We finally saw an end to the long drawn out affair that was Microsoft’s courtship of Nokia a few days back when it was announced that the Redmond firm would be buying Nokia, or at least the interesting parts of it. Microsoft’s biggest Windows Phone partner, Nokia, has arguably been the one OEM that has thrown all its weight behind the Windows Phone platform, and with good reason. Microsoft famously paid a small – or not so small – fortune to get Nokia to make Windows Phone handsets exclusively and it was perhaps only a matter of time before a purchase was made.
But it’s not all rainbows and unicorn tears in such matters, and it turns out that rumors of Nokia’s Android testing were true after The New York Times reported that the Finnish firm was working on Android-powered Lumias in case the Windows Phone line flopped.
With Nokia free to drop Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform at the end of 2014 and all options on the table, Nokia reportedly tested Lumia handsets that featured Google’s Android mobile operating system, and Microsoft was already aware that the love affair between the two companies may be short lived. As it turns out though, Microsoft went ahead and solved the issue by splurging a big wad of cash on the smartphone maker. We suspect that Nokia is no longer testing Android devices!
Even if Nokia isn’t going to make Android phones, that isn’t going to stop some of its former employees from doing just that. We’ve already told you about Newkia, a company formed by ex-Nokia engineers that aims to bring Android-powered devices to market. We doubt Microsoft will be too concerned, though.
With Nokia now part of Microsoft it’s clear that the Redmond firm can now more closely imitate what Apple has done with the iPhone. By controlling both software and hardware in the same way that their Cupertino-based foes does, Microsoft will be hoping to give its Windows Phone operating system the shot in the arm that it so desperately needs.
It’s also unclear how Microsoft’s OEM partners are going to react to the purchase of Nokia. Will HTC and other partners want to compete with Microsoft’s own in-house hardware solutions? We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out, but we suspect there will be some difficult questions being asked in boardrooms across the industry.