Sony “currently investigating” Windows Phone 8 but makes no commitments

How we feel about Sony adopting Windows Phone 8

Sony Mobile Communications is one of those finicky OEMs who are constantly adjusting their strategy as the market changes around them. Actually, that’s hardly a bad position to take and that seems to be the case with their position on Windows Phone 8 as well.

In a recent interview with Mobile Magazine, Sony Mobile’s UK & Ireland MD Pierre Perron discussed their latest stance on Microsoft...

“Sony’s strategy is one of openness. Microsoft is a Sony partner with the likes of our VAIO laptops and it’s integrated onto our tablets. As far as Xperia smartphones go, Android remains the preferred partner, although Sony is not a single partner company. We are currently investigating with the likes of Microsoft the possibility of diversifying our product strategy.”

The last part has raised a few eyebrows in the tech world as it could very likely mean that Sony may become another big OEM to join the Windows Phone 8 revolution.

Or maybe not.

That quote is certainly better than the earlier opinion that “no one cares about WP7” and it lends come credence to the earlier rumor, but Sony has had a long history of toying with Windows Mobile and Windows Phone. Back in 2010, Sony even had a ‘Julie’ prototype phone with Windows Phone 7 on board—but then the company evidently backed out.

An Xperia Windows Phone could have a lot of potential

Likewise, in early 2011, they had a similar position for the media on the same topic:

“We absolutely maintain to keep an open mind towards Windows Phone 7. We continue to engage in a relationship with Microsoft, but we haven’t made any concrete announcement about when and how we would introduce Windows Phone 7 into the portfolio.”

From what we understand, companies like Sony, Asus, Acer and other non-committed partners keep a skeleton crew of engineers working on Windows Phone prototypes—allowing them to try the new OS and see what they can do with it. We’re quite confident that Sony probably has a few test devices with Windows Phone 8 for their engineers to experiment on. Companies do this because if they want to shift strategy, they don’t want to look around the room and ask “Okay, who do we hire to get started”.

And that’s what we think Sony means here. Along with Windows 8 Desktop for computers and tablets, Windows Phone 8 must have come up as part of the licensing package at some point. Our position is Sony will take a wait-and-see approach on how well Windows Phone 8 is received and perhaps may join the Microsoft mobile camp in 2013 if they are impressed (and like what they can negotiate).

In other words, while this sounds good, we’re far from calling this a home run just yet. Consider it to be friendly PR and nothing more.

Source: Mobile Magazine; Thanks, bilzkh, for the tip

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Who cares? Honestly Nokia is the only maker I care about. Sony makes shitty phones anyway.
  • +1
  • Who cares? People with common sense. You should always compare phones and everything else when you shop.
  • +1
    The more the merrier. I won't hold my breath but I'd welcome Sony to Windows Phone any day just to see what they have to show. Why not?
  • My thoughts exactly "The more the merrier."
    But with one glaring food for thought. A Sony product with XBOX Live? Blasphemy?
  • Hahaha, I never realized that before. That would be pretty funny if Sony did make a device for WP.
  • Um, Sony VAIO computers will have access to Xbox Live with Windows 8. Plus, Sony Mobile functions like a separate company.
  • So true.
  • Sony? I seam to recall this little thing from Sony "No one cares about windows phone" when ask if they were going to make a WP7.5 device. Not so funny now is it Sony? stuff it.
  • When companies put out a statement like this, they are seeing if consumers would be receptive to their new offering. Executives from Sony likely read comments like those on WP Central. To read such disparaging feedback from the WP community does not encourage new oem's to come on board. Smarten up!!
  • I remember reading that statement and thinking, what a bunch of idiots! their loss..
  • Windows PCs have run Xbox live for years, though it was disguised as Games for Windows. And with Windows 8 you'll get xbl on your start screen by default. On Sony PCs too, and they don't seem to mind.
  • Exactly. I never thought I'd have an LG phone, but here I am smitten with my Quantum. If Sony made a phone with the features I want and that is reliable then great!
  • Actually, we should care about Sony support because finally some technology leaders (like them or not) are starting to understand that Microsoft has such a dominant set of integrated system platforms.  Windows Phone 8 is a key Smartphone ecosystem, while the Computer/Tablet ecosystem has Windows 8 and the Living Room ecosystem has Xbox.  Important comapnies now see that Microsoft has it right while Google/Android and Apple only have 1 or 2 pieces to the puzzle.  When was the last time you played on a Google or Apple gaming system?  Sony may not be important for the Experia Windows 8 Phone they come out with in 2013 - but they are important for driving a total Microsoft Platform Message.  And as Windows Phone 8 hits the market, it will need all of the help and support it can get.  (Heck, even today we can see that a technology company like Verizon doesn't get it.  The more companies backing Microsoft the better.)
  • Nobody cares about Sony.
  • +1
  • Sony cares about Sony :)
  • I don't care about Sony, but I do care about me. If I need a phone and Sony makes one to my liking then I will buy it. Strange how that works.
  • This type of comment is stupid in the extreme. Quite clearly some people care about Sony or they would go out of business. I'd go so far as to say, some people care enough about Sony that seeing a Sony handset in the store might be the impetus they need to jump to WP8. And tell me, how is that a bad thing? To put in simple terms, the greater spread of handsets that there are, the greater the penetration WP8 will make into the consumer consciousness!
  • I love my Nokia, but Sony always was on par with Nokia, in making beautiful devices. I really wish they would decide to make some devices for the platform too. I would support both companies.
  • Plus I think Sony, really need to get over the dumping of Windows Mobile platform.
  • This is just a continued PR stunt by Sony.  They don't make any money with Google, yet their Vaio products do sell pretty well, which runs Windows.  Besides, why would they partner with Microsoft for Windows Phone?  Microsoft isn't going to remove Xbox Live from it, which would be HUGE competitive nightmare for the PS division.
  • Microsoft isn't removing Xbox Live from Windows 8 PCs either and yet Sony is shipping Vaios with Windows 8.
  • Plus Sony Mobile is different from Sony Gaming--they basically operate as different companies. It's like Microsoft but even more siloed and just think of how many times MS screwed over WP in favor of the iPhone e.g. PhotoSynth. Sony would do the same too because the president of Sony Mobile only cares about one thing SONY MOBILE.
  • Maybe in the past they operated as seperate companies, but the new CEO - Kazuo Hirai - seems intent on changing it. See his 'One Sony' speech for further reference.
  •  “no one cares about WP7”  Since when has a lack of consumer interest ever stopped Sony from putting out a product? (see PS Vita <40K sales, Xperia phones, Android tablets, MP3 Walkman, etc., etc.)
  • Don't forget Betamax, memory sticks and MD's
  • Dont pick on Mini Disc... I was a huge fan (had home, car and portable devices at one point) one point
  • Not saying it's great or anything, but they've sold over 2 million Vitas. So try not to make up sales numbers next time.
  • The NPD numbers for Vita this month were under 40K. The platform is dead.
  • The Vita is not going anywhere. They are having low numbers of new games coming out but, there is a LOT in the next few months.
    I have one and it's best portable device I  have ever owned, it really is PS3 /Xbox 360 level graphics, it's a pretty epic device...
    It blows away the 3DS (yea, i have one of those too)
  • Sounds to me like the thing that would cause Sony to NOT do a Windows Phone is one thing, and one thing begins with x and ends with x(XBOX integration)..
  • Then why are they putting out Windows 8 PCs which also have Xbox Live integration? Same level of Xbox integration on WP8 and Windows 8.
  • Snap. Was just thinking the same. It doesn't make sense the whole Xbox thing since they will be on win8
  • Don't you think they just might make a PS3 Windows Phone App? MS would be dense to not let them write an App to integrate with the PS3.
  • x2, Sony Windows Phones, the only phone with Xbox AND PS3 integration?
  • After they totally neglected WP7 I couldn't care less.
    Sony who... ?
  • I loved Sony for many many years but they fell behind, charged too much, and took stances that I feel were anti-consumer. The first 2 can be changed pretty quickly, but the sentiment towards Sony- outside of PS3 enthusiasts is worse by the day. I remember when everyone was a Sony die-hard. Now I don't know a single one.
  • Hey back in the day they had some world class Xperia WM phones at least. Give me one with a metal keyboard like their first one and I'm all in.
  • Exactly! Let them have a shot!
  • I would totally welcome Sony on board, the more OEM's on board, the better... But they would never see my cash
  • That's an answer Sony Mobile can live with.
  • I've loved my ps3 and VAIO laptop but I can't see giving up my lumia 900 for a Sony WP. It could be my second choice though.
  • "...who are constantly adjusting their strategy as the market changes around them"
    Sounds like a company that doesn't have much of a future.
  • Meanwhile in Redmond, MS adjusts the market to fit their strategy since the '80s.
  • I hope Sony makes a phone that would be awesome fore Sony fans who want windows phone COME ON SONY
  • That fence is getting mighty full.
  • seriously they can throw away all other oem's and use Nokia for all cell carriers.
  • Not everybody is in love with Nokia
  • Exactly, I really wish they'd stop crapping every article about another OEM.
  • Yea im a Nokia fan but Microsoft is about everyone not just certain people so im glad Sony might make a phone and others as well
  • Don't care if Sony makes a Windows Phone! Stay home Sony!
  • Even if they do WP will always play second fiddle to android for them meaning lackluster devices and no support. Not really something that interests me.
  • didnt xbox knock Sony off its gaming pedestal? doubt they have much of a serious plan to use windows other then publicity for the name Sony.
  • U know Sony gaming and Microsoft gaming on the same phone would be a killer tho lol it give all in one a whole new meaning
  • Fuck Sony and their uninspired hardware including their tvs and ps3.
  • If you're making a statement of non-committal then you're just trying to inject yourself into a conversation to get noticed. With Nokia generating all the Windows Phone news, Sony must have felt a little neglected.
  • Nokia just took the bar to a great height. I'd be scared to jump in as well if I were Sony. My next device WILL be the 920. Period.
  • +
  • They want to let the bandwagon get rolling, then jump on.
  • They're going to try to jump on but they won't catch the wagon
  • WP8 with PS3 Apps on it would be a dream come true. I know that seems dumb with the 360 vs PS3 thing but it would be the perfect match for me.
  • +1
  • What PS3 apps ?
  • Looking at their current Android phones - they are the shit. Especially the camera sensors that they use. Their displays are pretty great as well. Ever since the Xperia S and its bretheren came out I think they've been tops in the Android world as far as design chops are concerened.
    I would absolutely love if they started making Xperia WP8 handsets.
  • How can they be tops when all you here about in the Android world is the Galaxy series, droid, & Razr????
  • Can you not read? I specifically said they were tops as far as design went. You think the RAZR, the Galaxy Nexus or the SII look better than the Xperia S, or the Xperia TX?
    If so, you might want to get your eyes checked.
  • Windows Phone 8 Xperia PLAY: The only phone that plays Xbox LIVE games and classic PlayStation titles! Yes, a silly wink to Sony's Xperia PLAY, the "PlayStation Phone", but it would raise the eyebrows of more than one gamer.
  • It would but everybody would profit. XBLA (WP) gets classic PSX titles w/ achievements and we buy them. Sony, MS, & Customers profit! Of course, this would probably never happen.
  • I can actually see this happening because of Microsoft allowing OEMs their own store to set up exclusive apps, similar to how they're doing it on Windows Phone they can do on Windows 8. Port all those PSX games to Windows with minor coding could work on Windows 8 then allow it to sync positions to Playstation Network. Wow that would be awesome for gaming. I don't think Nokia could top that if Sony went out of their way to make gaming exclusive for their devices. Its a win win situation, Microsoft gets a piece of the pie and Sony thrives on.
  • this is a pretty smart move to be honest. if windowsphone 8 doesnt do well with htc,nokia and now samsung then sony shouldnt waste their money.
  • Its a retarded move to wait. The android market is saturated. That's why Sony doesn't make money off of it and neither does HTC. You don't build a house in a neighborhood or area filled with foreclosed properties. And the barrier to entry where there are no foreclosed properties become increasingly high (major cities for example).
  • What's to "investigate"? 
    Alright SONY, here
  • Translation-If MS puts a BD drive in its next Xbox we will have W8 phones.
  • Nope. Sony Mobile runs its own show. They don't give a shit about putting conditions like that. Sony Mobile will jump in if they feel they can make a profit, just like any other business.
  • Sony & MS have had a terrific, relationship over the years outside of the consoles.  Would Sony be able get a PSN hub?  Would Sony allow the XBL hub on their phone? I don't see either happening but it would be cool to have a "system" with both on it without have to hack the phone.
  • Ditto, nothing will come of this
  • Is Sony going to block the Xbox hub in their Windows 8 PCs? I don't see why this would matter to them on phones? In fact there's no reason why Sony couldn't fill their exclusive OEM store with exclusive Playstation titles that are not available on any other Windows Phone. The Nokia store is getting exclusive EA and Zynga games exclusive. Sony can do the same with Playstation titles.
  • Sony clearly hasnt heard of first mover advantage. LulZ
  • Oh, i would love to see a high end WP8 device come from the Sony camp. I think that would be pure class, just like the Nokia 920. Fingers crossed that Sony do think anout WP8. 
  • I'm sure Sony doesn't give a crap about you, either.
  • Appropriate image for the article: SONY & WP are Make Believe.
  • Hahaha, nice catch!
  • Sony using crappy android. They should Sony windows phone 8
  • Personally, I think Sony makes some very nice products, so I would like to see what they'd do with WP8. I love my Titan, so I'm really waiting anxiously for the HTC announcement, but the more OEMs the better.
  • Just throw a Sony only PS app on it
  • Besides Samsung, are there any OEMs making decisive gamechanging inroads with Android? I think this reality, as well as the flexibility for hardware differentiation, OEM customization, etc. afforded in Windows Phone 8 is going to draw OEMs such as HTC, Sony, Acer, Asus, etc. into the WP sphere. XBOX might be a scant issue of concern for Sony, they can always pre-load the Sony Entertainment Network (through Music, Video and PlayStation apps) to the phone. It can differentiate itself further with hardware such as the Bravia screen, heck maybe bring in a camera brand and load up with OEM exclusive apps, particularly for PSN users. There's a lot of room to thrive provided Sony puts in the effort towards hardware quality, marketing and pushing to consumers.  But let us wait and see...
  • Exactly just like Nokia has its own app selection and HTC, Samsung can very well do the same thing: make psn games exclusive to their phones
  • they acting like a little girl i want but i don't want oh i want it i want it not sure if i want it  :( either its a yes or no make your mind >:|
    anyways its warm welcome if its happens another windows phone 8 supporter always good 
  • Everyone I know that owns or have ever owned an Xperia, has had their phone crash a lot, and all of them has had really poor performance. Of course this might just be a coincidence......
  • Nope... The Ericsson line crashed a lot too. Sony just make shite phones
  • I think all carriers where waiting to commit until the release of wp8 as we all know wp7 was not good enough as Android & WP 7.5 is but we are missing a bunch of apps so wp8 should be the right time to start making devices
  • Sony down!!!!! they have this one phone I think it's the xperia p would look so cool with window phone .
  • If Sony mane a phone with a physical qwerty keyboard, I'm sold.
  • Made*
  • I ran the Xperia X1 till the microphone died and still used it as a pocket PC. (And I am hard as hell on my phones. I still recall the sound of the aluminum battery door coming off when I would drop it. The X1 was proof that good hardware can come out of Sony. Their software just sucks and being able to customize (read: destroy) Android is screwing them over in quality. So WP7 instead of their tweaked Android junk would be phenomenal.
  • I still have my Sony Xperia X1 and it is still working except the qwerty keyboard is kind of crappy, but it was ahead of its time.
  • While the xperia handsets are not the best out there, a lot of their issues have to do with the android os and the amount of optimization an oem has to do to make it work well. I feel like Sony could really leverage their vaio brand to make some handsets that could be popular with mainstream customers, especially if they also make some win8 tablets as well. Also, while I like Nokia, the more the merrier as far as the general ecosystem goes.
  • Sony will wait this out. They're loosing money in almost all areas they'll be too scared too open a new one. If they come on board, it'll probably be thru an under-powered device anyway. So see ya or maybe not, don't care!
  • Meh. My Sony Ericsson was the worst phone I've ever owned, and will never buy their crap again. They should stick to Televisions. (oh and I suppose laptops & Playstation)
  • Sony did run Windows Mobile for its Xperia 1 smartphone. I would love them to adopt Windows Phone. They make high quality phones, plus really good cameras.
  • Had the P800, P900 & Xperia X1 paid $500 to $800 per phone. Only problem, after you spent your money, Sony never wanted to spend their money to update the phones. So they always had plenty of BUGS! Good looking phones, but who cares if they don't work properly.
  • If even HTC is struggling to make profits with Android, I can't imagine how bad it is for Sony. As for me, Nokia will always be my 1st choice but I'd like to see what Sony can do with WP8
  • This is just my opinion but if I can suggest anything to Sony is that, take the WP way. Why? Because that's the only way they can really form their 'One Sony' mantra w/ little risks. What about Xbox? As Sony, what about it, don't mind. Seriously. Here's how: Differentiation. Put a larger tile on Start screen for all stuffs PS3, new color accent, xclusive wallpapers/tones, an exclusive PS3 collection in Marketplace for WP smartphones. You do the same thing for Vaio Win8 Pro/RT, your PS3 loyal devs are now smiling. Imagine playing God of War (I'm a girl yes but I love that game) on WP and PC/RT, that's a game changer for Sony in my opinion. Release an iPod-like mp3 player and do the same having a PS3 store. Do a deal for PSP if no better alternatives for Bing/Nokia Maps augmented reality capabilities IE10 will also help. The Differentiation? It's only on Sony. Everything Sony. The once problematic Xbox Live will now work for your advantage. That's a HUGE extra. Because not only will PS3 be on WP, they also will be on PC/RT, all other consumer products like MP3 players will have PS3, and all this while having an empowered new Playstation and PSP. All PS3 loyals and devs will have the best gaming experience on the planet while being able to keep their One Sony . And many, many more. If that happens, Nintendo is so gonna be coldly perspiring in the background that would have to find their own deal somewhere. But that's just me, I mean what do I know, I'm not a CEO, just a regular consumer.
  • The verge is android troll site
  • They blocked me
  • I don't think this will happen. If Sony helps Microsoft, hat effectively means they are helping Xbox Live. They couldn't bing PlayStation Suite to it, because that would be challenging Microsoft and they don't allow that on their platform. So I doubt we will ever see this, sadly.
  • Sony should make the S Vita (S for Sony)... to compete with the ATIV S... Think of the headlines :
    S VITA vs. ATIV S... wow, am i seeing double? jejeje
  • When companies put out a statement like this, they are seeing if consumers would be receptive to their new offering. Executives from Sony likely read comments like those on WP Central. To read such disparaging feedback from the WP community does not encourage new oem's to come on board.
  • Except that on other previous occasions they've practically called the WP7 platform not good enough. That's where most of the Ill-will here originally came from.
  • The more OEM's the better.
    Maybe Sony sees the way the wind is blowing...
    And with wp8 maybe they can make a decent phone again...
  • I think one of the coolest things about Windows Phone is that each OEM and carrier gets to have an exclusive app store. Sony could populate their WP8 store with Playstation titles. In fact I've even suggested that Nintendo build their next handheld platform on top of Windows Phone. If they created a dual screen windows phone with an exclusive store for DS games there would be no threat of piracy because the games require special hardware that no other Windows Phone has. Nintendo also gets a large app suite and smartphone functionality that keeps them competitive with iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • That sounds like a typical non-response to me.  "Not at this time, but we're looking into it".  Corporate echo-chamber-speak for "No".
  • Agree! What Sony said is quite similar to "Don't-call-us-we'll-call-you" kind of thing.