Huawei abandons Windows Phone, says Tizen has 'no chance to be successful'
If Microsoft is going to turn Windows Phone around, it'll have to be without Huawei.
The world's third-largest phone maker has decided to stop releasing Windows Phones for now. Richard Yu, the head of Huawei's consumer business group, told the Wall Street Journal that persuading people to buy a Windows Phone has been too difficult.
“It wasn't profitable for us,” Yu said. “We were losing money for two years on those phones. So for now we've decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold.”
Huawei launched its first Windows Phone 8 handsets in 2012, alongside Nokia, Samsung, and HTC. Though the company doesn't have much of a U.S. presence, it's a major player in emerging markets such as Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. The company's withdrawal is a problem for Microsoft, as its current strategy for Windows Phone revolves around building up the platform in emerging markets, where smartphone sales growth is still booming.
To help other phone makers stay on board, Microsoft recently made it easier to convert existing Android phone designs to Windows Phone. We recently saw that plan in action on the HTC One (M8) for Windows, which has exactly the same hardware as its Android counterpart. And to counter the loss of Huawei, Microsoft has added nine hardware partners including Lenovo, LG, and ZTE.
Further reading: Windows Phone isn't dead, but it needs a new reason to live
Still, there's reason to be skeptical of Microsoft's emerging market strategy. According to IDC, Windows Phone shipments decreased last quarter, and market share fell to just 2.5 percent. Just because there are a few more phones available doesn't mean people will suddenly start choosing them over Android.
But at least Windows Phone is in better shape than Tizen, which Huawei's Richard Yu also took the opportunity to dump on in his Wall Street Journal interview. The operating system has been pushed mainly by Samsung as an alternative to Android, but even Samsung has delayed its plans due to a lack of apps. To date, no Tizen phones are available for purchase, though Samsung uses the operating system in its Galaxy Gear smartwatches.
“In the past we had a team to do research on Tizen but I canceled it,” Yu said. “We feel Tizen has no chance to be successful.”
In other words, Huawei, like so many other phone makers, is going all-in on Android.