Once upon a time, Sony (then Sony Ericsson) was rumored to be prepping a Windows Phone codenamed "Jolie," complete with a slide-out physical keyboard. It was eventually determined that the device was a prototype, though, and it never ended up seeing the fluorescent light of a retail store. Fast-forward to today and we've still never seen a Sony-branded Windows Phone make it to market, but apparently that could be changing next year.
According to a report from The Information, Sony is currently in talks with Microsoft about releasing a new Windows Phone device as early as mid-2014. The unit would reportedly carry the Vaio brand, just like Sony's Windows-based computers. Nothing has been set in stone quite yet, but the talks between Sony and Microsoft have reportedly continued after Microsoft's announcement that it would be acquiring Nokia's Devices & Services division, so it appears that the possibility of Microsoft owning its own Windows Phone hardware business doesn't worry Sony.
A number of different manufacturers have released Windows Phone hardware to date, including HTC, ZTE, Huawei and Samsung. The platform is clearly dominated by Nokia and its Lumia line, though, and Microsoft's potential acquisition of Nokia's hardware arm isn't likely to get other device makers super excited to produce Windows Phone products. However, Sony apparently isn't deterred by the deal, and Microsoft is also reportedly in talks with ZTE concerning new phones as well. That's good news for Microsoft, but the company will need to continue to work to convince others to be a part of Club Live Tile. Perhaps putting an end to Windows Phone licensing fees could help?