Generally speaking, when one thinks of Microsoft, one thinks of a company that specializes in software development. Microsoft has software for the desktop computer, servers, mobile devices and a variety of other products. Yes, Microsoft does create hardware such as the Xbox 360 but they are a software specialist.
This week, Microsoft expanded their hardware repertoire by announcing the Surface Tablet, but it would seem that Redmond’s plans extend beyond just tablets. According to Rick Sherlund of Nomura, Microsoft is currently working with hardware manufacturers to create their own mobile phone that will run on the Windows Phone 8 operating system. What’s not known at this time is if this will specifically be a Microsoft branded phone that we will eventually see on shelves at retail outlets across the country or if this will just be a reference platform. Still, it’s interesting to see Microsoft looking at the option of getting their hands dirty on the actual hardware side of the phone business and it really wouldn’t be much of a surprise if in fact we do see a Microsoft branded phone considering the bold move they took this week with their Surface Tablet.
Analysts believe that there are a number of reasons why Microsoft is expanding in this direction. The first and most obvious reason has to be the financial problems that Nokia is having. Nokia has been Microsoft’s hardware partner but with their collapse, Microsoft needs another alternative if a worst case scenario does present itself. In addition to this, Microsoft needs a way to monetize its mobile platform. Currently, revenues from the mobile operating system are low and following Apple in their footsteps of developing hardware would allow them to generate additional revenue.