :)

    1. dogged

      Re: Makes sense

      Disagree. Samsung's tablet hardware is nice and Asus also make a cracking tablet. Both are going down the W8 route, presumably because (as El Reg keeps telling us), the Android route was a dead end in terms of sales and profits.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Makes sense

        HP's tablet wasn't bad before they killed it.

        1. Thomas 4

          Re: Makes sense

          HP hasn't killed their tablet because "HP is totally commited to the future of WebOS."

          I'm sure if I say it enough times I might actually believe it.

        2. Richard Plinston

          Re: HP's killing fields

          The question arises as to _who_ killed HP's WebOS.

          When Netbooks could not run Vista they could use Linux without being threatened by removal of MS's 'loyalty' discounts across _all_ products. MS fixed that by reviving XP just for those devices.

          ARM tablets, such as HP's WebOS ones, had a similar dispensation until MS decided that it could do a 'Windows on ARM', at which point 'loyal' customers (OEMs) would of course want to discard any 'inferior' OS and make tablets with the only one and true OS: WOA/Windows RT.

          MS will be rattling discount sabres at Samsung and ASUS.

          1. Mikel

            Re: HP's killing fields

            Asus might listen. Samsung doesn't make enough profits on Windows PCs to care. They make more profits on Android phones alone than the profits of the entire Windows PC OEM market taken as a group.

          2. dogged

            Re: HP's killing fields

            I think Richard Plinston needs a tinfoil hat icon.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Makes sense

        >the Android route was a dead end in terms of sales and profits.

        That isn't too important to the people making Android hardware.

        1. dogged

          Re: Makes sense

          >>the Android route was a dead end in terms of sales and profits.

          >That isn't too important to the people making Android hardware.

          uh... are you suggesting that making Android hardware somehow removes the need to make sales and profits?

          If so, please explain. Because that's not a business model I'm familiar with.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Makes sense

      Actually, the Samsung-made tablets are pretty splendid, and the Asus ones aren't bad (when the hootering Wifi works :D).

      Making and selling aren't the same thing, mind.

  6. Joseph Lord

    'No plans' isn't much of a commitment

    I have no plans for dinner tonight but I'll probably still eat something.

    I don't think Microsoft has plans to enter the portable media player market when they were pushing PlaysForSure but that didn't stop them trying to sell the Zune.

    Also note that Microsoft don't claim to have entered the tablet market but have introduced a new surface category so that they can always introduce a mini surface with audio capabilities that just so happens to be able to make and receive phone calls.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: 'No plans' isn't much of a commitment

      And before the Zune, WinXP MCE and MS's attempt licence Media Centre to PMP hardware makers. Toshiba bit, and released the Gigbeat. What is it with Tosh and MS? They released a 7" WinCE tablet, too.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: 'No plans' isn't much of a commitment

        * that's 'Gigabeat', sorry for typo.

  7. Wang N Staines

    No Plans

    Thank f*ck for that. Phew!!!

  8. Paul Shirley

    did everyone forget the Microsoft Kin?

    Microsoft have already tried launching a phone, the Kin. Remaindered 3 months after launch in the states with rumours of sales as low as 500 units.

    Microsoft most certainly will remember that fiasco. Those responsible are unlikely to have any influence inside Microsoft. I doubt there's much stomach for trying again in the near future. In 18 months time when Win8/WP8 aren't shifting as fast as expected maybe, if only because there won't be any viable partner left to shaft.

  9. Andus McCoatover

    I keep saying it. Why doesn't anyone get it yet? It's only a small word.


    1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: I keep saying it. Why doesn't anyone get it yet? It's only a small word.

      Yes I remember Sendo....

      Didn't MS do something with their (Sendo's ) intellectual property involving another manufacturer? Hmm, who were they....H*C seems to ring a bell...

  10. Robby-O

    Have an 800

    I am trialing for the past fw weeks the Nokia Lumia 800. Previous (smart) handsets are iPhones 3, 3g and 4 and an android.

    The WinPhone is preferable to me. It urks me to say it, having been thruogh the horror of programming for older microsoft mobile devices (PPC's etc) but they actually got this system right.

    As for the 900 being an 800 with better camera and battery life, that's exactly what it SHOULD be because those are the 2 issues I have with the device.

    The 2 OS issus I also have, in fairness are:

    1st: The lack of tethering which I believe will come in future release of the OS.

    2nd: I would like more than one screen of tiles. This is monor for me because I don't have dozens of games and fart apps on my phone, but could be an issue in the wider market.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have an 800

      You should note that liking any Microsoft product to any degree will get you downvoted to oblivion on the Register forums.

    2. GrantB

      Re: Have an 800

      ok, so assuming you really did have a iPhone 4 and are now considering an 800 (with a camera, battery life, display and cpu which is no better than the iPhone, and certainly worse than some other Android phones), you seem to have overloooked the significance of those issues:

      1) "... will come in future release of the OS". you do know that Windows Phone 7 is a dead OS right? MS have promised one more mostly cosmetic update, (7.8) then you are left an OS that defunct as PalmOS or Symbian

      2) "... don't have dozens of games and fart apps" . More to the point, is that you never will have many of the best games and useful apps avaliable for mainstream mobiles. The entire Nokia smartphone range currently runs WP7.x which wont run W8 software. No point for developers to release a version of any new apps for an obsolete OS with a 2% market share like WP7, so given the limited selection of decent apps currently, this is only likely to get worse quickly.

      Funny thing about the fart apps joke, is that it falls really flat when you seeing people using a useful app on iOS or Android and find you have nothing like it on you mobile of choice. The iPhone when released only had web apps, and I would argue that it was the opening of the app store in iTunes that really defined the modern smartphone. It not the shear numbers of apps in any store, is the much smaller number of polished, mature and useful/ fun apps on iTunes/Google Store that makes these platforms

      1. Robby-O

        Re: Have an 800

        Yep, you assume correctly. My iPhone 4 is sitting in my top drawer as I write this. Not trolling.

        1) Yep, great point. I can't believe MS would be so silly as to do this. Normally they're the one that understands backwards compatability. iOS turned my iPhone3 into a paper weight at one point, but it sure wasn't the first major revision! If I had the device on a contract i'd be significantly more upset about that.

        2) I'm not being facetious, it's just that I use my smart phone primarily for calls, sms, email, calendar, exchange address book sync and my social media feeds. In THOSE respects, I find the MS device preferable. Like I said, this is how I use the device and I am not everyone. I currently have two apps I use regularly. One uses the flash as a torch (soooo useful) and the other is Nokia Drive. The big plus of Drive is that it caches the maps rather than rely on active 3g. That's a handy (if sad) boon where I live.

  11. Andus McCoatover

    Lumia? Lovely plumage...

    Nokia N9. If you want to see a real phone. OK, bit of "in".

    I chanced to pop into a nearby pub (as one does) in Oulu. That's one of the places Nokia designs it's best stuff. (not the pub from which are conceived the best PowerPoint presentations..just have to remember to take the beermat home before closing.) ,an insignificant little town by world standards that was famed 15 years ago for the stink of it's papermill. If you got off the train in those days, you'd instantly get on again.

    I digress.

    Some bloke in the pub asked me for a light, and we got chatting. He was celebrating having been 'let go' ("Careless, Lady Worthing? Well, I guess the line provider is immaterial...") a couple of days previously from Nokia as a software engineer (S40).

    One of his "goodbye presents" which Nokia had failed to track/retrieve was an N9.

    He demonstrated its capabilities.

    I've played with a Lumia Nokia. The N9 is about a year ahead. I'd appreciate others to comment, but the N9 smaced me in the face like a truck.

    It was stunning.

    OK, this becomes simple.

    This is the board of directors.....

    Jorma Ollila

    Stephen Elop

    Dr. Bengt Holmström

    Dr. Henning Kagermann

    Per Karlsson

    Jouko Karvinen

    Helge Lund

    Isabel Marey-Semper

    Dame Marjorie Scardino

    Risto Siilasmaa

    Kari Stadigh

    Simple question. WHAT THE FUC*K ARE THEY DOING????

  12. Ramazan

    It'll get the same fate as Zune

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