With Apple releasing yet another eye-popping earnings statement, it would seem the prospects for underdog Windows Phone getting some operator love would be less than stellar. After all, Apple’s iPhone is a big cash cow for operators, and in fact is currently both AT&T and Verizon’s best selling device. But the opposite is actually true.
The New York Times reports
that both AT&T and Verizon are actually placing large bets on Windows Phone to both blunt Apple’s influence in the device ecosystem and provide a hedge against what Google may do, now that it has Motorola Mobility under its belt. With RIM struggling of late, Microsoft’s fledgling OS is operators’ best hope of building up a strong third device ecosystem, especially since Microsoft is letting operators preload their own apps and is highlighting them in its app store.
Yankee Group Associate Analyst Katie Lewis comments
“Mobile operators are sick of taking orders from Apple but that’s not the only reason why carriers like AT&T and Verizon are backing Windows Phone. As discussed in our recent report “How Many Smartphones Are Carriers Selling?
,” iPhones are occupying an increasingly dangerous share of mobile operators’ smartphone sales. In 2011, iPhones represented half of AT&T’s smartphone sales, and now that Verizon has recently voiced a similar shift in sales, the companies’ fears of an Apple takeover are growing stronger. To make matters worse for them, according to our current US Consumer Survey, 29 percent of U.S. smartphone owners use an iPhone and 39 percent of consumers intending to buy a smartphone in the next six months plan to get an iPhone, meaning Apple is poised to gain significant market share in the next six months. The success of the third mobile ecosystem would put control over the U.S. smartphone market back into the hands of mobile operators—backing Windows Phone is AT&T and Verizon’s chosen method of self-preservation.”