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Carriers to blame for Samsung's weak start with Windows Phone 8?

Samsung hasn’t been giving Windows Phone a lot of love since the latest version dropped back in October. Here in the US, you still can’t walk into a carriers store and get an ATIV S or ATIV Odyssey. With recent remarks from Samsung about their timid feelings towards Windows RT, a lot of people started suspecting that the relationships between them and Microsoft was beginning to sour.

You can set aside some of those wild theories, analysts are painting a different picture of the situation. Who is to blame? Apparently, the carriers.  

A report from The Korea Times describes a situation where the biggest obstacle to seeing a Windows Phone 8 device from Samsung is the carriers. They don’t want to give Samsung any more power than it already has. Nearly 50% of all Android devices are on Samsung hardware and carriers are really reluctant to create a situation where Samsung dominates two mobile operating systems.

Some analysts see Windows Phone growing in popularity over the next year, as does Samsung. Therefore the South Korean company would want to build devices for whatever is popular and push sales with its own branding. For example they use ‘Galaxy’ for almost anything running Android. It isn’t too extreme to see ‘ATIV’ become their Windows line of devices, both tablets and phones.

Samsung has shown a willingness to dominate a market if there is demand. We haven’t seen it yet with Windows Phone, because the OS hasn’t reached that critical point yet where everyone wants one. It’s coming, but not there yet. Remember how Verizon was supposed to get the ATIV Odyssey in December, but now we're waiting for this week?

What do you think? Is Samsung having a rough start because of carrier resistance? Are carriers afraid of giving OEM’s too much control? In 2007, Apple made a relationship with carriers and consumers that both Microsoft and Google would love to replicate. However, most carriers would rather screw consumers over than concede power to manufactures and other partners.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. This is all talk from analysts, so take that as you will. But it is hard to know what happens with companies behind closed doors, the best we can all do is speculate until we see action.

Source: iFans, Thanks for the tip Thuc N!

  • I love my 920, but that Ativ s is just amazing. It looks stunning.
  • What?
  • Hahaha!
  •   Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)   Happy New Year!    
  • All I can say is that I got my Ativ S a few days ago and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. A few people I know have the 920 and I've had A LOT of time with it. But even they were inpressed with the Ativ S.  It's thin, light <-- I barely feel it in my pocket honestly. It has a goregeous screen the batter life is good with the 2300 battery. I HIGHLY recommend it.   
  • But no Nokia collection :( Samsung must put more weight onto windows phone) I hate their galaxy line...
  • Where are you located and how did you get it.  I'm assuming that you are overseas.
  • Probably in Canada like me. On all 3 major carriers. Unfortunately its only 16gb I guess they couldn't commit to their 32gb lte promise for the sght 899m. From what I seen on the FCC listing it sounds like tmo won't get it till may.
    FCC id: a3l sght899m
  • I agree deep vibrant screen. I love a real button for the windows button. Thin, light the camera was decent as well.
  • What country to you live in if you don't mind me asking; I have the T899m and I don't get the LTE logo, but I'm pretty sure I'm getting LTE speeds (comparing it to my Titan with HSPA + quasi 4g)? 
  • It'll probably show 4G... Same thing although possibly different meaning in various markets. In Australia it's called "4G LTE" so saying 4G or LTE means the same thing here... HSPA+ is still 3G although sometimes called 3G+ or Telstra call it NextG to imply it's faster than normal 3G, but not quite 4G speeds.
  • That's interesting. I've had my Ativ S for a few weeks, but I'm considering the 920....
    reason I went for the Ativ S are, removable battery and SD card slot (battery life becomes a non issue when you have several charged batteries that you can just swap out at any time as I did with my HD7)
    Reasons I'm considering the 920 . . . the camera and the built in apps (mainly Drive)
    Navigon (the only worthwhile offline nav app - still can't begin to understand why anyone make a navigation app"online" as by definition you're roaming thus its prohibitavely costly) but Navigon Europe is £72!!! which I won't pay out of principal.
    Samsung needs to work on its bundled apps.
    I wandered round town yesterday and went into all of the major UK suppliers (wanting to touch/feel the 920) and all of them have the Ativ S, but not all have the 920 (O2 guy told me that whilst the 820 had passed O2 labs testing, the 920 hadn't...?? )
    So, in the UK at least it doesn't seem to be a carrier issue.
    As for te Ativ S
    1. Its too slippery (pitting a Zagg invisible shield on the back fixed that)
    2. A little too big (although I am surprised how quickly I aclimatised, and how "small"y HD7 now looks)
    3. I've had an issue with the 64GB SD card erroring and needing to to be repaired in my laptop and the offending picture removed before the camera would work again.
    4. I really miss my HD7's funky little flip out stand. Sorry, bit long and not quite all on point! :-) 5. The button placement on the Ative is shite. They got that right on the 920. I'm forever changing the volume on my ativ when I turn it off....
  • Thanks for the feedback on the ATIV S, man.
  • Unsurprisingly, Korean analysts are taking the side of a Korean company. Who would've thought?
  • I agree.  Gonna have to take this analysis with a grain of rice.
  • I see what you did there ;-)
  • You mean, American analysts like Apple because it's American? Do all Canadian analysts like RIM? Why would you assume foreign analysts are biased for the home team? (but our analysts are more objective?)
  • Go see what most Finnish analysts think about Nokia. I dare you.
  • I agree with the report, it makes sense entirely that carriers don't want to give Samsung more dominance than they have. I have the Ativ S and have had it since mid December and it really is stunning
  • How is the screen on it? Its the biggest for WP8 so I was just curious how it compares to my L920? Any thoughts?
  • It's really sharp and colors are great, but I still have to give the nod to Nokia on screen quality... That 60hz refresh is like butter, and even though it doesn't bother me, I can still see the AMOLED's pentile sub-pixel layout.
  • Precisely. That is why I shelled out unlocked $$$ to buy one of eBay....and no is a beautiful phone and really digging all day usage at work on a single overnight battery charge!
  • I did the same. I had the option of buying a 920 for $200 from ATT, but got the Ativ instead and I paid close to 700 to get the T899m with the 1700 band for USA LTE (presumably). 
    Awesom, awesome, awesom phone.  When it comes to specs, the 920 surpasses it by leaps and bounds. But in terms of an overally experience I think* I made the right choice. 
  • This is one of my only gripes with my 920. Black is not black. On my Focus, I couldn't notice where the screen ended. The black on the 920 is noticeably grey.
  • I'm also loving my Ativ S. It's a fantastic phone! And I could see the carriers being afraid of losing power to an OEM the way they did with Apple, but c'mon... Only way Samsung is overtaking Nokia in WP is if the Fins go under...
  • not really a true statement there at the end, If Samsung wanted to they could sell as many WinPhone8's as Androids with this line, "Samsung Galaxy SIII now with windows phone as the Ativ S" people don't know, they just want a Samsung. 
  • Pretty sure the Samsung Focus was the highest selling Windows Phone 7.x Am I wrong?
  • To date worldwide, the Lumia 710 is the highest selling WP7.X, followed closely by Lumia 800.
  • HD7 was huge too
  • I don't really agree.. People want a Samsung, but the most popular Samsung.. Hence the galaxy taking off.. Galaxy to them is now a name brand.. Just like iPhone..
  • I agree with this.
  • Meh I'm perfectly happy with my Lumia 820 and Nokia as a whole, so who cares about the android giant.
  • Consumers? Competition? The more choices the better. 
  • Carriers answer: "Why waste commercial money on something different if Android phones are making plenty of sales." carriers are really greedy.
  • Because like any sensible organisation they don't want all their eggs in one basket. This is why they are bringing out the Tizen based mobile phone soon. They are guarding against the fact that Google owns Motorola and that if Google brings out a Motorola / Google Android phone it might grab market share. Remember Samsung are currently the only OEM actually making any decent money out of Android in the mobile phone space.
    Regarding whether carriers are blocking this I don't believe this is true. Mainly because carriers don't care how many OEM's there are and are more interested in how many platforms there are. If it got to a situation where there were very few OEMs then that might change but at present there are many (LG, HTC, Huwaie, Sony, Nokia, Samsung,....). Also to further my belief it isn't carriers is that trying to buy one off contract isn't that easy as you can't find it in as many places as you can a Lumia phone.
    Whereas there are only two real platforms out there (Google and iOS). The carriers clearly stated time and time again that they wanted a third platform out there and are actively supporting WP. They will be very happy to see Firefox and Tizen come to the market. The main reason for this concern is that when iOS first came out Apple strangled the revenue streams carriers could get from sales of the iPhone and in some cases has actually cost them significantly. They were happier when Android came about but one or two more platforms couldn't hurt.
  • TYPICAL! They were a problem in the beginning and they're a problem now...too bad they didn't consider trying to curb the android the same way! >_
  • Uh, at first t-mobile was the only carrier willing to allow an android phone on their carrier. I hate android but you're wrong.
  • How does T-Mobile's initial support absolve all carriers from the blame?
  • Because no other carrier supported android initially except the little guy... Android didn't have immediate backing and was largely unpopular until the Droid series came out.
  • Besides Samsung it would help the platform out if there were more vendors on board.. We need to see more devices on store shelves. So, if the carriers are holding out on Samsung then it might open the door for more vendors to take on WP. Who knows??
  • Perhaps its the US government pressuring the carriers to hold Samsung back given that it's a foreign company...i would not expect that to be beneath them...they have been known to do much worse.
  • There isn't a single American company making a Windows Phone so that is a very weak argument.
  • YET. Surface Phone people. Its coming! (Don't quote me on that).
  • Juan6996 said a Surface phone is coming! It's coming! It'll be here in a week! (Don't quote me on that).
  • Oh crap! Okay, fine, I'll just cancel my Lumia 820 order... Phew that was close.
  • Its at&t's fault.
  • I was going to pick this one up over the L920, buteven in Hong Kong, carrier free, wide open & not locked the phone was & still is not available, so I said sod ém, and bought the L920 instead; Beast of a phone. :). Samsung are to blame not the carriers.
  • Well it certainly is an interesting argument now isn't it?
  • Why would carriers wish to hold a cell phone company back? Samsung is a consumer favorite among many and carriers want to sell and promote the phones that their customers will want. In this regard, I think the reason why carriers would be weary to sell a Samsung WP would simply be because they are weary to sell Windows Phones in general. To them there's still a lot of risk in Windows Phones. To say that carriers don't want to sell a Samsung Windows phone because Samsung has too much sway with consumers is 100% pure weapons grade balonium. Samsung would only serve to boost Windows Phone sales.
  • It doesn't matter what OS it's running. Carriers are wary of an OEM that wields too much power in the minds of consumers. The report said that Samsung is gaining mindshare over the public. People aren't going to buy an Android phone and getting a Samsung - they're going to buy a Samsung that happens to be running Android. (Regular people, not you or me or anyone reading a tech site)
  • Hmmm... I'm going to chalk this up under how little I know of tech in the business world. In my mind, I'd want to say the carriers would want to profit as much as possible on the idea of a coveted name brand selling in a different platform. If they can sell another product that they can profit from, why not? But I can see that if one brand is over saturating their selection of product, than the competition among OEMs are weighted heavily in favor of one company. The carrier is forced into a position where they rely on that brand for revenue and loose quite a bit of monetary control. Following that I can see the apprehension to allow Samsung too much landscape on their own front lawn.
  • Wouldn't it be weapons grade bolognium?
  • From what I understand Sammy owns Mobile sales. I am ok with that as every Android sale adds to Microsoft's pockets. Would be nice if iOS & BB had to pay MS as well but you take what you can get.
  • Based on your logic MS might as well abandon Windows phone and just make their money off Android since it sells so much better.
  • Any profit MS gets is good and that's a cut off google's profits. So ya good for MS. Money is money. Try running a business and you might get it.
  • Except, I don't believe that google makes a dime on the phone. They get their cut from the market place. And all the usage data they can mine from you using the phone.
  • Carriers will sell it if they have it.. Damn who would've thought samsung is no.1
  • It makes sense. Carriers want WP to be the 3rd ecosystem. They also want a 3rd dominant phone maker in Nokia. Carriers don't want to be a biatch to Google and Samsung. A smart decision on their part if you ask me.
  • I disagree, at least in the US, rim will be on all four major carriers, plus rim has more market share worldwide, if the carriers wanted #3 this would be their horse, although I personally have not had a good experience with previous blackberries and love my wp8
  • I don't believe this. Carriers are pretty much whores. Why wouldn't they want to sell more phones, regardless of operating system. A unit is a unit is a unit. Also, if Samsung wanted to they could just release the unlocked phones in MS store, or online retailers and sell them that way.
  • Thanks a lot. I didn't think of that but that says it all. And No Samsung wouldn't overtake Nokia in wp sales, i mean they weren't able to do that with wp7 for 2 years so why would they able to do that now without changing their attitude towards wp. Sgs 3 got its own unvailing event but ativ s? Samsung is doing a lot more to support Android in comparision to Wp8. Samsung doesn't deserve my money in Wp section as far as i am concerned but that doesn't mean the ativ s is a bad device, its just not enough to sway me to Samsungs side.
  • I would've gotten an ativ before my 920
  • To be perfectly honest, yes... yes, I do think this is a plausible explanation. I look at Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint in the US (T-Mobile never strikes me as hostile towards customers, but maybe it's because I don't have any experience with them), and all I see is 3 companies that have a long history of screwing us over with contracts, exclusives, lack of support when you need it, and junkwared phones, and it's not hard for me to picture the claim being true.
    Samsung, in particular, would make a killing if they had two platforms to dominate, although I think that if Windows Phone becomes that popular, HTC, Nokia, and Samsung would all be fighting pretty hard for that top spot.
  • My girlfriend has t- mobile (off topic but just fyi) and they actually seem downright good to their customers. She got her Lumia 810 when it was still 150 and she walked out having paid just over 50 with a super reasonable monthly bill
  • I sooooooooooooo wanted this phone....  so much I started to read about Samsung phones, and the Note II, and with Sprint being so lame...   I ended up ordering a Note II on T-Mobile......  
    if only Sprint would have picked this phone up, I would have stuck with Spring and WP8
  • MaYbe Its Because of the copy paste effect of the galaxy line.
  • Everyone loves Samsung but they're garbage phones. My wife's S3 was garbage compares to her Razr M.
  • I agree with this. I had two phones from Sammy and ended up hating both of them.
  • Well I still remember the good old days when NOKIA dictated everything in cellphones. As I recall it, carriers were never too happy with that. So I'm not surprised if they wish to prevent a Nokia 2 with Samsung. That said, there are also carriers suspicious of the quality of Windows Phone (Vodafone is one of them and remember T-Mobile even considered not even getting the WP8 devices). So I would split the blame on this. Sure the carriers will have a say in this launch failure of Samsung's WP, but Microsoft also has part of the blame since it wasn't yet able to convince people of the OS's qualities (For example, the most spoken qualities of the new WP8 phones here are all connected with Nokia and with Nokia's hardware. The only thing people speak regarding WP is the colour tiles.) Oh and also...Samsung holds the Galaxy brand. Which is basically the center of Android World. It's an herculean task to try and make a phone from the same company with a different OS stand out. And it has to be Microsoft to do that. 'cause let's face you see Samsung saying "look, buy this Ativ instead of this Galaxy"? Yeah. I don't think so too.
  • Just bring to market the damn Surface phone already.
  • I wanted the ATIV S but it wasn't available when my 900 started acting up (it wouldn't charge) so I was forced to get the 920. I am very happy, but still wish I could have had the ATIV S
  • Nokia has Pureview and that smooth refresh rate thingie and lots of exclusive apps. HTC's design is colorful and thinner. Samsung just released a GS3 with Windows Phone 8 on it. As HTC and Nokia realized before, boring old Android hand-me-down chassis aren't going to cut it.
  • Personally like the look of the gs3. Was waiting for the ativ s to go to Verizon but they got the odyssey? Oh well, their loss, love my 8X.
  • This is not true. Its not because of carriers. Its samsung.
    You guys may be thinking that carriers may be holding back the release of the ATIV products.
    Let me explain the situation in India where there are no carrier contracts.
    The only windows phone samsung released in India is omnia w (focus flash). They also released Omnia M after discontinuing the omnia W. Both has almost similar specs except slightly bigger screen size.Omnia M is never avaialable in retail stores.
    They did not release any other windows phone in India till now. They never promoted the omnia W on TV or news papers.
    But on android side they released almost every phone in India. That too within a month or sometimes even earlier than US.
    Check this link:
     This is on the flipkart (amazon of india). I sorted all samsung phones (android + windows + feature phones).
    You dont find any windows phones out there because the only released omnia w & M is dicsontinued.
    Just yesterday they also released the galaxy grand in India (first country to get this phone I guess). Its a 5 inch WVGA phone with all other specs same as S2.
    Lets check the HTC track record in India:
    HTC released radar in India 2011 although at very high prices compared to omnia w and lumia 710. Again no marketing at all. It failed miserably.
    This year they released 8x and 8s. 8x is priced 10% more than one X. Retail avaiability is very bad in my city which is a very big one. The truth is this will also fail very badly.
    Now lets check Nokia:
    They released 800 and 710 in India within one month of their launch in London. They were priced more than S2 at that time. But nokia put a lot of effort in promoting the phones. But they did not get much traction because of the price.
    Later they reduced the prices of those devices and also released lumia 610 and recently (october) they released Lumia 510. 510 is selling well.
    They are promoting 510 very well on TV ads.
    They recently launched 920 and 820 in India and will release the 620 in early february. They are marketing 920 heavily.
    Nokia is single handendly promoting the windows phone in India. I never seen any marketing from microsoft also on TVs though they are promoting windows 8 heavily with those dumb dance videos. (There is no way anyone going to know what they are trying to promote with those ads but lets talk only phones here).
    So the fact is its not the carriers that are blocking the ATIV phones. Its the samsung. They dont need windows phone to get billions of money. They are getting free OS and they are already selling millions of phones. SO why waste money on Windows phones.
    One more thing they did not release any windows tablets in India. Although they announced prices they are never avaialble in retail even in their own samsung stores. But you can find at least all samsung android tablets everywhere.
    Windows phone need surface phone more than windows 8 needs surface RT & surface pro.
  • +1 thx for the detailed update.
  • Thanks a lot. Thats exactly what i was saying. I just hope people would read this and know who is at fault. Its samsung there is no doubt about that. Trying to find the blame elsewhere is pointless.
  • Thanks for the write-up. What you write makes sense to me.
  • All this talk about "carriers screwing people over" is pathetic and small. Aren't happy? Switch companies. Give up your cell phone. Can't do it because of early termination fees? That's your own fault. Quit being some woe-is-me chump playing the blame game.
  • Carrier exclusivity deals of the kind we have in the US is just another example of how the carriers are holding Windows Phone back.
  • So, it's the carrier's fault that Nokia made an ATT exclusive deal for the 920?  I think that was a HUGE strategic mistake by Nokia.  Samsung had just showed the world how to make a launch of a new device (other than an iPhone) with it's GS3 launch worldwide with NO carrier exclusive changes - the only differences from an ATT to Verizon to Sprint to T-Mo to Worldwide is different radios for the different networks - otherwise all GS3's look the same.
  • Third Galaxy S iteration. Brand is there. Same cannot be said for Lumias, though.
  • Nokia HAD to play that game here to get any phones out to the consumer. You don't see this anywhere near this level of exclusivity BS anywhere else in the world. The only other example in Europe was a mere 2-3 month deal, not half a year.
  • I was looking forward to a big screen and an expandable card slot.  Everyone at work was going to the Ativ S but now we have people going to other devices.
  • I think the whole things is that Samsung is trying to avoid confusion between their galaxy line and the Ativ since they look very similar
  • I would like these manufacturers to sell the phone outright. If the could do that at a competitive price it gives me the flexibility to be ruthless to the carriers... Just a thought....
  • +1
  • You can currently buy any mobile outright from any carrier and from eBay and online retailers... You're spoilt for choice! But I agree that it would be better to buy directly and bypass the middlemen
  • This idiot Korean just know how to steal others thing and blame others fault, everyone faults but not themselves! Go screw your own ass Korean!
  • Samsung suck anyway the Nokia lumia 920 rules XD!
  • i don't believe it, a korean report...hmmm
    anyways, i couldn't care less if it was a conspiracy against samsung, you cant say they don't deserve some grief for the crap they've pulled over the past few years (memory chip price fixing, anyone??)
  • No one is to blame but Samsung itself. Manufacturers make deals with operators and operators do subsidize on phones to get our contract. So wherever they save more, and price suits consumers, they sign.
    Regardless, I do believe in my humble opinion that Nokia is the best WP out there at the moment. I have tried all, and must say Lumia 920 first, 820 second, and then Samsung in third.
  • That's why Microsoft better off having there own Microsoft brand phone So we don't have wait for phone carriers
  • For me samsung is dead.
  • If you want to buy an android device its Samsung however if you want to buy a WP device then go for Nokia they provide you excellent support and also have a huge collection of apps exclusively for Nokia lens is one of also has better build quality and are officia WP partners with Microsoft
  • There are a lot of articles about carriers wanting to be less dependent on Android and pushing other OSs. Now apparently they want to weaken Samsungs dominance. But either this isn't communicated down to the stores and sales staff or it's just not happening where i live. All websites from the major carriers in my county feature Android phones on the start page and almost all of them are Samsung. When i walked in a store a few weeks back inquiring about windows phone, the htc 8x and the availabilty of the Lumia 920 which just came out 10 days ago in my region, i got a blank stare from the sales clerc who then had go and check if they even offered that device. Upon coming back he informed me that they are indeed selling the HTC 8x even though it's not listed on their website, but asked me if i was sure because i could get like a GS 3 for (insert appropirate prize). In my country the carriers obvoiusly still push Andorid and Samsung. 
  • Funny that the carriers think Samsung has to much power..when I think it's the carriers who have to much power
  • Samsung can make people buy any os
  • I bypassed my carrier's (fido) phone selections and picked up Bell's ATIV S outright., unlocking of course I did my research and I was not disappointed. Everything from the size, weight, battery life and look all makes me happy.
  • Spot on!!!
  • I just got the Ativ S tonight from Rogers in Canada. It is an amazing phone. I had the Focus and loved it. I love the speed and the slick design. The 4.8 screen is nice and great HD quality. I highly recommend.