Posts Tagged ‘hardware’

postheadericon Microsoft announces streamlining of smartphone hardware business

REDMOND, Wash. — May 25, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $ 950 million, of which approximately $ 200 million will relate to severance payments.

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”

Microsoft anticipates this will result in the reduction of up to 1,350 jobs at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, as well as up to 500 additional jobs globally. Employees working for Microsoft Oy, a separate Microsoft sales subsidiary based in Espoo, are not in scope for the planned reductions.

As a result of the action, Microsoft will record a charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 for the impairment of assets in its More Personal Computing segment, related to these phone decisions.

The actions associated with today’s announcement are expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year and fully completed by July 2017, the end of the company’s next fiscal year.

More information about these charges will be provided in Microsoft’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement on July 19, 2016, and in the company’s 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Note about forward-looking statements. Certain statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, including estimates, projections, statements relating to our business plans, objectives and expected operating results, and the assumptions upon which those statements are based, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties which may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. A detailed discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in the section titled “Risk Factors” of our Forms 10-K and 10-Q. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

News Center

postheadericon Microsoft Cloud and Hardware Results Drives Fourth Quarter Performance

REDMOND, Wash. — July 21, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that revenues for the quarter ended June 30, 2015 were $ 22.2 billion.  Gross margin, operating loss, and loss per share for the quarter were $ 14.7 billion, $ (2.1) billion, and $ (0.40) per share, respectively.

These results include the impact of a $ 7.5 billion non-cash impairment charge related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business, in addition to a restructuring charge of $ 780 million.  There was also a charge of $ 160 million related to the previously announced integration and restructuring plan.  Combined, these items totaled $ 8.4 billion or a $ 1.02 per share negative impact.  Excluding this impact, operating income and EPS would have been $ 6.4 billion and $ 0.62, respectively.

During the quarter, Microsoft returned $ 6.7 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) to Non-GAAP financial results. Microsoft has provided this Non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

chart01

The strengthening of the U.S. dollar compared to foreign currencies had a significant impact on results in the quarter.  Excluding the effect of foreign exchange rate changes on the GAAP amounts, on a constant currency basis, revenue and gross margin would have declined 2% and 3%, and operating income and EPS would have declined 129% and 176%, respectively.  Excluding the effect of foreign exchange rate changes on the Non-GAAP amounts, on a constant currency basis, revenue and gross margin would have declined 2% and 3%, respectively, and operating income and EPS would have declined 1% and increased 8%, respectively.
“Our approach to investing in areas where we have differentiation and opportunity is paying off with Surface, Xbox, Bing, Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM Online all growing by at least double-digits,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “And the upcoming release of Windows 10 will create new opportunities for Microsoft and our ecosystem.”The strengthening of the U.S. dollar compared to foreign currencies had a significant impact on results in the quarter.  Excluding the effect of foreign exchange rate changes on the GAAP amounts, on a constant currency basis, revenue and gross margin would have declined 2% and 3%, and operating income and EPS would have declined 129% and 176%, respectively.  Excluding the effect of foreign exchange rate changes on the Non-GAAP amounts, on a constant currency basis, revenue and gross margin would have declined 2% and 3%, respectively, and operating income and EPS would have declined 1% and increased 8%, respectively.

“We finished the fiscal year with solid progress against our strategic priorities, through strong execution and financial discipline, which is reflected in our results for the quarter and the year,” said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Microsoft.

Devices and Consumer revenue declined 13% (down 10% in constant currency) to $ 8.7 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Windows OEM revenue decreased 22% as revenue was impacted by PC market declines following the XP end-of-support refresh cycle
  • Surface revenue grew 117% to $ 888 million, driven by Surface Pro 3 and launch of the Surface 3
  • Total Xbox revenue grew 27% based on strong growth in consoles, Xbox Live transactions and first party games
  • Search advertising revenue grew 21% with Bing U.S. market share at 20.3%, up 110 basis points over the prior year
  • Office 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 15.2 million, with nearly 3 million subscribers added in the quarter

Commercial revenue increased slightly (up 4% in constant currency) to $ 13.5 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Commercial cloud revenue grew 88% (up 96% in constant currency) driven by Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM Online and is now on an annualized revenue run rate of over $ 8 billion
  • Server products and services revenue grew 4% (up 9% in constant currency), with stable annuity performance offsetting declines in transactional revenue
  • Dynamics revenue grew 6% (up 15% in constant currency), with the Dynamics CRM Online install base growing almost 2.5x
  • Office Commercial products and services revenue declined 4% (up 1% in constant currency), with continued transition to Office 365 and lower transactional revenue due to declining business PCs following the XP end-of-support refresh cycle
  • Windows volume licensing revenue declined 8% (down 4% in constant currency), driven primarily by transactional revenue declining following the XP end-of-support refresh cycle with annuity growth on a constant currency basis

“In our commercial business we continue to transform the product mix to annuity cloud solutions and now have 75,000 partners transacting in our cloud,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “We are also expanding the opportunity for more partners to sell Surface, and in the coming months will go from over 150 to more than 4,500 resellers globally.”

For Microsoft’s fiscal year 2015, the company’s revenue, gross margin, operating income, and diluted EPS were $ 93.6 billion, $ 60.5 billion, $ 18.2 billion, and $ 1.48 per share, respectively.  Excluding the impact of impairment, integration and restructuring charges, full year operating income and EPS would have been $ 28.2 billion and $ 2.63, respectively.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with GAAP to Non-GAAP financial results. This Non-GAAP financial information has been provided to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance.

chart02

Business Outlook

Microsoft will provide forward-looking guidance in connection with this quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call and webcast.

Webcast Details

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, John Seethoff, deputy general counsel, and Chris Suh, general manager of Investor Relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. PDT (5:30 p.m. EDT) today to discuss details of the company’s performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/investor. The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on July 21, 2016.

Adjusted Financial Results and Non-GAAP Measures

During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015, GAAP revenue, gross margin, operating loss, and loss per share included impairment, integration, and restructuring charges. For the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014, the financial results included the charges related to the integration expenses associated with the acquisition of NDS . These items are defined below. In addition to these financial results reported in accordance with GAAP, Microsoft has provided certain Non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance. Presenting these measures without the impact of these items gives additional insight into operational performance and helps clarify trends affecting the company’s business. For comparability of reporting, management considers this information in conjunction with GAAP amounts in evaluating business performance. These Non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Non-GAAP Definitions

During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015, impairment, integration, and restructuring charges were $ 8.4 billion.  Microsoft recorded $ 7.5 billion of goodwill and asset impairment charges related to Phone Hardware, and $ 780 million of restructuring expenses, primarily costs associated with the restructuring announced on July 8, 2015.  There was also a charge of $ 160 million related to the previously announced integration and restructuring plan.

For fiscal year 2015, impairment, integration, and restructuring charges were $ 10.0 billion, compared with $ 127 million in the prior year.  This includes $ 7.5 billion of goodwill and asset impairment charges related to Phone Hardware, and $ 780 million of restructuring expenses, primarily costs associated with the restructuring announced on July 8, 2015.  There was also a charge of approximately $ 1.7 billion related to the previously announced integration and restructuring plan.

Prior year expenses of $ 127 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014 were associated with the acquisition and integration of NDS. These expenses consisted of transaction fees and direct acquisition costs, including legal, finance, consulting and other professional fees. These costs also included employee compensation and termination costs associated with certain reorganization activities.

 

Constant Currency

Microsoft presents constant currency information to provide a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations. To present this information, current and comparative prior period results for entities reporting in currencies other than United States dollars are converted into United States dollars using the average exchange rates from the comparative period rather than the actual exchange rates in effect during the respective periods.  The non-GAAP financial measures presented below should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

chart03

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this release that are “forward-looking statements” are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors such as:

  • intense competition in all of Microsoft’s markets;
  • increasing focus on services presents execution and competitive risks;
  • significant investments in new products and services that may not be profitable;
  • acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances may have an adverse effect on our business;
  • impairment of goodwill or amortizable intangible assets causing a significant charge to earnings;
  • Microsoft’s continued ability to protect and earn revenues from its intellectual property rights;
  • claims that Microsoft has infringed the intellectual property rights of others;
  • the possibility of unauthorized disclosure of significant portions of Microsoft’s source code;
  • cyber-attacks and security vulnerabilities in Microsoft products and services that could reduce revenue or lead to liability;
  • disclosure of personal data that could cause liability and harm to Microsoft’s reputation;
  • outages, data losses, and disruptions of our online services if we fail to maintain an adequate operations infrastructure;
  • government litigation and regulation that may limit how Microsoft designs and markets its products;
  • potential liability under trade protection and anti-corruption laws resulting from our international operations;
  • Microsoft’s ability to attract and retain talented employees;
  • adverse results in legal disputes;
  • unanticipated tax liabilities;
  • Microsoft’s hardware and software products may experience quality or supply problems;
  • exposure to increased economic and operational uncertainties from operating a global business;
  • catastrophic events or geo-political conditions may disrupt our business; and
  • adverse economic or market conditions may harm our business.

For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft’s Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/investor.

All information in this release is as of July 21, 2015. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the company’s expectations.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news/. Web links, telephone numbers, and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information, as well as today’s 2:30 p.m. PDT conference call with investors and analysts, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/investor.

News Center

postheadericon Microsoft announces restructuring of phone hardware business

REDMOND, Wash. —  Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to restructure the company’s phone hardware business to better focus and align resources. Microsoft also announced the reduction of up to 7,800 positions, primarily in the phone business. As a result, the company will record an impairment charge of approximately $ 7.6 billion related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business in addition to a restructuring charge of approximately $ 750 million to $ 850 million.

Today’s announcement follows recent moves by Microsoft to better align with company priorities, including recent changes to Microsoft’s engineering teams and leadership, plans to transfer the company’s imagery acquisition operations to Uber, and shifts in Microsoft’s display advertising business that enable the company to further invest in search as its core advertising technology and service.

Today’s plans were outlined in an email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees.

“We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family,” Nadella said. “In the near-term, we’ll run a more effective and focused phone portfolio while retaining capability for long-term reinvention in mobility.”

Microsoft will record a charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 for the impairment of assets and goodwill in its Phone Hardware segment, related to the NDS business. This charge has no impact on cash flow from operations and is nondeductible for income tax purposes. Based on the new plans, the future prospects for the Phone Hardware segment are below original expectations. Accordingly, the company concluded that an impairment adjustment of its Phone Hardware segment assets and goodwill of approximately $ 7.6 billion is required.

The actions associated with today’s announcement are expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year and fully completed by the end of the company’s fiscal year.

More information about these charges will be provided in Microsoft’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement on July 21, 2015, and in the company’s 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Note about forward-looking statements. Certain statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, including estimates, projections, statements relating to our business plans, objectives and expected operating results, and the assumptions upon which those statements are based, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties which may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. A detailed discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in the section titled “Risk Factors” of our Forms 10-K and 10-Q. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

News Center

postheadericon Find the serial number of your Apple hardware product

Learn how to find the serial number of an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, or other Apple product.
Apple – Support – Most Recent – iPhone

postheadericon Microsoft cloud strength and hardware progress drive record first-quarter revenue

Strong performance across commercial and consumer segments delivers revenue of $ 23.20 billion.

REDMOND, Wash. — October 23, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $ 23.20 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2014. Gross margin, operating income and diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) for the quarter were $ 14.93 billion, $ 5.84 billion and $ 0.54 per share, respectively.

These financial results include $ 1.14 billion of integration and restructuring expenses, or an $ 0.11 per share negative impact, related to both Microsoft’s restructuring plan announced in July 2014 and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services (“NDS”) business.

The following table notes the impact of the integration and restructuring expenses on the company’s financial performance (“Noted Items”). This financial information is provided to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

Earnings 10-23-14“We are innovating faster, engaging more deeply across the industry, and putting our customers at the center of everything we do, all of which positions Microsoft for future growth,”  said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Our teams are delivering on our core focus of reinventing productivity and creating platforms that empower every individual and organization.”

“We delivered a strong start to the year, with continued cloud momentum and meaningful progress across our device businesses,” said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft. “We will continue to invest in high-growth opportunities and drive efficiencies across the organization to deliver long-term shareholder value.”

Devices and Consumer revenue grew 47% to $ 10.96 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers totaled more than 7 million, representing more than 25% sequential growth over the previous quarter.
  • Surface Pro 3 momentum drove Surface revenue of $ 908 million.
  • New Windows consumer licensing programs drove positive unit growth while OEM non-Pro revenue declined 1%.
  • Total Xbox console sales were 2.4 million, growing 102%, and Xbox One launched in 28 new markets.
  • Phone hardware revenue exceeded $ 2.6 billion with ongoing focus on execution discipline.

Commercial revenue grew 10% to $ 12.28 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Server products and services revenue increased 13%, with double-digit growth for SQL Server, System Center and Windows Server.
  • Office Commercial products and services revenue grew 5% as customers transition to Office 365.
  • Commercial cloud revenue grew 128% driven by Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM.
  • Lync, SharePoint and Exchange, our productivity server offerings, collectively grew double-digits.
  • Windows volume licensing revenue increased 10%.

“Customers are embracing our latest technologies from Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 to Azure and SQL Server,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer of Microsoft. “Through great execution by our sales teams and our partners, we have been able to deliver our truly differentiated value to the marketplace.”

Business Outlook

Microsoft will provide forward-looking guidance in connection with this quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call and webcast.

Webcast Details

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, John Seethoff, deputy general counsel, and Chris Suh, general manager of Investor Relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. PDT (5:30 p.m. EDT) today to discuss details of the company’s performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/investor. The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on October 23, 2015.

Noted Items Definition

Integration and restructuring expenses include employee severance expenses and costs associated with the consolidation of facilities and manufacturing operations, including asset write-downs and contract termination costs, resulting from Microsoft’s  restructuring plan. Integration and restructuring expenses also include systems consolidation and other business integration expenses, as well as transaction fees and direct acquisition costs, associated with the acquisition of NDS.

Integration and restructuring expenses were $ 1.14 billion during the three months ended September 30, 2014, due mainly to restructuring charges of $ 1.05 billion, including employee severance expenses and the write-down of certain assets in connection with the restructuring plan.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this release that are “forward-looking statements” are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors such as:

  • intense competition in all of Microsoft’s markets;
  • increasing focus on services presents execution and competitive risks;
  • significant investments in new products and services that may not be profitable;
  • acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances may have an adverse effect on our business;
  • impairment of goodwill or amortizable intangible assets causing a significant charge to earnings;
  • Microsoft’s continued ability to earn expected revenues from its intellectual property rights;
  • claims that Microsoft has infringed the intellectual property rights of others;
  • the possibility of unauthorized disclosure of significant portions of Microsoft’s source code;
  • cyber-attacks and security vulnerabilities in Microsoft products that could reduce revenue or lead to liability;
  • disclosure of personal data that could cause liability and harm to Microsoft’s reputation;
  • outages, data losses, and disruptions of our online services if we fail to maintain an adequate operations infrastructure;
  • government litigation and regulation that may limit how Microsoft designs and markets its products;
  • potential liability under anti-corruption and trade protection laws resulting from our international operations;
  • Microsoft’s ability to attract and retain talented employees;
  • adverse results in legal disputes;
  • unanticipated tax liabilities;
  • our hardware and software products may experience quality or supply problems;
  • exposure to increased economic and operational uncertainties from operating a global business;
  • catastrophic events or geo-political conditions may disrupt our business; and
  • adverse economic or market conditions may harm our business.

For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft’s Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/investor.

All information in this release is as of October 23, 2014. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the company’s expectations.

For more information, financial analysts and investors only:

Chris Suh, general manager, Investor Relations, (425) 706-4400

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com/. Web links, telephone numbers, and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information, as well as today’s 2:30 p.m. PDT conference call with investors and analysts, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/investor.

News Center

postheadericon Microsoft adds nine new Windows Phone hardware partners

BARCELONA, Spain — Feb. 23, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. on Sunday announced nine new hardware partners for Windows Phone and direct access to tools that will broaden the portfolio of devices for consumers and introduce new price points to accelerate growth in key markets. In addition to existing partners — Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei — Microsoft has announced it is now working with Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE to develop on the Windows Phone platform.

With this latest news, Microsoft is now working with seven of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers in the world in addition to leading brands in China, India and Taiwan, representing more than 56 percent of the addressable market globally (IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 2013). Customers can expect to see an even broader array of devices, from iconic to lower-cost options, coming to market.

“We are pleased to add these new partners to our expanding Windows Phone ecosystem. They will be key contributors to continued growth across price points and geographies for Windows Phone,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president of the OEM Division at Microsoft.

Windows Phone is the fastest-growing smartphone operating system, according to IDC, and posted the largest increase for 2013 (90.9 percent), more than doubling the growth of the overall market during the year.

Microsoft also unveiled expanded hardware support that provides more flexibility so Windows Phone partners can build devices to meet the unique needs of their region or customer segments. Microsoft is adding support for Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 200 and 400 processors by Qualcomm Technologies Inc. with options that support various major cellular technologies, including LTE (TDD/FDD), HSPA+, EVDO and TD-SCMA. Windows Phone will also support soft keys and dual SIM, critical requirements particularly in Asian markets. These changes allow for manufacturing partners to easily leverage existing design investments to diversify their portfolio to include Windows Phone devices, including larger screen phablets.

On Sunday, Microsoft launched the Windows Hardware Partner Portal, which is designed to speed up device commercialization while minimizing development costs. Speed and economies are especially important for manufacturers needing to compete and win in the dynamic high-volume smartphone segment. The Windows Hardware Partner Portal is now open to all smartphone device manufacturers to learn about and begin the process to develop on the Windows Phone platform. Windows Phone device manufacturers will also be able to leverage the great services Microsoft has to offer in that market, which could include Office Mobile, Skype, Xbox and Bing; a growing app catalog; and features like Live Tiles and People Hub, which make Windows Phone so uniquely personal.

To further help enable smartphone device manufacturers to quickly and easily broaden their portfolio to include Windows Phone devices, Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies are collaborating to give OEMs and ODMs that are working with the various Qualcomm Reference Designs for Snapdragon 200 and 400 processors direct access to Microsoft tools, content and adaptation kits to build devices on the Windows Phone platform. With Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies, through its Qualcomm Reference Design program, delivering the building blocks to help design and build Windows Phones, Microsoft hardware partners will be able to focus on differentiating their offering based on apps and services. Device manufacturers will now be able to choose from hundreds of ways to customize their Windows Phone devices while keeping the consistently high-quality experience that the Windows Phone platform provides.

“We are making it easier, faster and more affordable for partners to develop a Windows Phone,” Parker said.

The well-established Qualcomm Reference Design program offers Qualcomm Technologies’ leading technical innovation, differentiated hardware and software, easy customization options that save engineering costs, access to an ecosystem of hardware providers, and testing and acceptance readiness for regional and leading operator requirements.

The expanded Windows Phone ecosystem will also provide mobile operators and retail partners with additional opportunities to offer white-label Windows Phone devices under their own brands. Mobile operators will also have more options to build custom apps and services for their Windows Phone devices that increase customer satisfaction, retention rates and revenue streams.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

The information contained in this press release relates to a pre-release software product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the software product when first commercially released. The press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the press release or the information contained in it.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft News Center – News and Announcements from Microsoft