It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the Surface phone—last November, in fact—but we’ve never actually truly believed there’s one coming. But do you want to know who does? Nokia.
The Finnish company has acknowledged a Surface phone as a possible threat in its law-mandated risks filing. As per law, Nokia has to set out what it perceives as a risk to its business in filings to the SEC, which were dug up by ZDNet. In their 2012 statement, Nokia said that the risk comes from the possibility that Microsoft could cut their investment in the OS or completely pull the plug on the operating system.
A concept render of the Microsoft Surface phone. (Image credit: Jonas Daehnert)
One part of the filing goes: “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. 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 next paragraph suggests that Microsoft may not indeed be as open to ideas from their biggest OEM. “We may not be able to sufficiently influence Microsoft in bringing the features or functionalities for the Windows Phone platform that we deem most important,” it says.
Nokia then considers the possibility of Microsoft cutting their spending on the Windows Phone platform’s growth against Nokia’s interests. To put it plainly, Nokia thinks Microsoft has other areas of their business that may become more attractive to invest in and could ditch the mobile game. If that happens, Nokia is left without an OS to show their hardware on.
Then Nokia once again talks about the possibility of a Surface phone. “This may be heightened if our position in the partnership deteriorates, for instance through other companies using leverage to influence Microsoft, or if Microsoft chooses to develop its own mobile devices, including smartphones, or if Microsoft otherwise develops interests that are contrary to ours.”
While we understand that Nokia has to detail every risk it perceives as a possibility. The specific nature of the words that talked about Microsoft and Windows Phone are causing us all sorts of intrigue. The filing was made on March 7 this year, but last October CEO Stephen Elop unequivocally stated that Nokia doesn’t mind a Surface phone as competition. “I have no indications they are planning to do their own phone,” Elop said. “They can do it if they so choose.” Looks like Nokia didn’t want to acknowledge it as a risk until it was forced to do so by law.