Verizon has revealed that it plans to add Windows Phone 8 smartphones in its handsets lineup by the last quarter of 2012 according to CNET. Verizon is the largest mobile carrier in the US and has of late been the most enthusiastic carrier to partner with Microsoft Windows phone platform. According to Tami Erwin, the Chief Marketing Officer of Verizon, the company will soon make multiple Windows Phones handsets too available in the fourth quarter of 2012. Windows Phone 8 has not been so popular amongst manufacturers as most of them shun Windows operating system for Android.
Nokia is currently the top champion of Windows 8 mobile operating system followed by Samsung which intends to release a few Windows 8 Phones later this year. Other companies that have confirmed will make Windows 8 Phones available soon are LG and HTC. Despite Windows being the most popular PC operating system, consumers have shunned its sister the Windows Phone mobile operating system for Android and iOS which powers the iPhone and iPad tablets.
Verizon’s move to accommodate Windows Phones is seen as a strategy to cover all its diverse customer bases. With over 90 million subscribers to cater for, it is important that Verizon accommodates all mobile phone platforms to retain customers who may prefer diversity from Android and iOS. This move will benefit Microsoft a great deal as it struggles to keep its mobile market share above 5% in the wake of Android dominance. At the moment, Microsoft Phone is more of a niche player and the chances of it growing to become a mainstream mobile operating system are getting slimmer by the day.
Most carriers are not keen to accommodate windows phones for different reasons but the most obvious is that not so many manufacturers are coming up with Windows Phone devices that could rival Android smartphones in features, simplicity and price. Microsoft introduced the tiles experience in windows 8 mobile operating system in a move that sought to synchronize usability and appearance of Windows mobile operating system with the desktop version of Windows operating system but the results have been mixed. T-Mobile and AT&T networks, the next major carriers in the US, have not shown so much enthusiasm to provide Windows phones in its lineup so far.
“Verizon plans to work with Nokia, but we cannot say exactly when this will happen” Marni Walden, Verizon’s Chief Operating Officer said “the work that Nokia has done in designing windows phones, creating portfolios of accessories and using colors is very encouraging, but it still needs to work harder to win the hearts of US users” she added. “We continue to have healthy conversations with Nokia”. The entry of Windows 8 Phone in Verizon’s lineup may therefore mean the entry of Nokia, a Finnish company. Nokia has lost a considerable percentage of the US market to local players such as HTC, Apple and Motorola. The leaders in the smartphone market though are foreign companies – Korea’s Samsung and LG.
Nokia showed off the Lumia smartphones including its flagship the Nokia Lumia 920 and the budget phone Lumia 820 a couple of weeks ago in New York, Ilari Nurmi, Nokia’s vice president of product marketing did not confirm or deny whether the company is working with Verizon or AT&T to provide the Lumia smartphones to the US users. Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO however told reporters that the phones will launch in select markets in the last quarter of 2012 but did not mention which specific markets he referred.
Verizon is looking to expand its products and services portfolio to grow or at least maintain its customer base by providing the widest variety of choices for its customers. No carrier would want to be tied down to one or two operating systems in such a dynamic communications market as the US. Android and iOS may be the most dominant mobile phone operating systems and Microsoft windows and RIM’s Blackberry struggling below 5% but customers always get what they want even if it means an unpopular operating system. For now, we do not know what phones Verizon will introduce in the 4th quarter of 2012, but I bet the Nokia Lumia phones and Samsung ATIV S Windows phone will be on top of the list.