HTC CEO dishes on new Windows Phone 7 OS

Taiwanese smart phone maker HTC joined a number of rivals in launching new handsets with Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 OS on Monday, a feat HTC’s CEO says came together very fast.

The business behind the Windows Phone 7 launch, including negotiations for network operators to offer handsets or win exclusive handset deals, was the result of cooperation.

“I’ll say everyone cooperated very fast,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, during a press briefing in Taipei ahead of the Monday launch.

He declined to say what role Microsoft played in negotiations with network operators but did say that the business of the Windows Phone 7 OS, including advertising costs, will be borne by operators, handset makers and Microsoft, together.

The three groups each have a stake in seeing the new operating system succeed. 

“We Chinese really value partnership and we have been partners with Microsoft for many years and this relationship is valuable,” said Chou. He said he values Microsoft’s strong software capabilities and assets as well as its marketing power.

“Microsoft is a powerful company,” he said.

One area where larger smartphone makers such as HTC diverge from smaller phone makers when it comes to Windows Phone 7 is on the licensing fee for the OS. Google’s Android mobile software is licensed freely, a factor that has made handset makers large and small build handsets. But some smaller companies, including Innocomm Technology of Taiwan, say the can’t be bothered paying a licensing fee to Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 when there is an excellent alternative in Android.

Chou said,”I don’t think the licensing fee posture is a critical factor” for his company.

It’s more important to build handsets around major OSes, he said. Consumers can decide which ones they like.

“Right now we have Windows Phone 7 and Android, and focus the same on each, but let the market decide,” he said.

He said HTC does not plan to offer any additional Windows Phone 7 handsets this year beyond the five announced Monday. Next year, the company will launch more but he doesn’t have a specific number in mind yet.

The Windows Phone 7 OS “is very smooth, it really has its own style.” With the Microsoft mobile Office suite, Xbox Live and Zune music software on board, he said it offers “a very attractive package.”

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