Verizon plans a major push behind Microsoft's Windows Phone

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Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) pledged to increase its support for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone operating system, citing demand for a third ecosystem to compete with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS.

During a call with investors following the company's first quarter earnings announcement, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said Thursday that the operator is "hoping to do the same thing" with Windows Phone that it did with Android, which now powers more than half of all smartphones across the U.S.

"It is important that there is a third ecosystem brought into the mix here," Shammo said, according to AllThingsD. "We are fully supportive of that with Microsoft... We helped create the Android platform from the beginning and it is an incredible platform today, and we are looking to do the same thing with a third ecosystem."

Verizon Wireless presently offers just one Windows Phone device, the HTC Trophy, compared to more than a dozen Android models. In an interview with Reuters after the earnings call, Shammo said Verizon will not expand its WP device lineup until Microsoft releases its Windows Phone 8.0 system upgrade, expected to arrive later this year.

"We're really looking at the Windows Phone 8.0 platform because that's a differentiator," Shammo said. "We're working with Microsoft on it." Shammo added that Verizon expects to offer Windows Phone 8.0 devices in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season.

As of February 2012, Windows devices make up just 3.9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, down from 5.2 percent in November 2011, according to research firm comScore. Android dominates 50.1 percent of the marketplace, followed by iOS at 30.2 percent and Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) fading BlackBerry at 13.4 percent.

Earlier this month, Verizon's archrival AT&T (NYSE:T) launched its first Windows Phone device, Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 900. AT&T is selling the Lumia 900 for $99.99 with a two-year contract. The LTE-enabled handset is the recipient of AT&T's most aggressive smartphone marketing push ever, even outstripping efforts to promote Apple's iPhone.

For more:
- read this Reuters article
- read this AllThingsD article

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