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Rumours whisper Sony working with Microsoft on new Windows Phone

Sony is rumoured to be working with Microsoft on a Windows phone for mid-2014 that would go a long way toward boosting support for Redmond's critically acclaimed but market-share deficient mobile device platform.

The rumour comes from the new paywall-protected tech site, The Information. The site only launched in early December, so its track record on being correct with scoops has yet to be established.

The Information cited unnamed sources as saying that Sony is considering "launching a Windows phone as soon as mid-2014," even as Microsoft also woos Chinese handset makers like ZTE with proposed deals that include incentives like "slashing the software licensing fees" Redmond typically charges for use of its Windows Phone mobile operating system.

The Sony rumour is intriguing because the Japanese tech giant has, to date, almost exclusively made Android phones, though a couple of years ago, a prototype Windows Phone 7 phone made by the then-Sony Ericsson was supposedly spotted, as noted by the Phone Dog blog.

There's also the whole matter of the ongoing game console war being waged between Microsoft and Sony. With Nintendo's Wii U a bit of a disappointment so far, there's currently a two-horse race going on between Microsoft's new Xbox One and Sony's new PlayStation 4 . Tech firms which are bitter rivals in one arena can be pals in another, to be sure, but the idea of a Microsoft-Sony collaboration on anything substantial remains a novel idea, nonetheless.

Of course, Sony's Vaio laptops run Windows, but it's pretty tough not to unless you're Apple or putting all your eggs in Google's Chromebook basket at the moment. The rumoured Sony Windows phone would also be marketed under the Japanese company's Vaio brand, according to The Information.

If this partnership does yield a new Windows phone, it would be an important step for Microsoft in getting some validation for its mobile OS, which has struggled so far to compete with Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms. To date, most of the Windows phones being sold are built by Nokia, the handset business of which Microsoft acquired this year for £3.2 billion.