Microsoft’s Nokia turns to Google’s Android for cheap phone models

“Nokia, soon to be acquired by Microsoft Corp, is turning to software created by arch-rival Google for a new line of phones it hopes will make it a late contender in the dynamic low-cost smartphone market,” Paul Sandle reports for Reuters. “Its first model, the Nokia X, will rely upon an open version of the Android mobile software system created by Google.”

“The release of the phone just days before Nokia sells its handset business to Microsoft in a $7.2 billion deal, is an attempt to stay relevant in emerging markets, where low-cost Android phones are being snapped up by hundreds of millions of buyers,” Sandle reports. “But the strategy shift underlines the many missteps made by the Finnish company since Apple launched its ground-breaking iPhone in 2007.”

“Nokia was caught between a rock and a hard place – committed to using Microsoft’s Windows Phone software but needing Android software to reach more cost-sensitive customers, CCS Insight’s head of research Ben Wood said. ‘That a soon-to-be Microsoft-owned company, which is the owner of the original operating system, is moving to Android is almost an admission of failure,’ he said,” Sandle reports. “The Nokia X uses the open source version of Android, which runs most apps without the right to customize Google’s basic software. For Nokia, it was a question of making this humiliating reversal in its strategy or facing irrelevance in this category of phones, Wood said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You know, because Windows Phone can’t cut it.


  1. Interesting strategy. Google cutting itself from Nokia’s fork will reinforce it as a viable alternative for OEMs if Google keeps blackmailing them into submission without antitrust authorities investigating the massive vendor lock-in (worse than Microsoft’s bundling of apps and exclusion of others 2 decades ago).

    Nokia stands to make this more interesting and succesful than Amazon’s fork, especially if it will share access to its improvements with other OEMs.

  2. Say what you want about Microsoft, but at least they came up with their own original phone software instead of blatantly ripping Apple off. I think the Nokia phones with that Mondrian styled software looks pretty good.

  3. This situation is becoming melodramatic. Here we have Nokia, six years ago largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world by unit share, totally missing the boat (a big, massive one) and trying to figure out how to remain in mobile phone business. Then we have Microsoft, at one time dominant mobile phone OS vendor (Remember PocketPC and Windows CE?), totally missing a boat (a big, massive one) and trying to figure out how to remain in mobile phone business. The two companies have no clue what hit them and how to pick themselves up. And to expect that the two of them united would suddenly figure it out and turn the collective ship around…

    This simply couldn’t get any worse: Nokia admitting that even the big Microsoft and their new, (completely original and arguably quite innovative) mobile OS wasn’t relevant enough to make a difference that they decided to go for an Android, and not even the fully licensed Google version (with Google apps), but for their own fork based on the free version! It is difficult to tell for whom is this worse: for Nokia (choosing the free, restricted version of Android), or for Microsoft (having their only meaningful handset maker bail on their pride and joy)….!!

    1. “And to expect that the two of them united would suddenly figure it out and turn the collective ship around…”

      The reason is simple. Both Nokia and Microsoft were born content to provide one-half of the widget, whereas Apple focused on the entire spectrum. That is their secret for success; focus on the entire user experience, and not just the half you like the best.

      Windows Phone will gain momentum but its success will come at a very dear price; such as it is with Xbox, never having made a profit could be given away for free with the purchase of your first Xbox game and would do as well.

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