Take Sony’s Xperia Z, Z1, and its new compact model released at CES. All are quality products, well made, and technically better than Samsung equivalents. Yet Sony’s Q2, 2013 (three months to September 2013) revealed that it sold less than 10 million Android smartphones last quarter – less than 40 million year on year.
Sony is not happy being a ‘bit player’ rather it seeks to be a market leader in all categories.
It has apparently been testing an Xperia concept with Windows Phone – it seems to think that it can gain a significant market share – and it could be right.
Pierre Perron, head of Sony Mobile Europe, said the company does not want to rely on just one single mobile OS. Pointing to Windows Phone, Perron revealed, "We are continuing our discussions with other partners, including Microsoft, as part of our partnership with this company on the broader Sony spectrum."
Microsoft supports this move. It can afford to share some of Nokia’s 90% market share with other Windows Phone OEMs including Acer, Samsung, HTC, LG, and ZTE. All these companies are on-board waiting for Windows Phone 8.1 before releasing new models.
The move by OEMS to Windows Phone is both about getting out of the Android cesspool and capitalising on growing possibility that Windows Phone 8.1 will gain second place in the smartphone wars.
Windows Phone 8.1 has a huge number of new features – largely driven by new Bing, HERE, and Xbox integration that OEMs would struggle to develop themselves – and Microsoft is happy to share revenue from those services.
Add to that Microsoft/Nokia’s incredible global telco relationships to open up more sales channels, and the fact that it can do OS updates instead of the OEM having to support handsets, and it all makes sense for Sony to have a foot in both camps.
Perron also said that working with Microsoft is an "interesting proposition for us in the PC environment, and we continue our engagement with them. We are exploring this as part of our discussion in mobile space too. One thing is using the platform [Windows Phone] itself, and another is what can we deliver on top of it?”
This rumour has come from three respected sources but I have to question whether Windows Phone 8.1 with its Xbox integration for music and movies would appeal to Sony – unless Sony can do a deal with Microsoft to swap in its PlayStation Now – and stranger things have happened.
Sony Mobile Communications CEO Kunimasa Suzuki - and Perron’s ultimate boss - said the company has no plans to offer a Windows Phone device.