Device operating systems

LG Ditches Windows Phone

1:45 PM -- LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) committed to launching 36 Windows Phone-based devices back in 2009, but now -- three years and only two phones based on the operating system later -- the company is abandoning the OS all together.

According to the Korea Herald, the South Korean handset maker revealed in its earnings call last week that it has no plans to release more Windows Phones, because they're not working out financially and "the total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure." Instead, LG is going to focus solely on Android devices.

LG, once the third-largest smartphone producer, has struggled to keep up with high-end smartphones, where it's consistently lost money and market share. The handset maker is also likely spooked by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s close ties with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). (See LG Founders in Booming Smartphone Market and LG's Got 99 Problems.)

Ditching Windows Phone may help LG, but it will undoubtedly hurt Microsoft. Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is another handset maker that has remained disinterested in Windows Phone, betting solely on Android instead. And, while the operators are vital partners for Microsoft's mobile ambitions, the handset makers clearly are too. It will spell trouble if Microsoft fails to entice anyone outside of Nokia, alongside a small commitment from High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), to build for the OS.

The Korea Times also reports that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer could be paying LG's chief a visit in Seoul at the end of May, hoping to change its tune. Let's hope he has some convincing arguments ready, because his signature enthusiasm so far hasn't been enough to convince its partners to stick around.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

COMMENTS Add Comment
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:34:45 PM
re: LG Ditches Windows Phone

If he gets that meeting with LG, Ballmer should consider bringing along some recent clippings from a recent interview Steve Wozniak. For what it's worth, seems the Apple co-founder is fond of the Windows Phone UI, noting that iOS is "more awkward." JB


sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:34:45 PM
re: LG Ditches Windows Phone

I'm not sure LG should be so quick to blame the OS for its phone flops. Seems to me the hardware and design weren't all that compelling either. Hopefully it'll have some new phones to show off at CTIA next week.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:34:44 PM
re: LG Ditches Windows Phone

Bold statements from the Apple co-founder. I think LG is leaving the door open slightly to build for Windows Phone again. It said it'd still invest some R&D in it, but so far it's all Android. That probably won't change unless Microsoft proves itself with Nokia or others.

gtchavan 12/5/2012 | 5:34:41 PM
re: LG Ditches Windows Phone

LG must by now realize that Microsoft is not serious about a mobile operating system. 

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 5:34:38 PM
re: LG Ditches Windows Phone

I would bet that for MS to convince LG that LG should stick with WindowsPhone OS, MS will have to invest $$.  My guess is LG would have to extract some R&D funding dollars, and marketing dollars from MS to make it worthwile.  MS pretty much has to make a big push marteting and in terms of subsidized development costs for the hand set makers if MS hopes to have any chance of making WindowsPhone a serious global player.  

This includes MS funneling more money to NSN as well.  If MS wants to really be a player in this space, they are going to have to really open up their purse and do some serious spending of some of the cash they have on the side lines.  

No way to do it without really driving the brand via MASSIVE marketing, and helping the handset makers off set development costs.  by massive marketing, I am implying something on the scale of 10-100x what we see for now from Nokia for the windows phone.


let us see if Balmer opens up the pocket book and announces some sort of "joint venture"...

if he does not, LG will be out permanently from Windows.  And, bold prediction here: Nokia also abandon's WindowsPhone OS in the next couple of years as the full cost of implementing and supporting WindowsPhone OS becomes apparent.  I am guessing Nokia becomes an Android house, or becomes irrelevant in hand sets.  question is how much money do they burn first before they see the light.  and how long it takes them to figure it out.  People don't want the same old Windows for their phone.  All those years of blue screens on PC's sure make people reluctant for a "windows" phone.  Phone has to work, all the time.  MS has a huge psychological hurdle to over come for PHONE users.  

No matter how cool Woz thinks it is.  Phones, even smart phones, need to be simple robust and never crash.  Even if windows phones are that good, it will take a long time for consumers to trust MS with the phone OS considering all the hassles we have endured from MS for all the years of desktop products.


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