Samsung is reportedly eyeing Windows Phone, but only after settling some legal issues with Microsoft. Korea Times has reported that the company is considering the Windows Phone operating system for use on its own hardware.
According to the report, Samsung has tested the stability of Windows 8.1 software on its devices, and is considering using Windows Phone to target the budget mobile phone market. If the Windows platform maker will settle its legal fight, the South Korean company will produce handsets run by Microsoft’s Windows Phone. If pushed through, the earliest timetable for production is the third quarter of this year.
The South Korean firm has produced numerous Android smartphones, which have produced more income than Windows phones do. It has been focused solely on Android, and has started to look for ways to reduce its reliance on the operating system.
With the help of Intel Corp., Samsung has been trying its in-house operating system, Tizen, on its phones, but has not gained the support of content developers. The Asian electronics firm is promoting Tizen again – this time not on mobile devices, but on TVs. The firm is also gravitating towards a lower-end market, and if it can release phones using Windows Phone, it can manage its devices in all sectors – premium, mid and low.
With Tizen out of the way, Windows Phone could be the next best thing because, like Google, Microsoft is providing it for free and without licensing fees. It is the world’s third most-used mobile platform, trailing iOS and Android. Moving forward with Microsoft, however, is something that cannot be done overnight, as there are still heaps of legal issues to settle. The fact that Samsung is eyeing Windows Phone and a possible collaboration with Microsoft in that area is not new. The electronics maker is also in talks with Microsoft for other upcoming business projects – specifically, cloud computing and healthcare. However, when it comes to handsets, the two remain in a legal fight.
In 2011, the South Korean firm deliberately entered a contract with Microsoft to use its IP, or Internet Protocol, to broaden the connectivity of its mobile devices. Devices are assigned IP addresses whenever they connect to a network. This procedure is called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. Mobile devices look for DHCP servers first to connect to a network.
Windows operating systems have a range of IP addresses reserved only for Microsoft, which range from 169.254.0.1 through 169.254.255.254. Samsung’s contract with Microsoft allows its devices to use Microsoft IP when DHCP servers are not available. In return, Microsoft will receive royalties from the Korean company’s Android devices, and both firms will cooperate for Windows Phone development and marketing.
However, things changed when Microsoft wanted to acquire Nokia’s phone business, which the South Korean company claimed puts Redmond as its direct competitor. It is still requesting Korean anti-trust authorities to nullify the recent acquisition of Nokia’s phone business by Microsoft. Samsung is also asking U.S. and China to do the same.
When Samsung was not prompt in paying royalties to Microsoft, the latter brought Samsung to court. Last year, Samsung paid $1 billion to Microsoft for royalties, while the latter reportedly requested Samsung to produce Windows Phone handsets in return for an updated licensing agreement.
While Samsung is eyeing Windows Phone for its mobile devices, Microsoft is also aware of the firm’s strength in marketing, which would be helpful to promote its Windows devices. Both companies are now trying to look for common ground. When the obstacles are cleared, their collaboration would be beneficial to both parties.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy of SamsungTomorrow – Flickr License