Nokia has come across as nothing but content with smartphone OS partner Microsoft so far, but has expressed for the first time concern that a Surface-style own brand Windows Phone could be in the works.
Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet took its existing hardware partners entirely by surprise, and Nokia has voiced its fears that a similar move in the smartphone market could have a major impact on its long-term strategy.
The admission came as part of a mandatory annual business report filed with the SEC last week, which by law has to include whatever risks or threats Nokia sees lying ahead for its business.
The main fear regarding Windows Phone is simply that it continues to under-achieve, which Nokia believes could eventually affect Microsoft’s own commitment to its smartphone platform.
“Microsoft may act independently of us with respect to decisions and communications on that operating system which may have a negative effect on us,” the text of the SEC filing reads.
“Moreover, if Microsoft reduces investment in that operating system or discontinues it, our smartphone strategy would be directly negatively affected by such acts.”
However, it’s also clear that the move to introduce the Surface hasn’t gone unnoticed, and that Nokia doesn’t completely trust that Microsoft isn’t planning a similar move in releasing its own Windows Phone smartphone despite having publicly denied any such device is in the works (the pic above is just a concept render, by the way).
“Microsoft may make strategic decisions or changes that may be detrimental to us. For example, in addition to the Surface tablet, Microsoft may broaden its strategy to sell other mobile devices under its own brand, including smartphones,” the filing reads.
“This could lead Microsoft to focus more on their own devices and less on mobile devices of other manufacturers that operate on the Windows Phone platform, including Nokia,” the filing said.
You could argue that Nokia is simply voicing all potential concerns because it has to by law. But it’s also true that it didn’t have these concerns this time last year, because there wasn’t the slightest hint that the Surface tablet even existed 12 months ago.