Skip to main content

Sony and Microsoft reportedly in talks for a Windows Phone device in 2014

File this under wishful thinking, but The Information, a new tech website founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, is reporting that Sony and Microsoft are in talks for a new Windows Phone next year. The report cites an unnamed but trusted source on the matter, though they note that nothing is yet signed between the companies.

Should such a deal come forward, it will reportedly fall under Sony’s VAIO brand, which has seen modest success in the Windows 8 world. Sony used to make reasonably successful Windows Mobile devices, and they were on board with Windows Phone 7, back when Microsoft announced the OS in Barcelona in early 2010. In fact, Sony Ericsson had the ‘Jolie’ prototype circulating before backing out at the last minute.

Sony Ericsson 'Jolie' Windows Phone 7 prototype (2010)

Since that time, Sony has always said the door was open to make another Windows Phone device, but at least back in March of 2012, they said “no one really cares about WP”.

Could Sony be re-thinking their strategy? Since Windows Phone was never off of the table and Sony makes Windows PCs, it’s always a possibility. But until something is signed, these talks may not too significant as we imagine Microsoft routinely pushes Windows Phone to OEMs when Windows 8 licensing comes up. Still, if it were to happen it would generally be regarded as a big win, even if future-owned Nokia currently controls 92% of the Windows Phone market.

In the same report, ZTE is considered to be another player that Microsoft wants to reinvigorate with Windows Phone, in addition to the reduction or even dropping of licensing fees that has previously been reported. ZTE only last month was cited to be returning to Windows Phone in 2014, so that’s not really news at this point.

The timing would suggest that both companies – Sony and ZTE – are waiting for Windows Phone 8.1, which is expected to launch on new hardware in June. That "big push" by Microsoft would be an opportune time for new OEMs to launch their new hardware, catching the wave of free publicity. 

For now, we’ll just remain skeptical, as we’ve heard this story before. While we don't doubt talks are taking place, we are cautious about it meaning anything.

Source: The Information (opens in new tab); via: Engadget; Thanks, everyone, for the tips

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Oh. My. God.
  • And just when I bought a 1520 XD oh well either way not a bad choice :)
  • Mu thoughts exactly! Sony is the only other product I would want for a WP. The Xperia Z is top notch
  • Yes
  • Sony didn't do remarkably well with android which is still dominated by Samsung in the higher and lower end segment. Even HTC have done better compared to Sony. So its high time they seek alternative platforms.. There are so many Sony fans out there who will keep buying Sony irrespective of platforms.. WP should really benefit from sonys entry. Now that the giant tree that was nokia is not casting a shadow small saplings can sprout and become big themselves. I sincerely hope MS does what is expected of them with WP 8.1.
  • They would also produce the only waterproof Windows Phone if they choose to go their current route, so that would make me want to buy one of their phones over all others. The peace of mind of having a waterproof phone is not realized until a person owns one for a while, and then that person goes back to using a non-waterproof phone. I want a waterproof phone again!
  • Ultra❕
  • +1 Assuming it has the attention to quality music playback that other Sony's do.  At a minimum, ability to do digital out into a portable DAC (I stil don't understand why the Lumias/WP8 didn't incorporate this functionality). It looks as though 2014 is getting even more interesting for MS/WP8.  
  • Don't worry. Sony is releasing phone after phone. They just released the Z1 and the Z2 is already on the wings for an early 2014 release lol
  • Its gonna have really wow me to pull me away. It was hard convincing me to pull away from the 920 to get the 1520.
  • That's crazy to think a phone manufacturer would release phones in fast succession to address shortcomings! Crazy I tell you! CRAZYYYYY. \s
  • Heh, I think you'll be all right. Even if something is confirmed, we won't see anything from Sony for a good while yet.
  • Nice! I wish that they also bring the PS4 companion app to WP.
  • Eww...
  • Might actually give Microsoft the kick in the rear they need to get behind Xbox on WP so I'd actually like to see it, for that reason alone.
  • I though the same thing when I read that.
  • +1
  • Yes! Just because we're Windows Phone owners doesn't mean we're Xbox owners. I'm sure there's plenty of people who use a Windows Phone that have a PS4 (I'm one of them and I love it).
  • Me too! A PS4 and three PS3's. (Bought #3 instead of buying a blu-ray player). Just because some of us switched from apple, doesn't mean we have to switch to Xbox. Although, I do own an Xbox for Kinect. Just doesn't get used anywhere near the PlayStations. (If at all)
  • True, but in my case, I'm a WP and PC user. For the latter, I also use if for gaming as I have never been a big fan of consoles to begin with.
  • That's what I've thought!Sony could make benefits by bringing PS4 companion app to WP along with Xbox,or replace Xbox live,still not bad for Microsoft
  • There's something about Sony that people are just excited about when it to WP. What is it?
  • I have NO idea. I just don't get it either. Years of successful consumer branding?
  • I think that's exactly what it is. Sony is one of the oldest and most recognized brands in the consumer electronics market.
  • The "well recognized brand" has not helped their Android cause. When it comes to WP, news just viral. You'll see every tech sight buzzing about it.
  • The only reason I'd be excited for a Sony Windows Phone is that it would mean that WP8 could finally launch in Japan. Currently they're stuck on WP7 with no new devices sold for years because of the Japanese market's restrictive policies. Having a domestic OEM would open the door. It shouldn't be that way, but such is the jingoistic Japanese market.
  • Agreed!
  • For me, the 15 year old Sony ES (Elite Series) home theater gear that is still going strong, and gives a lot of new gear a run for its money (i use it to run our Xbox 360).  Sony still puts out great music gear, the biggest area where WP is lacking.
  • Honestly for me its the hardware :P I have a vaio PC f series from 2009 and it has never let me down once and the hardward has with stood alot and is still kicking hard like the day I got it that's why I want a Sony windows phone
  • It's because Sony was Apple before there was Apple... without the douchy fan-love.  For years and years, if you wanted something truly revolutionary with a "sexy" design- it was a Sony. Not saying we all secretly love Apple- far from it.  Just saying Sony has a reputation for building really cool, really cool-looking products.  Would love to have them in the WP fold.
  • Sony is the only brand that comes close to Nokia quality-wise and camera-wise.
  • You must be joking lol, Sony's quality in pretty every all of their products other than the PS brand has gone to shit in the last 10-15 years, mostly because they got cheap and outsourced a lot of their previously in-house built parts, like TV screens. Sony may have been synomous with quality in the 80's and early 90's but not they are synonmous with crap.
  • I've been using Sony products for years and I still do. None has ever given me problems whatsoever. So your opinion is your own and your statements are based on your experience alone (I hope you're speaking from personal experience).
    I'll say this: no Sony product ever died on me after 6 just months. My Surface did.
  • My opinion is based on the fact that Sony went from leading the market to trailing the market in pretty much all of the industries they are in. Sony outsources too much now to be able to easily control quality, which is why their TV screens went to shit years back, while they got surpassed by Panasonic, Samsung, and Sharp. Since Sony and Ericsson split it seems like the quality of their phones are starting to drop too, not surprising really.  
  • I respectfully disagree with pretty much all your statements UNLESS you're thinking only about the US market. In Europe not only Sony is a top vendor on TVs and laptops, but their Xperia phones are also very popular.
    And of course, there's the music and film industry and the Playstation. And the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One worldwide. So...again...I disagree with you. Also, have you tried any Xperia to say that? Because I have and I never felt unsafe with its quality (even though I would prefer polycarbonate to tempered glass).
  • Typical fanboy trying to turn it into a vs. argument. Who cares if it is outselling the X1, they are both PoS's right now with their own issues, including quality. And the Music/Film industry, which they are well known for making dick moves and are generally disliked? Sony once ruled consumer electronics but their empire has since fallen apart and it is generally due to a lack of quality in comparison to previous products. In pretty much every industry  they are in they are trailing the pack, and that is certianly not due to excellent quality. Their products work, that is about it, they don't fail on a regular basis but they aren't of exceptional quality either. 
  • Why am I arguing with you? Think what you like. If you want to believe in unicorns, go ahead.
    And have a happy 2014.
  • I was thinking the same, and I am a large part Scottish..of course I believe in Unicorns :P And same to you.
  • DJCBS is anything but a fanboy. I have read enough of his posts to know that much. The reason Sony lost market share was not because they outsourced. It was because the Koreans started selling TV Sets that were 90% as good at 50% the price. You always need a bread-winner line to support your premium line. Sony lost that when the Koreans joined the party. Their drop in quality and outsourcing is actually what kept them afloat this long. They are still innovators in the high end unlike Samsung and LG.   As for your comments about the Playstation line losing quality, I really have no idea what you are talking about. After having owned and used multiple playstations spanning several genertions, they are still the de-facto standard for hardware in that respect. You shouldn't be comparing a Playstation with its predecessor. What you should be doing is comparing it against its competition at the time to determine "relative" quality and innovation.
  • @DJCBS. Now your credibility has sunk to the abyss and I don't believed you ever bought Surface. I have had nine different computers since 2003 and seven of them have been Sony. I own Sony Bravia 3D TV and Iam a proud owner of a long list of Sony cameras including Dsc Tx 100v, NEX 5R and A7. Apart from my Bose home theater speakers everything in my living room is basically Sony and Iam not ashamed to be called Sony fanboy but non of my numerous products from Sony can be compared to my Surface Pro and Surface. I bought Sony Vaio T on Cyber Monday 2012 and that ultra has gone to Sony Repair Center 3 times. I got tired of it and I just got Viao Duo 13 and Iam already having problems with the NFC and the Stylus. Apart from the initial issues I had with the Surface's touch cover I have never had any issue whatsoever with any of my Surface tablets and it's evidently clear that Surface is much more Superior in build quality to any Sony computer ever built. I grew up with Sony all around me and I have become so accustomed and loyal to their branding but to thrash Surface in preference for Sony is something I can never accept.
  • As if I needed to prove you anything...
    I had nothing but good things to say about the Surface until that happened. I didn't say I was going to buy a Sony tablet (though I may check the upcoming Z1 tablet). Fact is, my Surface lasted 6 months. My Sonys (and Nokias for that matter) all last longer. Simple.
  • The fact that you still own a lot of Sony products kind of proves his point anyway. I own Sony earphones, Bravia TV, and a Vaio laptop. While the earphones aren't actually broken, the thing that loops around the ears broke off. And my Duo 11 has gone to a service center 1 month before warranty would be void, that was lucky. The TV is doing just fine after over a year. But I still love all of them. I really like the sound quality of their earphones but I can't use it outside now (it's supposed to be for active sports so WTH Sony?), but I still use it at home. Still use my laptop. And TV was on for days on end during the holidays with no problems. Oh, I have an Xperia as well but I hate it (Xperia Pro), but I'd buy a new one if Nokia didn't exist. The thing is... it's Sony.. so it's... Sony. Their service is good here, too. I'd also like to point out that even some Surface units had problems. There were just much more Sony products in the wild that one Surface fail seems unbelievable.
  • It's generally understood that Japanese manufacturers have declined in quality in recent years due to outsourcing and getting away with it because of the reputation their brand carries. It's also generally understood that Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers have slowly been taking their market share the same way Sony came up.
  • So your experience negates someone else's experience? Every Sony product I've ever owned from CD players to Playstations to laptops have/had issues. Products from the late 80s to mid-2000s. I treat everything I own with great care too, so dont say Im am ogre. Ive had products, plural, broken right out of the box. Great that you had no problems, doesn't change my experience nor will change my mind. There's whole sites and Facebook fan pages with names like "Sony Sucks". Your not wrong, bit neither am I. The ONLY point of interest to me about a Sony Windows Phone is the possibility of having exclusive PS games... Might be enough to overlook my bad history with them.
  • Agree 100%. Since my first (dumbest purchase ever) of a Sony Vaio desktop around 2003, I have refused to touch another Sony product since. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on that thing and trashed it within 6 months. Build quality was crap, days removing bloat ware and non existent support ruined my faith in the brand name forever. My ex wife's daughter did own a PSP and it spent most of its days with the system locked up or a constant format.
  • +100000000000000 agreed, sony is trash nowadays. hooking up with microsoft would only help them get their act together.
  • I'm with you on the noticeable decline in Sony device quality, the Ps3 and 4 are super shoddy, it even seemed as if the PS2 had a predetermined lifespan of around 1.5 years
  • I agree. Sony is the only brand of phone I would buy besides Nokia.
  • Sony Ericsson days produced some of the most beautiful looking phones.
  • Hell the Xperia line they got right AFAIK are some of the best designed phone. Their hardware is very much on par now a days with their phone line up. The Z1 is one of the most innovative phone out. Hands down. I would love their hardware as a WP.
  • Exactly. I had the p1 it was a great phone.
  • Really? The worst mobile I've ever owned in the last 20 years was a Sony Ericsson, followed closely by an early Motorola.
  • Agreed. The Sony Ericsson txt pro is a prime example. Absolutely attrocious phone. I hated mine and wanted to destroy it. It's the only device I've ever owned I wanted to destroy. The other two Ericsson's I owned weren't as bad, but they were still poor phones. You would've thought I'd learned my lesson after the txt pro :P
  • I tend to agree, especially when it comes to brand recognition.  Actually, most of my electronics are Sony.  If there was never a Nokia WP, but a Sony WP, I would get the Sony.  The other WP OEM's have never interested me in the slightest, which is why I didn't get a WP until Nokia came aboard.
  • Funny I just did a survey that MS emailed me and I told them the only reason I bought a WP was because of Nokia. People can think brand recognition doesn't matter but it means more than people thing. Whether people agree or not having HTC and Samsung on board as well is very much just as important in order for WP to thrive
  • Sony makes some beautiful hardware. I think it'll just be cool to have more choices when it comes to Windows Phone. Because it's a new platform, it'll give companies a chance to dive into a new market and make a name for themselves. HTC and Samsung could've had that from their WP7 days (and hell, HTC had it from the WinMo days) but Nokia came into a pretty unsaturated market. Maybe Sony will try to do something like that with Windows Phone, since very few people associate Sony with Android. I suppose they don't really make most of their money from phones though.
  • Yeah, that's true. Seems Samsung has taken some crowns away from Sony. It would make sense for them to make a name for themselves on an up and coming platform. I'm onboard. I'll definitely buy a SONY phone if they make a WP.
  • saying Samsung has taken the crown from Sony is simply bogus. Never, I repeat, never. Sold more doesn't mean better, it got to do with the price. Sony's are better and more expensive as well.
  • hardware keyboard.   that is all.   later -1
  • I hope so.
  • Do people still buy Sony?
  • I buy Vizio for tv. Cheap high quality. PC, never buy dell. Though will try venue pro 8. Phone, Nokia. If Sony made WP, will consider.
  • The XPS12 hybrids we use at work are superb......Sony's are filled with bloatware. I'm an IT manager/network administrator. I've removed the bloatware and repaired my share of VAIO's.
  • Before switching to Windows Phone & Nokia, all my phones were Sony Ericsson. There's only one thing that comes to my mind when I think about Sony, and that's awesome audio quality.
  • I thought I was the only one with that thought. I'm hoping they make a "walkman" phone.
  • Oh yes! That would be killer. Although I have decided to stick with my Lumia 1520 for at least half a decade. I've spent far too much on mobile phones... :D
  • As a general rule of thumb Sony makes excellent hardware. I'm a MS fan through and through but you'll have to pull my Sony MDR-V6 headphones from my cold dead ... ears? :D
  • Sony can require that all the Xbox Live enabled games on WP loose this feature when become available on their phones... :P
  • Make it work for PSN Trophies?
  • Having Xbox live and PSN on a WP would be awesome.
  • If they replace Xbox with PSN Trophies I'm fine with that. Actually, since I'm a PS guy, that would be even better.
  • Because of Walkman generations still remember how cool it was to own Sony
  • Would love to see how Sony designs their windows phone as a change is always welcome and i always loved their designs.
  • Well we will have to wait until windows phone 8.1 is announced to confirm this unless it gets announced early
  • The more OEMs the better
  • So far, only Nokia it seems. With Sony on board, these two would be unstoppable.
  • Unstoppable? Do people even buy Sony phones? I want WP to succeed as much as the next guy buy I don't think Sony could do much to help.
  • Not in the united states, hence the press release about pulling out of mobile market a while back. Well, that was for Android market so maybe they're attempting to gain some market with WP platform.
  • They didn't said they were pulling out of the mobile market in the US. They said they would not waste time with a market that didn't care about them and would prefer to spend time nurturing Europe and Japan where they are cherished. That's what Nokia should have done too IMO.
  • There is a world bigger than ignorance
  • Ps4 app would be nice
  • I'd be more inclined to believe an app is coming over a phone.
  • Awesome news cant wait to see what happens next!!!!
  • Might be my next option once Microsoft's demolition of Nokia is complete.
  • Get that freak outta here, Nokia has been one the outs ever since they let Apple over take them just like BlackBerry did.
  • Now this is interesting...maybe, just MAYBE, I won't leave WP after all... And Sony HAS TO license Nokia's PureView tech. With that, they'll have perfect phones, both on Android and on WP. Also this is a clever move. Sony knows people in general don't trust Microsoft. So they stand in the place of seriously replacing Nokia as the top WP vendor. Not to mention that Microsoft can't do to Sony what they did with Nokia and the Eflop Trojan. So they're safe to demand Microsoft for more.
  • How is Microsoft not trusted in hardware? The only hardware they make is the Xbox and the Surface, which are high quality....
  • Yeah, agree with CarpetCleanera. If anything, I trust MS more than anyone else in hardware since they make the software.
  • No they are not. Microsoft sells a ton of hardware. Here is a nice little list :)  
  • Lol I know they make other hardware but they are mostly accessories for PCs, tablets, and other hardware. Microsoft also made Zune but the Zune failed because the lack of features not of hardware malfunctions.
  • Actually Zune failed because they failed to market it properly and they also forgot that there's a world outside the US that would have bought it as well. At least they learned from that and released WP7 in a market that cared first!!
  • Thank you. That is very true too.
  • Microsoft has long made, hands down, the best keyboards and mice in the business.
  • I agree there. The natural keyboard line is top notch.
  • I'm talking in image trust. Microsoft still has a huge image problem.
    As for their hardware...I now disagree. My Surface died unexpectedly after only 6 months. Far for high quality. And I also had problems with their webcams in the recent past. The only Microsoft hardware I never had problems with was keyboards and mouses.
  • Yeah, that's fine if you had a bad experience with them and don't trust them. That's perfectly acceptable. You just said that people have a problem (although now I know you mean image, not hardware) and since the surface is the most popular windows tablet, that should show that their hardware perception is above others.
  • Trust is not the same thing as image. You can not judge a book by its cover. Lol. Microsoft's image doesn't not relate to them being a bad hardware company. I never had problems with my Surface and Xbox 360. Mouses and keyboards are mostly the only hardware Microsoft makes, excluding the Surface, Xbox, and now mobile devices. Lol
  • Microsoft's software and hardware sales bringing in billions would disagree with you thinking people don't trust them.
  • Software is what brings Microsofts millions. Not hardware.
  • You are one seriously confused person, lol.
  • dude...... that's a little bit odd. MS is MUCH more powerful than Sony. plus I wouldn't go far as not trusting MS. more like they're pretty old.
  • More powerful than Sony? Are you sure? You may want to rethink that. Don't forget Sony isn't just Xperia phones and Playstations. They have film industries, music industries, TVs, PCs, players etc etc. Sony is by far larger and more powerful than Microsoft and have a larger reach. They're just not American ;P I've said it above, I was referring to MSs image problems when I said trust.
  • That is true. Over the years though, they have faced stiff competition, especially electronics. Sony is not the leader in innovation as the my once were.
  • I guess it depends on what you mean by powerful. MS is worth more publically based on market cap than Sony, which is how I base it.
  • I'm measuring power by their ability to reach and influence various sectors. Sony has a vast influence over more areas than Microsoft. Power resides in the ability to influence in the backstage more than in the ranking in the stock exchange ;)
  • You are way past delusional at this point.
  • I almost spit my tea on my phone reading that. Might want to research a bit on that.
  • The dreamy world you live in. Can I get invited in?
  • Sure. Leave the mushrooms. Head to Google, type in some stuff. Welcome. ;D
  • You need to leave for some time and join the google camp. We use Bing here. ;)
  • I don't.
  • I love Bing. Bing it on Sony!
  • You should. It's better.
  • I have. Its not.
  • Try again:
  • I have used this already and guess what...
  • Do it again, then tell me the 5 terms you searched for because I want to try it out the same way. I really want to see what you think is better about Google because every time I do it, Bing wins (and that's before you remember that the real Bing has Zero page search, supplementary Social Media results, Bing Rewards, and isn't spying on you; throw that all in and it's a landslide).