Windows Phone 8 may be making an appearance on the Verizon network later this year. Bloomberg is reporting that sources with information on the matter say a Nokia-made handset running Windows Phone 8 will be released on Verizon this year, making it the first Windows Phone to land under Verizon’s coverage since May of 2011.
This announcement not only puts an end to a long drought for Microsoft products on Verizon’s network, but also shows Verizon’s intention of making good on previous promises. Earlier this year, Verizon promised to give the Windows Phone a major push in the mobile market. The smartphone market is a pretty deep pool so we’re hoping Verizon has prepared some floaties for the little brother of iOS and Android.
While a new Windows Phone might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, remember that the platform hasn’t received much publicity to date. Verizon has only sold one Windows Phone in the two years since Microsoft unveiled the operating system and it was right as the carrier shifted its efforts toward 4G LTE devices. If Verizon follows through on their plan to back the Windows Phone 8, there’s a chance that the OS could see a surge similar to the one Android experienced when Verizon committed to the original Droid. It also gives Nokia a third major carrier to house its product on and a potential outlet for feature devices. AT&T has been the biggest supporter of Windows Phone, but T-Mobile picked up the lower-end Lumia 710 last year. This is, of course, assumes that Nokia’s device sells better than the ill-fated Microsoft Kin, a device Microsoft very much wants us to forget.
The newfound partnership could also help Verizon become less reliant on iPhone sales. Apple takes a sizable royalty for each iPhone signed up to a carrier’s network, plus takes in profit from the actual hardware sales. This system puts carriers at the whim of Apple. For Verizon, pushing Windows Phone is a way of fighting back. Introducing another major player into the game could chip away at Apple’s market share and put control back into the hands of the providers. It’s a very subtle type of warfare that mostly take place behind spreadsheets and thick-rimmed glasses.