Microsoft has once again reiterated its commitment to Qualcomm in the Windows Phone arena. Earlier this month it emerged that Windows Phone 8.1 is yet another Qualcomm exclusive OS and this isn’t about to change. Microsoft is rumoured to be looking at MediaTek chips for entry level tablets, but the phone business appears to be reserved for Qualcomm.
In an interview with the Times of India, Windows Phone division exec Vineet Durani said Microsoft’s smartphone OS supports only Qualcomm silicon and this is not about to change.
"We don't have any plans to explore chipsets (processors and RAM etc) made by others... At this point of time companies making Windows Phone have to use the Qualcomm hardware," said Durani. "I can't comment on the future but I can say that we are highly committed to Qualcomm hardware.”
However, Microsoft’s approach is evolving. Although phonemakers still face a lot of restrictions, Redmond has made a few important changes. The choice of approved Qualcomm parts is bigger than it used to be and Microsoft has waived the Windows Phone licensing fee, rendering entry-level and mainstream Windows phones a bit more competitive.
Durani explained that Microsoft demands “a certain level of hardware performance” for Windows Phone devices. By keeping the hardware platform closed, it can control what sorts of components are used and ensure a good user experience on all devices. This is not the case with Android, which is a more or less a free-for-all and can be used with all sorts of chips from different vendors.