Should Microsoft give Motorola the same deal they gave Nokia?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: August 9, 2011

No matter how set-in-stone something seems to be, the simple fact that everything is changing all the time means that the future can reveal anything at any given moment. That’s why when we hear a company say one thing, we shouldn’t be all that surprise to find them doing something else completely different at some point down the line. In this particular case, we actually shouldn’t be surprised that Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha has changed the company’s tune regarding Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone. But, should Microsoft even consider it?

Way, way back in February of this year (I know, seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?), a certain corporate executive for Motorola revealed that she didn’t believe Windows Phone would ever play a really big role in the manufacturer’s future. To be specific, Motorola’s Corporate Vice President of Software and Service Product Management Christy Wyatt said that Windows Phone is “not something [they’re] entertaining now.” She went on to add that, unless Windows Phone was to “really take off,” there wouldn’t be much of a change.

But, that was back in February and the landscape changes all the time. The way that operating systems are accepted into the market changes, even if the changes aren’t all that noticeable to the general public. There are always things happening behind the scenes. And ever since the deal with Nokia, along with the recent unveiling of Microsoft’s next big update to Windows Phone, Mango, there seems to be a subtle, yet apparent shift towards the positive for Redmond’s new mobile OS.

But, Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha has changed the company’s tune. He has made it clear that Motorola would be more than willing to make some Windows Phone hardware, but only if there were some concessions made. Or, if there were some conditions made. To put it bluntly, Jha wants the same deal, or something similar, that Microsoft made with Nokia, and that seems to be the only way that Motorola would “entertain” the idea of utilizing Windows Phone. That’s a pretty interesting move from Jha, and one that could mean one of two things.

The first is that Android isn’t doing everything that Motorola wants it to anymore. Something may be shifting, however slightly, somewhere behind the scenes and now Motorola needs a new face to promote their wares. This could also be why Jha has made such a bold statement, suggesting that Motorola deserves the same deal that Nokia received from Microsoft, to make it look like Motorola doesn’t really need Windows Phone at all, but that they’re “willing to work” with Microsoft if things fall into place. The second thing it could mean is the complete opposite of the first, and that nothing is really wrong within the house that built the RAZR (before the split). Motorola could just be excited about what they’re seeing from Windows Phone and want to get in on the fun, but not without some hand-holding and safety nets in place “just in case.”

This looks like Motorola has plainly put the ball in Microsoft’s court, and has left it up to the Redmond-based company to make the next move. While Motorola and Microsoft may not have been talking before, or at least not after February, it looks like Jha has at least opened the door and put some snacks out, trying to lure Microsoft into some hefty negotiations. And let’s face it: it wouldn’t hurt Microsoft to bring another major company like Motorola into the personal fold that only has Nokia within it at the moment. It would mean some new specific hardware partners, and the ability to bring out some new, Motorola-branded high-end devices, alongside Nokia’s own wares. But, would Microsoft be willing to strike another deal like the one they cast with Nokia?

And let’s put the question out there to you, the reader. Do you think Motorola should be allowed into the “inner sanctum” of Windows Phone, and be allowed the same benefits that Nokia has? Or, do you think Microsoft should allow Motorola to manufacture Windows Phone hardware, but in the same fashion as all the other manufacturers, like HTC and Samsung? And, I’m curious as to why you think Motorola has suddenly changed their minds on Windows Phone. So let me know in the comments below.