Microsoft, Windows Phone Partners Ready Holiday-Season Push

Now that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) have had their fun, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is gearing up for a few days with the spotlight focused on Windows Phone. AT&T (NYSE: T) revealed three new phones based on the Mango update to the operating system Thursday as Nokia (NYSE: NOK) gears up for the launch of the first devices produced through its ground-breaking partnership with Microsoft.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned it earlier this week, but Windows Phone chief Andy Lees confirmed it on stage at the AsiaD conference according to Engadget: Nokia plans to reveal Windows Phone devices next week. The company is scheduled to hold its Nokia World conference in London next week with the main address coming on Wednesday, in what should be a welcome diversion for Nokia as it tries to get its business back into the black.

Those phones will launch a week after AT&T announced a slate of new Windows Phone devices Thursday, two from Samsung and one from HTC. Both handset makers were original Windows Phone 7 partners, but it will be interesting to see if they increase their support for the operating system in 2012 now that both have signed patent-licensing deals with Microsoft and as the mobile world awaits word in whether or not Google’s acquisition of Motorola (NYSE: MMI) will go through.

One factor that could help them make that decision? Cheaper build costs. Bloomberg reported Thursday that Microsoft has been able to get component makers to cut the cost of a raw Windows Phone design in half, from $400 last year to $200 this year. That will allow phone makers to generate more profit on each device and could spur consumer adoption if those partners and wireless carriers are able to offer the phones at aggressive prices, especially now that Apple offers a free iPhone 3GS and a $99 iPhone 4 with a two-year contract.