With such a tiny share of the mobile market, it might seem natural for Microsoft to look for partners everywhere it can.
In the tablet market, the software giant recently unveiled products made by Asus, Acer, Toshiba and Samsung and is likely to work with Dell as well.
But if a published report is correct, HTC won't get a piece of the action because Microsoft is worried the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer won't be able to deliver.
Short on Chips
Bloomberg News cited the company's faltering stock price, plummeting 68 percent over the past year, lowered second-quarter earnings projections and processor chip shortages in its report based on unnamed sources that HTC would not have access to Windows 8 software for a tablet.
"HTC is a tier 2 or tier 3 player in the media tablet market," said Jeff Orr, research group director for mobile devices at ABI Research. "It hasn't offered a highly competitive Android offering and has limited distribution through U.S. mobile network carriers."
Microsoft and HTC, like almost every other tech company, share the goal of trying to knock Apple off its pedestal as the king of smartphones and tablets.
But Apple has made HTC's life particularly miserable, filing a succession of lawsuits claiming patent infringement and trying to block it from selling its Android-based phones in the U.S., most recently targeting the One X when it was released by AT&T.
A June report from comScore showed that HTC's share of the important U.S. mobile market is just 6 percent as of April, down slightly from 6.4 percent in January.
Ahead of HTC were Motorola at 12.5 percent, Apple at 14.4 percent, LG at 19.2 percent and Samsung, now the king of mobile phones, at 25.5 percent. The comScore report said 107 million people now own smartphones in the U.S.
Global numbers are also discouraging. HTC's market share dropped from 8.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 4.8 percent during the same quarter of 2012, according to research firm IDC. This, after reaching an all-time high of 10.7 percent in the second quarter of 2011. During the same time frame, Samsung's share climbed from 11.3 percent to 29.1 percent, and Apple climbed from 18.3 percent to 24.2 percent, IDC said.
Wait and See
"HTC is not toast yet," said technology consultant Jeff Kagan. "But this is not the kind of news they were hoping for."
He said that HTC was a relatively new name in the U.S. market a few years ago and rose quickly on the smartphone wave fueled by the iPhone.
"It looked invincible at the time," Kagan said. "However, as the market continues to change, HTC seems left out. It will be very interesting to see what the next move is for HTC."
Microsoft's mobile share was just 2.2 percent in the first quarter, IDC said.