Telefonica inks deal with Microsoft to break Android, iOS 'duopoly'

The carrier says t will step up its marketing efforts in the U.K., Germany, Spain, and elsewhere to help promote Windows Phone 8.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Watch out, iOS and Android.
Watch out, iOS and Android.

Telefonica, one of the world's largest carriers, has signed a deal with Microsoft to promote far more heavily the software giant's Windows Phone 8 operating system and devices running it.

The carrier said in a statement on Wednesday that over the next year, it will enhance its marketing efforts for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices. The company will focus those marketing efforts in several of its major markets, including the U.K., Germany, Spain, and Brazil.

Telefonica said that its move is designed to enhance competition in the marketplace. The company said Wednesday it wants to "encourage the presence of additional mobile operating platforms as an alternative to the current duopoly of Android and iOS, and provide customers with a more personal smartphone experience like Windows Phone offers."

Depending on the research firm, Android and iOS are either extremely dominant in the smartphone market, or just dominant. Last month, research firm Canalys said that Android and iOS combined to secure 78.8 percent of the worldwide smartphone market in the first quarter. That came a few months after research firm IDC said that Android and iOS combined to secure 91 percent of the space in the fourth quarter.

In either case, it's clear that consumer interest is firmly in Google's and Apple's hands. And with that comes leverage. Carriers have historically been loath to lose any leverage, which might be fueling some of Telefonica's efforts with Microsoft.

So, why Windows Phone 8 and not BlackBerry? According to Jose Maria Alvarez Pallete, Telefonica's COO, it has everything to do with Microsoft's "business culture."

"An associate partner such as Microsoft is chosen as a result of its operator-focused business approach," Pallete said in a statement. "The Microsoft business culture is based on a model of value creation through its partnersassociates, which fits in perfectly with our culture and also with our way of doing business."

Although Telefonica will dedicate much of its marketing efforts to Windows Phone 8, the company will not stop selling devices running other operating systems.