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By | Neil McAllister 2nd December 2014 00:27

Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'

Chinese firm says no more Microsoft mobes, even if the OS is FREE

Windows Phone has never paid off for Microsoft's hardware partners, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has claimed.

"We didn't make any money in Windows Phone," Huawei head of international media affairs Joe Kelly told the Seattle Times in a recent interview. "Nobody made any money in Windows Phone."

This isn't the first time Huawei has had harsh words for Redmond's mobile OS. Earlier this year, the Chinese firm canceled its plans to develop new Windows Phone devices, saying that even with deep discounts from Microsoft, working with the platform just wasn't worth the expense.

"The biggest problem is that Windows is not easy to develop independently on this platform," Huawei marketeer Shao Yang told El Reg in September. "R&D costs for Windows are quite high relative to the cost of sales."

That's saying something, given that Microsoft has literally been giving the OS away in an effort to drum up more support from device makers.

Lately, Redmond has had some success marketing cheap-n-cheerful Lumia phones for the low end of the market, but sales of Windows Phone devices have never been a patch on those of iThings and Android mobes.

What's more, Kelly told the Times that Huawei doesn't plan to compete with low-margin junker phones. Instead, it wants to go after the upper end of the market, where it has recently been battered by competition from Chinese Apple-wannabe Xiaomi. "We will lose volume in that shift," he observed.

But Huawei faces other sales challenges, too. In particular, it has been all but frozen out of the US market over concerns that its gear contains backdoors to enable Chinese government spying. In effect, that means it has been denied access to around 30 per cent of the global smartphone market.

"We're committed to when the US government decides we pose no risk," Kelly said. "We're patient. We're happy to return to the US market."

Microsoft, meanwhile, continues to develop Windows Phone for its Lumia handsets, which it now sells under its own brand name, having dropped the Nokia label.

Not much is known about what Redmond plans for the next version of its mobile OS, but some rumors suggest that it may be planning to drop the "Phone" from the next iteration and simply call all of its operating systems "Windows." That's one way to get sales figures up, we reckon. ®

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