LG Electronics is reported to have cooled its stance towards Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, with Steve Ballmer, CEO of the US computing giant, set to head to Seoul later this month to discuss the issue, according to a Korea Herald report.
Apparently, the total number of Windows Phone devices sold globally is not “meaningful,” leading the company to prioritise its smartphone efforts on the dominant Android platform. However, LG is reportedly planning to continue working with Windows Phone on a research and development basis, enabling it to re-enter the market should it opt to do so.
At the GSMA Mobile World Congress in 2009, LG and Microsoft announced a deal that would have seen the South Korean handset giant “bring up to 26 new Windows phones to market in 2012 alone.”
While LG was a launch partner for the Windows Phone platform in 2010, its commitment to this operating system has been notably less than for Android, which powers its flagship Optimus device line.
The Korea Herald said that Ballmer is intending to attend the Seoul Digital Forum on 22 May, and is staying on for business meetings in the country – although Microsoft did not state if this includes an LG meeting.
Compared to some of its rivals, LG was slow to capitalise on the growth of smartphones, and indeed saw a number of loss-making quarters as its core feature phone business faded. It has now returned to the black, driven by the improved performance of its Optimus portfolio.
Of other Windows Phone partners, both HTC and Samsung have been lukewarm in their support for the OS, in both cases prioritising Android in their device portfolios. Windows Phone has seen something of a boost from Nokia’s selection of it as its smartphone OS of choice, with signs that its Lumia device line is gaining traction – albeit at a less than stellar pace.