The top executive at HTC’s U.S. headquarters said he’s not too worried about Nokia hooking up with Microsoft and the deal validates HTC’s approach to the smartphone business.
After getting an early boost from Microsoft, HTC has emerged as a leading producer of advanced phones, claiming higher-end market share that Nokia’s hoping to win back with Windows-based devices.
Mighty Nokia is actually following the same path HTC took to its success, said Jason Mackenzie, (left) Bellevue-based president of HTC for North America and Latin America.
Mackenzie said Nokia’s partnering with Microsoft is “a validation of what we’re doing.”
“Nokia’s following a similar lead to what HTC’s been doing, in not investing in our own platform, taking solid platforms and filling the gap to deliver a solid experience to the end user,” he said.
As for the competition HTC will face from Nokia phones running Windows, it’s “one more competitor,” he said.
“I feel confident in what we’re doing,” he said. “We’ve got a fresh brand that’s resonating with consumers.”
HTC emerged in the late 1990s as the first manufacturer of Microsoft Pocket PC devices and early Microsoft smartphones that appeared starting in 2002.
In recent years the company invested heavily in software and hardware design studios in Seattle and San Francisco to differentiate its phones. It developed a polished software interface that it layers over the underlying operating system.
HTC continues to make phones based on Windows — including five Windows Phone 7 models so far =- but it’s now selling more phones based on Google’s Android software. It released the first Android phone in 2008.
Mackenzie said HTC will continue to produce Windows Phone 7 devices, despite the Nokia announcement. It won’t be announcing any new Windows models next week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona but several will be announced later in the year.
“Obviously Windows Phone 7 is a platform we’ve invested tremendously on” and “we’ll continue to support that,” he said.
Asked if the Nokia deal will improve the momentum of Windows Phone 7, Mackenzie said: “It broadens the ecosystem, which is good for everyone. We’ll see.”