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Microsoft Allegedly Tested Surface Phones Before Nokia Deal

by Brandon Russell | September 17, 2013September 17, 2013 7:00 am PST


We already heard Nokia was working on a contingency plan once its partnership with Microsoft ended, and new information suggests the Redmond company was working on a Plan B of its own. According to sources speaking with The Verge, Microsoft was “busy experimenting” with a number of prototype Surface phones, though, with the company now in possession of Nokia’s handset business, it doesn’t appear such a device will ever hit production lines.

Apparently, Nokia was growing increasingly frustrated with Microsoft’s insistence on hitting lower price points. In response, the Finnish company began working on Android experiments, to which Microsoft responded by ramping up work on smartphones of its own. Sources say Terry Myerson, who is now in charge of Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox operating systems, was in charge of the project; the initiative was initially considered as a backup if Nokia’s own Lumia devices failed.

Nokia’s Lumia line has actually done quite well in respect to iOS and Android, accounting for over 80 percent of all Windows Phone marketshare. This number, however, concerned Microsoft executives, because it meant other OEMs were hardly contributing to the WP ecosystem. Eventually, factors wound up leading to an outright acquisition of Nokia’s handset business—did Microsoft feel a Surface Phone couldn’t compete with Nokia’s increasingly solid Lumia line?

What’s clear following the acquisition is that it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see a Surface Phone, nor will we ever know the sweet combination of an Android-equipped Lumia. Either way, the pressure will surely be on Microsoft when its first Windows Phone hits, though it’s unclear when that might be.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.