On Friday, Casey McGee, Microsoft's senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, told Pocket-lint that the Redmond company really doesn't need to produce its own smartphone thanks to the influence it has over Nokia. Nokia will likely be the ODM of choice behind Microsoft's rumored Surface-branded phone slated to arrive in the second half of 2013.
"We enjoy having the variety that we do," McGee said when asked if he was frustrated over a lack of dedicated hardware. "We are so close to the process that it feels like our child too. Especially with Nokia."
He added that Microsoft's relationship is so close to Nokia that the Redmond company gets hardware early and has some say in how the devices are designed and built. "For an engineer or a designer it might feel a little bit different, but I think for people working with the developers and talking broadly about the phone I am very happy with the relationship and the ability to influence what they are doing," he said.
Despite Windows 8 partners churning out tablets and hybrids, Microsoft shocked the industry last year with the announcement that it would produce its own Surface tablets. Now, with two models on the market, the company is experiencing disappointing sales while Android takes the lead as the tablet market leader for the very first time. For now, that battle cannot be won by Microsoft.
On the smartphone front, Microsoft has relied on Nokia and others to lead its market takeover. But does Microsoft even need a Surface smartphone if it's so influential over Nokia? In this case, the roles would seemingly be reversed: Microsoft would design the phone from the ground up while Nokia would provide some design input. Still, what would the difference be between a Surface phone and a Windows 8 Phone by Nokia?
The upcoming Surface Phone will supposedly feature the "Windows Blue" build of Windows Phone 8. This will likely be heavily tied to the Xbox Infinity and Windows 8.1 for desktop, providing a better multi-screen experience than what we've seen thus far. This may be why Microsoft would want full control over smartphone development: so that it doesn't have another disappointing Windows 8 launch.
Hmmm… I smell an Xbox-branded Windows 8 gaming tablet in the air…