Telefonica, one of the biggest mobile carriers on the globe, announced today that it would form a partnership with Microsoft. Desperate to break up the smartphone monopoly held by iOS and Android, Telefonica will focus its marketing efforts on the struggling Windows Phone 8 platform. The one year initiative will take place in Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and the United Kingdom.
It’s easy to decipher why Microsoft would want to enter such an agreement, but it is much more difficult to identify Telefonica’s motivation. The Spanish-based provider explained that a duopoly has taken over the market, which gives them less control and leverage over negotiations. As a result, they must decide between Blackberry and Microsoft; the first being a manufacturer that's seemingly shifting its focus from handsets to services, while the latter has put up consistent numbers as a third place alternative.
In reality, the decision to go with Microsoft seems rather straightforward.
According to ZDNet, Windows Phone 8 has actually shown impressive growth in recent years, raising U.S. sales from 3.8 percent in 2012 to 5.6 percent as of this year. Unfortunately, these figures are dwarfed by Android and iOS, which shared a combined 78.8 percent of the smartphone market in the first quarter of this year.
Telefonica explained that through its marketing campaign it intends to “encourage the presence of additional mobile operating platforms as an alternative to the current duopoly of Android and iOS, and provide customers with a more personal smartphone experience like Windows Phone offers.”
In addition to diversifying the market, Telefonica wants to use Windows Phone 8 to offer enterprise features to its business customers. These tools include but are not limited to SharePoint, Office 365, SkyDrive and Xbox. With the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend picking up steam, this might actually be a very smart move.
Jose Maria Alvarez Pallete, Telefonica's COO, added, “The Microsoft business culture is based on a model of value creation through its partners associates, which fits in perfectly with our culture and also with our way of doing business."
In spite of the increased marketing efforts towards Windows Phone, Telefonica will continue to offer the same breadth of Android and iOS devices.