Mobile World Congress is in full swing in Barcelona this week, one of the biggest events of the year for the mobile industry. I love Barcelona, and am sad to miss MWC this year. There is something about the combination of the history and tradition of Barcelona past and the energy and innovation of Barcelona present, with all the attendees of MWC a punctuation mark. And there is always something new, companies with something to say.
Microsoft is no exception. On Sunday afternoon, we hosted a press conference where we reinforced the momentum we’re seeing for Windows Phone – the fastest growing mobile OS with 91 percent year-over-year growth. We announced we’re working with nine new Windows Phone hardware partners , including Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE as well as a collaboration with Qualcomm to help more manufacturers build Windows Phones faster. You can read Joe Belfiore’s blog post from yesterday for more details.
Nokia held its press conference earlier Monday. They announced a number of new devices from their Mobile Phone division including Nokia X, which will compete with Android devices in the affordable smartphone category and introduce the Microsoft cloud to a new set of customers in growth markets.
There’s been lots of speculation about what this announcement means for Microsoft and about our pending acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business. Here are a couple of points to put things into context.
First, our transaction with Nokia has not yet closed. Today, we operate as two independent companies as required by antitrust law, and we will until the acquisition is complete. The anticipated close timeframe for the acquisition remains end of the first quarter of 2014.
Second, we’re pleased to see Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com being introduced on these devices. This provides the opportunity to bring millions of people, particularly in growth markets, into the Microsoft family. The Skype team on Monday announced an offer in select markets for the first customers who purchase a Nokia X, one month of Skype’s Unlimited World Subscription. Read the Skype blog for more details.
Finally, our primary smartphone strategy remains Windows Phone, and our core device platform for developers is the Windows platform.
It is a fascinating time in the industry today. The rate of improvements in devices, the breadth of services offered, the way consumers and businesses are using devices of all shapes and sizes to do more – it is a reminder to all of us that what is considered status quo in Barcelona this year has the potential to look very different in the rear view mirror a year from now.
We’d have it no other way.