Microsoft confirms NFC payment support

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Microsoft has confirmed its Windows Phone platform will support NFC, with devices planned in the coming year.

Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone division confirmed in an interview Wednesday that the mobile platform will support NFC and reportedly that it would support payments.

Lees, speaking at the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong, noted that handset makers using the Windows platform could differentiate themselves with NFC, among other hardware and software features.

‘There are different things you could do in hardware and software, so, for example, if one phone wanted to be NFC and the other one didn’t, you could do that, different cameras, etc., he said during an interview with All Things Digital, organizer of the conference – writes Dan Balaban.

He reportedly said later in the interview that Windows Phone would support mobile payment, from existing payment service providers. ‘Microsoft is providing technological building blocks so payments can be done on the phone – we aren’t competing with other people providing services,’ he said, according to Engadget.

This would indicate the operating system would support secure elements in the Windows Phone devices. NFC-enabled Windows Phone devices would ship within the next year, Lees reportedly said. The software giant recently introduced Windows Phone 7.5, dubbed Mango, and plans Windows Phone 8 next year, though it’s unclear if the first NFC devices will run on Windows Phone 7 or 8.

Microsoft’s planned support for NFC in Windows Phone is not a surprise. Microsoft is developing wallet software to work with NFC applications. And the first Windows Phone devices from Nokia are expected next year, probably on Windows Phone 8. In addition, a Samsung mobile executive indicated the phone maker would offer NFC with its Windows Phone handsets.

Nokia next week is expected to announce its plans for releasing its first Windows Phone handsets at its Nokia World event. Lees noted in his interview that Nokia had ‘bet the whole company on the success of their devices running Windows Phone.’

Besides Nokia and Samsung, other handset makers will use the platform, such as HTC. And Lees said Microsoft would announce other OEMs (original equipment makers). Nokia and Samsung have been strong backers of NFC, and HTC is also supporting the technology.

Microsoft last month also disclosed that the next version of its PC operating system, Windows 8, which is also used for tablets, would support NFC.