Microsoft is reportedly in talks to add Windows Phone 8 as a “dual-boot” option in HTC’s Android smartphones.
According to Bloomberg, HTC has basically abandoned the Windows Phone platform, with the company not having released a new smartphone using the platform since June, and it has no current plans to release any in the future.
Despite its recent takeover of Nokia, Microsoft remains keen to have other companies use its smartphone operating system.
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Microsoft is reportedly so desperate to do a deal with HTC that it is willing to cut or eliminate the licencing fee it charges handset makers to use Windows Phone.
The talks remain preliminary and key technical details are yet to be ironed out, including whether the smartphones will run both operating systems simultaneously or let users choose which platform they boot into.
Recent figures suggest that Nokia has helped Windows Phone gain a foothold across Europe, with 12% market share in Britain, 10.8% in France, 9.5% in Italy, 8.8% in Germany and 2.2% in Spain.
The figures also show that, outside Nokia’s traditional stronghold of Europe, Windows Phone continues to struggle, claiming just 3% market share in the US, 2.1% in China and a paltry 0.8% in Japan.
The Australian market is relatively strong for Microsoft, with the company’s share growing from 3.7% to 6.5% over the past year.
However, fragmentation is nearly as bad a problem with Windows Phone as it is with Android, with 39% of all Windows Phone users still using Windows Phone 7, compared to 61% running Windows Phone 8.
Overall, Nokia accounts for 85.4% of Windows Phone devices, bearing out HTC on 11.5% and Samsung on just 2%.