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Nokia Experimented with Android Smartphones Before Sale to Microsoft

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Microsoft's deal to buy Nokia's handset business may have been motivated in part by the handset manufacturer's reported experiments with the Android OS for its Lumia range of smartphones.

Nokia's deal with Microsoft was due for renegotiation at the end of 2014, and a small team within the company was experimenting with a possible switch from Windows Phone to Android.

The team had reportedly been successful in porting the Android OS to Lumia phones before Microsoft started talks with  Nokia earlier this year about a buyout. Microsoft was aware of the experiment, the New York Times reports, citing people working on the project.

Losing Nokia to the Android camp would have been a strategic and very public blow to Microsoft which has always struggled with mobile services. However, for Nokia to have ditched Symbian and then have to ditch Windows Phone would also be a public humiliation for the company.

A sale of the handset business would enable both firms to ensure that the Windows Phone OS carries on in a major handset vendor without either side losing face.

Mobile networks would also have been reasured, as they are increasingly worried about the Andoid/Apple duopoly in smartphone software. A viable third OS is seen as essential for competition.

Now that Microsoft has acquired the handset manufacturing division, the company is firmly committed to maintaining the third ecosystem.

On the web: New York Times

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Tags: microsoft  windows phone  android  nokia