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Microsoft will continue to sell Nokia Android phones

April 27, 2014

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia has left many people wondering what would happen to Nokia’s Android phones. Would the Redmond giant discontinue those Android phones in favor of Windows Phone? Or would it continue to sell them despite the fact that they run Android? Well, wonder no more because BGR reports that Microsoft has confirmed that they will continue to sell Nokia’s Android phones.

Microsoft the Android vendor: The irony is delicious!
There’s obviously a certain irony here that Android users and Microsoft watchers can enjoy. Who would have thought it possible that Microsoft would be a seller of Android phones? Then again, who would have thought that Microsoft would finally release its Microsoft Office suite for Apple’s iOS devices? But Microsoft recently did just that, so this latest move shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for anybody.

Did you think Microsoft would unceremoniously axe the Nokia X line of budget Android phones the minute it finalized its acquisition of the one-time Finnish mobile icon’s handset division? Well, think again. Former Nokia CEO and current Microsoft exec Stephen Elop said on Friday that the newly formed Microsoft Mobile division will remain “committed to continuing our support for feature phones, the Asha family, and the Nokia X family of devices, announced at the Mobile World Congress in February.”

More at BGR

Of course there’s more here than meet’s the eye since Microsoft’s Android phones have been tweaked to feature Microsoft’s software and services, according to an earlier article on BGR. Wow! Big shocker there! But you really can’t blame Microsoft since they almost totally missed the boat on mobile and now have to grasp at any straw they can find to try and promote their offerings.

Now @evleaks has posted some pictures showing us Nokia’s own unique brand of Android and we can definitely see some design influences that carry over from Windows Phone. In particular, note the call screen in the middle picture that uses the same type of brightly colored tiles that distinguish the Windows Phone 8 UI design.

More at BGR

Microsoft Android Phones

Microsoft has modified Android to retain elements of the Windows Phone interface.

Image credit: BGR

I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom of blending elements from Windows Phone into Android. The two mobile operating systems are so different that it might come across as a franken-os that just doesn’t fit together properly. If somebody really wants the Windows Phone user interface then doesn’t it make more sense for them to just buy a Windows Phone and skip Microsoft’s Android phones altogether?

Will Android users actually buy a Microsoft phone?
I also wonder how many Android users would favor a Microsoft Android phone over one from Google, Samsung, HTC or some other Android vendor. It’s true that these other vendors modify Android as well (well except for Google but they’re in charge of Android so they can do whatever they want) so it’s not like Microsoft is alone in tweaking it.

But Microsoft has probably not had a great reputation with many people who opted for Android as their mobile platform. If the company did then Windows Phone might have sold far more than it has, but that simply has not been the case. Microsoft just has not been able to get a good foothold against Android in any significant way over the years and I’m not sure that these modified Android phones are really going to change that.

I can see users of other Android phones picking up a Microsoft Android phone out of curiosity, then putting it down promptly when they realize that some of it looks a bit like Windows Phone 8. Am I alone in thinking this? Or are there a lot of users who simply wouldn’t notice or care?

Microsoft will sell Android phones…for now
It’s very likely that Microsoft will probably continue selling the Nokia phones for a certain amount of time, and then the company will retire them quietly. This would fit into Microsoft’s past behavior where Windows has been promoted first and foremost above all other products.

Of course I could be wrong about this since Microsoft has a new CEO and he may already be changing the Windows-first mentality inside the company. But old habits are hard to break so we may yet see Microsoft’s Android phones go the way of the woolly mammoth and vanish from the face of the earth.

What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.


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6 Responses to Microsoft will continue to sell Nokia Android phones

  1. mstaxpayer on April 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    MS tries to disturb Android ecosystem by creating another variant.

    • dragonmouth on May 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      That has been Microsoft’s MO since the beginning of their existence. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

  2. YetAnotherBob on April 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    This should surprise no one.

    Microsoft will always prefer to sell Microsoft of course, but, they have already sold Linux for years. SUSE Linux specifically. This will be the same. They will first pitch the Windows Phone, but if the potential client says ‘No’, the will then try the Android version.
    No, the GPL V3 isn’t triggered, as Google didn’t choose to distribute Android under the GPL. That clause is triggered only if the GPL V3 software is used and tied into a program, and it is program by program. Microsoft is completely safe in this.
    Oh, and ‘sen joh’, QT isn’t a VB work alike, it is a C++ library. As it is licensed under the GPL V2, or the LGPL, there need be no worries about the QT libraries for the future. QT was purchased by Nokia, then, sold off to another company when Microsoft moved in. As the library is GPL, if a company wanted to take it private, a spin off would happen overnight.

  3. sen joh on April 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    What I am concerned about is Qt, the VB-esque programing language that was produced by Nokia

  4. Dave Lane on April 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Doesn’t this trigger an anti-patent clause in the GPL? Does it mean some of those other Android OEMs currently being shaken down by MS for dubious software patent royalties (to avoid facing patent lawsuits which will almost certainly be won by the patent holder in East Texas) can safely refuse to pay? That’d seriously cut into MS’ mobile revenue.

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