Windows Phone has been dealt a rough hand. Despite good reviews and a very positive reception among those who actually own one, Microsoft can't seem to get traction with the handset makers. LG Electronics was supposed to make a phone and backed out, and Samsung made a middling effort with one phone before giving up, exchanging some sharp words with Microsoft in the process.
All that leaves for Windows Phone 8 is Nokia and HTC, and HTC is on its last legs. In the ultra-competitive market, HTC was struggling and had pinned its hopes on the HTC One phone, which is a pretty sweet piece of hardware, I must say.
Unfortunately, HTC is being taken down from both the inside and the outside. First, it can't get parts, namely a camera. STMicroelectronics and OmniVision are the two main camera suppliers, and they no longer consider HTC a "tier-one" manufacturer, so it doesn't get priority on parts any more. Gee, I wonder who is getting priority. (*side eye at Samsung*)
Then there is…Nokia, which sued for and won a preliminary injunction against HTC in Holland over microphone components in the One manufactured by STMicroelectronics. The components were invented by and manufactured exclusively for Nokia.
Nokia said HTC was using more than 40 of its patents without consent. So now HTC has to scramble to find alternatives so it can launch the One. That will likely cause even further delays, and the One is late as it is.
Samsung is out-marketing HTC in every way. HTC was supposed to ditch its "Quietly Brilliant" motto in favor of something more aggressive, but it hasn't come up with anything new, except for a horrible ad commissioned by the comedy site Funny or Die that was quickly pulled.
Then there was the HTC First, which came from a partnership with Facebook to offer a "Facebook Phone." The overwhelming reaction has been decidedly "meh," and the phone is nothing special. The fact that the Home software suite used on the First is available for download in Google Play for a select number of devices can't help, either.
CEO and founder Peter Chou said in March that he would step down if the One failed to turn the tide. With all of these events, his days could be numbered, especially if the One is delayed in Europe. It's a beautiful phone. A friend showed his off and I really liked it, but it's just one of many phones that look roughly the same.
Even if HTC doesn’t go down, it's not in a particularly strong position now. At best, it's limping along, and it's the only other Windows Phone 8 OEM out there right now.
It's a darn shame. WP8 can't just seem to get a break.