Windows Phone, unfortunately, has a lot of problems. It has a disadvantage in apps, market share, and phone selection. Today one of those problems looks to go away.
Windows Phone by itself is not very attractive to most OEMs. It has a small market, mind share, and less apps and services than iOS and Android. On top of all this, it used to have a licensing fee. Making OEMs pay to use a less popular OS doesn't lead to good things.
The cherry on top of this was Nokia's failure to stand on its own. It looks like OEMs finally have largely started abandoning Windows Phone, Huawei even announcing that it has no more plans for the OS.
So, all of this has lead us to today, where only Nokia really has new phones, and there just isn't much variety to go up against the iPhone and Android flagships.
Microsoft realized that their current strategy was not working, and decided to change gears.
Microsoft is making it easier for manufacturers to make Windows Phone devices based on their Android Phones. They tweaked Windows Phone so that it could work with the hardware inside Android phones OEMs already make. Part of this was working with Qualcomm to make sure their processors ran both Android and Windows Phone.
This first fruits of this effort can be seen in the HTC One M8 running Windows Phone. No lagging hardware for Windows Phone, or outdated design, this is the best hardware HTC has - and its running Windows Phone!
HTC is a great first company to go after to offer Windows Phone on their hardware, as they are being pushed down by Samsung and are more desperate to try partnerships (remember the Facebook phone?).
If they could get Sony or LG to do this, they instantly have a good selection of phones. Eventually, Microsoft would want phones made specifically for Windows Phone, ones with hardware advantages, but until then, their new Lumia phones will have to be enough.
This could be the first level playing field for Windows Phone if Microsoft is willing to provide marketing money, and we can finally see if the OS can sell phones.