Here’s a crazy end-of-the-week rumor for you: Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft wants HTC to add a Windows Phone option to its Android handsets.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s operating systems boss, reportedly asked HTC about the possibility last month. HTC already pays patent licensing fees to Microsoft for every Android phone sold, so Myerson may have talked about reducing or eliminating the fees as part of the deal.
HTC has loosely based some Windows Phones on existing Android handsets in the past, but has not used exactly the same hardware in both. The Windows Phone 8X, for instance, borrows some technology from last year’s HTC One X , but the two phones had completely different designs and not exactly the same specs. Microsoft apparently wants HTC to design phones that could run either Windows Phone or Android.
Even if the rumor is true, and HTC was interested, it’s unclear how a Windows Phone option would work. Would both operating systems be loaded on the same phone, allowing users to switch, or would HTC simply make a separate Windows Phone version of handsets like the HTC One?
Either scenario could cause confusion for users, who aren’t accustomed to choosing the operating system that comes with their phone. And there’s no telling whether wireless carriers would be interested in stocking two versions of the same phone, at least in the United States where carriers have more pull.
Certainly HTC could use help of some kind, as the company just experienced its first quarterly loss since 2008. And Microsoft is in danger of losing the support of phone makers, especially as it plans to acquire Nokia. (HTC, Bloomberg says, had not been planning to make any more Windows Phones.) Still, there’s not much point in speculating about the implications without more details. For now, let’s file this in the “interesting if true” column.