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HTC locked out of Windows 8 tablet party

If your name's not down you're not getting in

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HTC has been declined an invitation to the Windows 8 party after Microsoft apparently refused its tablet development team access to the forthcoming operating system, in yet another body blow to the ailing hardware firm.

Redmond made the decision based on the fact that HTC doesn’t sell enough tablets or have enough experience in the space, “people with knowledge of the matter” told Bloomberg.

HTC is having a tough time of it lately and could probably do with the extra revenue Windows 8-powered tablets could provide.

It has posted a string of poor financials, with Q1 net profits tumbling 70 per cent year-on-year, and has been forced to revise down its second quarter forecast significantly thanks to weakened demand from Europe.

Revenues for the period are expected to be NT$91bn (£1.9bn), a whopping 13.3 per cent lower than the NT$105bn it forecast in April, while operating margin predictions were also reduced from 11 per cent to 9 per cent.

Analysts don’t seem to be too bothered about Microsoft’s cold shoulder, however.

“It’s no big deal,” IDC analyst Melissa Chau told The Reg.

“RIM found tablets a big distraction while it was trying to improve its phone business and I feel the same way about HTC.”

The Taiwanese firm would do better to focus on its brand and smartphones in what is a tough market, she added.

“I don’t see this will impact HTC’s success. It is a very consumer targeted brand and people are looking at Windows 8 as an enterprise solution so even if it’s excluded that’s not HTC’s target market,” said Chau.

To be fair, sales of HTC’s Android-based Flyer tablet have been poor and it has been distracted with legal battles with Apple. Given its financial position, the firm could probably do with putting all of its efforts into sharpening its brand by streamlining its product portfolio.

Microsoft's stance is also noteworthy: after courting almost anyone capable of installing Windows Phone on a wireless handset, Redmond may be showing us it is willing to be a little more selective and/or confident this time around. ®

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