Rumors about Microsoft manufacturing its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone are making another round, and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop isn’t doing much to dispel the claims.
In a recent interview with GigaOM, Elop neither denied nor confirmed that Microsoft may have its own hardware in the works, instead opting to focus on the quality of Nokia’s Windows Phone devices. When asked about the rumors and whether or not a Microsoft-branded Windows Phone would change Nokia’s relationship with MS, Elop brushed it off and quickly changed tracks to discuss Nokia’s Windows Phone endeavors.
“I don’t think it changes the relationship. It’s incumbent upon us at all points in time to build the world’s most innovative smartphones. Which is what we believe we’ve done, for example, with the Lumia 920,” he said. He went on to explain that innovation takes years of work, and for Microsoft to decide to make its own smartphone on seemingly short notice could undercut its quality.
“Saying, ‘oh, this year, we’re going to do our own phone,’ doesn’t allow you to [take the time to work on the technology],” he said. “You have to make those investments over a period of time.”
Part of Elop’s lack of concern over competing with his company’s software partner stems from the deal that Nokia struck with Microsoft to commit to Windows Phone, which has supposedly granted Nokia certain advantages. Thanks to Nokia’s dedication to the Windows Phone platform, Elop contends that the Finnish company has the rights to certain exclusivities that no other Windows Phone maker can duplicate, Microsoft included. Elop could not elaborate, however, on what exactly those exclusivities entail.
“We have rights beyond any of the other manufacturers to do unique things and to enforce certain exclusivities for our products,” said Elop during the interview. “We don’t disclose what those are, or the extent of those. But we have the ability to differentiate. We earned that right by being the only company who said, ‘we are placing our primary bet on Windows phone.'”