As Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone and handheld business this past week, Stephen Elop — the former Microsoft executive turned Nokia CEO — has made various comments about the future of the Android-based Nokia X line. Many, including ourselves, expected Microsoft to cancel the device the moment the acquisition was officially approved, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Stephen Elop, now the Vice President of Microsoft’s Devices and Services unit, stated the following:
Microsoft acquired the mobile phones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the next billion people to Microsoft’s services. Nokia X uses the MSFT cloud, not Google’s. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to Skype, outlook.com and Onedrive for the first time. We’ve already seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on MSFT services.
We are using AOSP to attack a specific market opportunity, but we are being thoughtful to do it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia.
The Nokia X is a low-cost device that runs a heavily-modified version of Android. The device is part of Nokia’s strategy to target emerging nations and the low-end device market.
This position makes sense, in light of Microsoft’s most recent strategy of focusing on services but you can’t help but wonder what it says about Windows Phone OS that Microsoft actually needs an Android product.