Microsoft Taps Collaboration With Qualcomm Toward Global Internet Growth

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By Judith Aparri | February 25, 2014 4:22 PM EST

Microsoft Corp. has joined forces with chip manufacturer Qualcomm Inc. to develop less expensive smartphones to hit the markets like China and advance in the mobile software race.

The two firms are working on a component design that is low-cost so that handset manufacturers and developers can adapt into their own, according to Microsoft Windows Phone Vice President Joe Belfiore at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The companies design the basic component of a phone with the needed processors and wireless chips which the developers can start, as they design Windows phones for the emerging markets. While following Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in higher-end items, Microsoft is building a market share for its operating system from the ground. Less expensive smartphones mean more consumers have the chance to use the Internet, especially those in developing countries, which are fast-growing markets that also attract competitors such as Google, the maker of Android OS.

Advent Of Less-expensive Smartphones

Yves Maitre, Orange SA head of devices, said the MWC 2014 is where the story of "Internet-for-everyone" commences. Orange SA is a wireless carrier that expands its markets to Poland, Kenya and Egypt.

The mobile communications revolution occured over a decade ago with the birth of the handset. According to Maitre, the next milestone is the explosion of less expensive Internet-developed smartphones for the developing markets.

Microsoft's plans to expand the reach of its mobile ecosystem as new CEO Satya Nadella takes over from Steve Ballmer. The company sets to complete the $7.2 billion takeover of the Nokia Oyi's handset business. Meanwhile, Nokia plans to announce its low-end smartphones running Android at MWC.

The efforts of Microsoft are aimed to increase the number of handset manufacturers to offer Windows phones. So far, it has not shaken yet the dominance of giant OSes iOS and Android which have 96 percent of the smartphone market. Only 3.3 percent ran Windows, out of the one billion smartphones shipped in 2013; and 89 percent were manufactured by Nokia, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

This attempt is Microsoft's latest with the goal to spread Windows worldwide.  

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