Microsoft is rumored to have made an offer of $1 billion to Samsung, with the goal of getting the South Korean tech giant to produce more and better devices running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. This according to Mobile Review's Eldar Murtazin, who tweeted the rumor last week. The move would be aimed at growing support for the third-place mobile OS beyond Nokia, which accounts for nearly nine out of 10 Windows Phone devices in the hands of consumers.
The rumor is as yet unverifiable, but it is in keeping with Microsoft's stated goal for the Windows Phone platform. Despite the fact that the Redmond software giant is buying Nokia's mobile operations and entering the smartphone manufacturing segment itself, Microsoft has continued to express interest in maintaining a group of manufacturers that produce Windows Phone devices.
While Samsung has produced Windows Phone 8 devices in the past, the tech conglomerate has shown off no plans for devices of recent. Likewise, HTC has not produced any new Windows devices in some time. The most recent non-Nokia WP8 device was from Huawei, which released its Ascend W2 earlier this year.
Observers note that Samsung seems far more interested in putting money behind its line of Galaxy handsets, all of which run the Android mobile operating system produced by Microsoft's rival, Google. At a press event earlier this year, Samsung showed off a range of minor Galaxy devices, as well as a number of Windows 8 computers with novel form factors. Absent from the event, though, was any mention of the Windows Phone platform.
Offering Samsung $1 billion, then, would be in keeping with Microsoft's previous practices. When the company brought Nokia into the Windows Phone manufacturer fold, it did so with $1 billion per year in "platform support payments" to the Finnish manufacturer.
Microsoft is making other moves in order to boost the attractiveness of Windows Phone for manufacturers. Last week saw the emergence of rumors that the company could be looking to offer license-free versions of both Windows Phone and Windows RT. Currently, Microsoft charges a licensing fee to manufacturers, which makes them less able to offer low-cost devices. Such a move would put Microsoft's platform on the level with Android, which Google also offers for free to manufacturers.