Microsoft to HTC: Want Windows with Your Android?

How would you like a smartphone with Android -- and with Windows Phone? That could become a possibility if Microsoft is successful in a reported effort to add its Windows Phone operating system to HTC Android-based devices.

The report, originating from Bloomberg News on Friday, said that Microsoft has offered its Windows Phone mobile operating system to HTC at little or no cost. The new service cited two unidentified "people with knowledge of the matter," and attributed it to Microsoft's interest in increasing its mobile market share.

The report said that Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft's operating systems unit, approached HTC in September with the idea that the handset maker add Windows Phone as another option on at least some of its handsets. Neither company has commented on the report, although Bloomberg said no decision has been made by HTC.

Jekyll and Hyde

HTC has made phones using Windows Phone as well as some based on Android, but it has not released a Windows-based phone since early summer and has said that no Windows phones are in its pipeline. Microsoft, which recently purchased the mobile devices division of Nokia, currently has a worldwide market share in the vicinity of 3.7 percent for its Windows Phone platform.

It's not clear from the report if Windows Phone would run concurrently with Android, if Android would be the default, or if one could choose to boot either. There are also other questions about whether the data for an application in one OS would be available in the other, such as contacts or photo files.

Microsoft currently charges a license fee for the OS in every Windows Phone device, and also collects royalties on Android devices because of patents.

Ramon Llamas, research analyst for IDC Mobility, described the report as :really curious, kind of a Jekyll and Hyde thing," although he...

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