Microsoft Ending Its Short-Lived Tenure as Android Phone Maker
Among the details in Microsoft’s big layoff news was the fact that the company plans to pull back on Nokia’s brief foray into Android-based phones.
“We plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows,” CEO Satya Nadella wrote in his memo announcing the job cuts. Despite the use of the word select, Microsoft clarified it doesn’t plan to make future Android-based Nokia X phones.
One of the big questions surrounding Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition was whether they would continue making devices running Android.
Announced only this past February, the idea behind Nokia X was to pair the open source Android core with Microsoft and Nokia services and, in doing so, reach lower prices than Microsoft had been able to hit with Windows Phones.
As recently as late last month, Microsoft appeared to be committed to the product line, introducing the Nokia X2.
Update: It’s not just Nokia X that is having the rug pulled out from under it. Microsoft also plans to stop development of new Asha feature phones and S40 basic phones that Microsoft acquired as part of the Nokia deal.
Jo Harlow, the executive in charge of those businesses, outlined the plans in a memo, reported earlier Thursday by the Verge.
“This means there will be no new features or updates to services on any mobile phones platform as a result of these plans,” Harlow said in the memo.
While Microsoft was primarily interested in the Windows Phone-based Lumia business, it had talked up the acquisition of Nokia’s lower-end phone business as a potential way to introduce customers in emerging markets to Microsoft services.
“This element provides Microsoft with the opportunity to extend its service offerings to a far wider group around the world while allowing Nokia’s mobile phones to serve as an on-ramp to Windows Phone,” Microsoft said in its 2013 press release announcing the Nokia deal.
Earlier this year, Nokia added Microsoft’s OneDrive storage into the Asha line.