Verizon Wireless plans to put its marketing weight behind Microsoft Corp.'s next mobile phone software to help develop a strong competitor to Apple Inc. and Google Inc., according to the chief financial officer of Verizon Communications. Verizon Wireless sells the Apple iPhone and many devices based on Google's Android software. But Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the company wants a third strong software competitor in the mobile market where operators pay hefty subsidies for smartphones like the iPhone. "We're really looking at the Windows Phone 8.0 platform because that's a differentiator. We're working with Microsoft on it," Shammo said in an interview following Verizon's earnings conference call.
Microsoft has not said anything publicly about the next update of its mobile software, but Windows Phone 8 -- code-named “Apollo” -- is expected on phones this holiday season. The world's largest software maker has been working most heavily with carrier AT&T Inc. on its latest Windows phones, but still only has 2% of the global smartphone market, according to research firm Gartner.