Will Microsoft replace Windows Phone with Android?

Today in Open Source: Is Microsoft's purchase of Nokia the end for Windows Phone? Plus: Can a Chromebook be your only computer? And Linux jobs pay higher salaries!


The end of Windows Phone?

ZDNet thinks that Microsoft's purchase of Nokia may indicate an embrace of Android and the possible end of Windows Phone.

Within Microsoft what I see happening is that the company will start backing off Windows Phone. Kendrick's right, you see. It is too much to ask Microsoft to support two mobile operating systems, so I think they'll slowly and quietly drop the least-profitable of them: Windows Phone.

I still can't see Microsoft producing MS-Linux—although I wouldn't count it out either—but I can see Microsoft retiring Windows Phone. Supporting Android with their own app suite simply makes too much financial sense to do otherwise.

More at ZDNet
Microsoft Android Phones
Image credit: ZDNet

I wouldn't blame Microsoft if they dumped Windows Phone altogether, it still doesn't seem to have any momentum in the mobile market. At some point the company has to put its resources and focus into something that serves its bottom line, and Windows Phone just doesn't seem to be it.

But I'm skeptical that Microsoft is really ready to terminate Windows Phone. Obviously they are aware of Nokia's Android phones, but Microsoft seems to regard Nokia's Android as something to leverage to get emerging market users onto Windows Phone devices.

The plan seems to be that Microsoft will replace Google's services with its own on the Nokia Android phones. Then, once hooked on Microsoft software, the emerging market users will transition later to Windows Phone devices. I'm not sure that Microsoft's software provides anywhere near enough value these days for this to actually happen.

In fact, I think that all of this indicates that Microsoft is still trapped in the past. The days of Microsoft's operating systems and other software being indispensable are over, and they aren't coming back. The mobile revolution changed all of that by building new platforms that weren't dependent on Microsoft.

The psychology of mobile users is also quite different than what it was in the past. One of the company's biggest mistakes was not getting Microsoft Office onto iOS and Android much sooner. It opened the door for users to get used to not having Microsoft Office available, and it made them realize that they really didn't need Microsoft's software.

So I don't see any hope for Android users to transition to Windows Phone just because some of Microsoft's software is available to them. I wonder if the Nokia Android users will really even care about any of it? I think it's much more likely that the Nokia Android phones will bomb in the emerging market countries, and that Android phones by Samsung, Google and others will beat them handily.

Microsoft will still cling to Windows Phone desperately, however. The company still has not evolved beyond its ancient "Windows-first" mentality, so I expect them to soldier on, hoping desperately for something to change so Windows Phone can finally get significant market share.

Dream on, Microsoft.

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