Speaking to CNET, HTC USA chief Jason Mackenzie revealed that it was Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s handset division which led to the large delay between the HTC 8X and the HTC One for Windows.
"We were waiting to see how the relationship would take shape," he said. "Then there was the acquisition and a regime change at Microsoft. We weren’t sure what their strategy was going to be."
What clinched the deal was Microsoft laying off nearly than half of the employees they acquired from Nokia.
The decision suggests that Microsoft won’t rely on only Nokia hardware to drive its mobile strategy.
The company still needs partners, like HTC.
"Microsoft needs someone else to build the hardware other than relying on the in-house Nokia," said Roger Entner, lead analyst at Recon Analytics.
The HTC One for Windows Phone had its origin in HTC seeing a gap in the windows phone ecosystem which Microsoft did not – that of a real, up to date flagship.
"When you look at all of the available Windows Phones, there isn’t a real premium smartphone that matches what’s offered on Android," he said. "When we’re announcing a flagship device, it’s on Android."
Verizon saw the same gap.
"We realized at the end of 2013 that when we were selecting devices for the 2014 lineup that there were gaps in the market for Windows Phone, particularly at the high end," Jeff, Dietel, vice president of marketing operations at Verizon Wireless said in an interview.
"HTC has been more synonymous with material fit and finish, as well as just really good design," he said. Talking about the Nokia Lumia 928 and Lumia Icon, he said "Nokia offers terrific hardware, but HTC is just more established in the US in terms of momentum."
Jason Mackenzie said the HTC One M8 for Windows marked "the first time a smartphone manufacturer has launched an iconic device on multiple operating systems without making any compromises."
Maribel Lopez, head of Lopez Research, agrees. She said that Nokia makes beautiful phones but it will take much more to broaden "ecosystem support" for Windows Phone.
"And that’s what Microsoft needs to make Windows Phone a success," she said.