Earlier this week, Microsoft took the wraps off a line of tablets, which will be sold directly to consumers as the "Microsoft Surface". An industry analyst says that this company plans to do something similar with smartphones.
Rick Sherlund from Nomura said in a note to investors: "Separately, our industry sources tell us that Microsoft may be working with a contract manufacturer to develop their own handset for Windows Phone 8."
However, Sherlund does say there's a possibility that this company could be working on a reference design to help smartphone makers create devices running Windows Phone 8, rather than getting ready to get into competition with Nokia, HTC, and its other licensees. Still, in the Wake of the Surface announcement, Microsoft appears open to the idea.
Other Windows tablet makers aren't happy about the Surface, and it's likely the companies that already make Windows Phones will be equally displeased about having to compete with Microsoft.
By introducing products under its own name, Microsoft is taking a page from Google's book. When the maker of the Android OS wasn't pleased with the smartphones its licensees were offering with it, it decided to make its own. The result was the Nexus series, which has never been a top seller, but encouraged other handset makers to step up their game.
With the Surface line of tablets, Microsoft is doing something similar. And it may be planning to do the same thing for Windows-based smartphones... just as Google is also expected to launch its first Nexus tablet next week.
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