So Microsoft would work with a white label manufacturer, just like Foxconn for the manufacturing and assembly of the iPhone for Apple, an industry source said to the analyst Rick Sherlund of Nomura in a note to investors.
We do not know yet if Microsoft has created a reference platform or a smartphone featuring the full Microsoft brand said Sherlund. Of course, in this situation Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied the thing. But one of the spokesmen of the company has said that Microsoft "strongly believes in its partners and they are focused to deliver Microsoft Windows Phone 8 to the general public.
Windows Phone 8 (WP8) is the latest mobile operating system from Microsoft and will be available this fall (around October). With just 2% of share obtained in a market so far dominated by Apple's iPhone and devices based on Google Android, Microsoft hopes to take some share in the highly competitive smartphone maret with this version 8th version of Windows Phone.
Microsoft has built its business around the software and let the manufacturers care to provide the equipment which will run Microsoft software. But Apple's success with the iPhone and the iPad has clearly demonstrated that integrating both (hardware + software) can be very lucrative.
With the announcement of its Surface tablet, Microsoft has started a new race against time. Microsoft has engaged a win-win strategy : to become a full integrator.
However, this shift to hardware is not without consequences. The one who will suffer the most would be Nokia, the longtime partner of Microsoft, which had an agreement of several million dollars to produce phones that run on Windows Mobile. If Microsoft starts selling smartphones, it may even consider to purchase Nokia although this is unlikely. By entering the phone business, Microsoft enters into direct competition with already established players like Samsung, HTC or Huawai who intend to sell new Windows Phones Phone later this year.