Sony Mobile is considering using Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform in addition to Android, as it looks to move on from being dependent on a single platform, according to reports.
With other Sony business units already having a relationship with Microsoft, and the mobile unit itself having offered Windows Mobile devices in its Sony Ericsson days, it is now considering Windows Phone “as part of our partnership with [Microsoft] on the broader Sony spectrum”, TechRadar reported.
Pierre Perron, head of Sony Mobile Europe, said: “We enjoy very much a good collaboration with Google, we’ve been working with them for a long time and have a level of maturity with that discussion, that’s good. But at the same time, Google has a relationship with direct competitors.”
Of course, a tie-up with Microsoft would not be without similar issues. The company has licensed Windows Phone to vendors including Samsung and HTC, and is even in the process of acquiring Nokia’s devices unit – potentially more of a threat to Sony than many other rivals.
But Sony (Ericsson) does indeed have a track record of offering devices powered by different platforms. Prior to Android it worked with Symbian OS and Windows Mobile for its smartphones, although it is the Google platform that has driven growth in recent years.
While the idea of moving toward a more diverse platform strategy makes sense in terms of reducing dependence on Google, the challenge that Sony would face with Windows Phone is the same that its rivals have found: without a compelling apps and content portfolio, the Microsoft OS will always compare poorly with Android and Apple’s iOS.
But Microsoft and Nokia have been working to address this, and support from another top-tier manufacturer – particularly if it is a deeper commitment rather than a couple of trial devices – is likely to make the OS more appealing to developers and publishers.