According to sources with TheInformation.com, Sony may become the next major Microsoft Windows Phone hardware partner in 2014. Sony has been building Google Android smartphones for the last four years so this would be quite a change in direction. Rumor has it, Microsoft and Sony have already designed prototypes for the potential smartphone and have had numerous discussions. It is unknown whether Sony’s Windows Phone smartphone would fall under the Xperia or Vaio brand./>
Nokia has been the largest Windows Phone hardware partner thus far. This is why Microsoft acquired Nokia’s devices and service businesses this past September for $7.2 billion. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia has not deterred Sony from holding the Windows Phone discussions. The talks carried on even after the acquisition announcement was made. The deal is not yet finalized as the two companies still have to negotiate licensing fees and preloaded software agreements.
Sony is not the only company that Microsoft is talking to about expanding into Windows Phone products. Microsoft is also negotiating with Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE Corporation. ZTE would likely build low-end Windows Phone smartphones in the U.S., Europe and China. Some of Microsoft’s other smartphone hardware partners includes Acer, HTC and LG.
This would not be the first time that Sony has partnered with Microsoft on building smartphones. Sony built a prototype of a Windows Phone 7 powered smartphone a few years ago, but that project ended up getting scrapped. Sony built a few Windows Mobile devices in 2009 such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 and Sony Ericsson Xperia X2.