Microsoft Leans on HTC, Samsung for Windows Phone Marketing

Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) is going to look to Windows Phone partners HTC and Samsung to increase their marketing for the platform, according to Andy Lees, Microsoft's mobile chief.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Lees said that both HTC and Samsung have committed to increasing their marketing budgets for the platform, though he did not give specific figures. He said some of that money will likely go to encouraging retail sales staff to push Windows Phone devices harder, a move that comes just as Microsoft's handset partners have started selling phones running Windows Phone 7.5, or Mango. Lees also said that there will be increased retail incentives to sell the devices, though he declined to say what those are.

According to research firm Gartner, Microsoft commanded just 1.6 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, down from 4.9 percent in the year-ago period. Microsoft has consistently refused to specify what its sales to end users have been. However, Lees said that Microsoft's partnership with Nokia (NYS: NOK) as well as sales of cheaper devices should help boost the platform's market share. Gartner has forecast Windows Phone to become the world's second-largest platform by market share after Google's (NAS: GOOG) Android by 2015.

"We're not making specific predictions, but I think that our momentum is going to build," Lees said in a separate interview with AllThingsD. "Our first [release] was about mindshare, and really getting the credibility, and I think [Mango] is really about starting to build unit volume and market share."

Lees also addressed the lack of dual-core processors and LTE for the platform. He said for now, the company's fast single-core Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) should help the platform stay competitive. He added that Microsoft is waiting for Windows Phone software to be more ready to handle multi-core processors.

As for why LTE has been absent, Lees said Microsoft and its partners wanted to wait until LTE is not as power-hungry a feature on smartphones. "The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it's possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that's what we will be doing," Lees said. He said LTE models will be coming soon, but did not say whether they will be available this year or next.

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