Microsoft is poised to release its first Surface tablet, so of course, speculation in the tech industry is turning once again to the possibility of the Redmond company coming out with its own Windows Phone, possibly under the Surface brand.
Nokia CEO and former Microsoft exec Stephen Elop, who has made a huge bet on Windows Phone and would face increased competition from a Microsoft device, said on a conference call with analysts this morning that Nokia would actually encourage Microsoft to go ahead.
Elop’s statement came in response to an analyst’s question. From the webcast, here’s the full the exchange …
Q: “If Microsoft were to launch their own device, would you see that as a stimulant to the ecosystem or a competitor?”
Elop: “It’s certainly a stimulant to the ecosystem. As I said earlier, we’re encouraging of HTC and Samsung and Microsoft or whomever to have devices in the market and to be making whatever investments that help spur the ecosystem on. As it relates to the competitive aspects of it, of course anyone else in the ecosystem is some sort of competitor. That being said, we’re very proud of the unique differentiation that we are bringing to the Windows Phone platform. And when you look closely at what we’re doing with those devices, it is innovation that we’ve invested in for a number of years. It’s not something that’s easily replicated or reinvented or anything like that. This is the result of taking those unpolished gems from our R&D labs and landing them in the Lumia products. Of course that’s well-protected by intellectual property and something that we would use to differentiate regardless of who our competition might be.”
The Verge reported on the comment earlier today.
Nokia sold 2.9 million Lumia Windows Phones in the third quarter, down from 4 million in the second quarter. For context, Google says it sees 1.3 million Android device activations every day.
Microsoft reports its quarterly earnings later today.