Why Microsoft is smart to let Nokia launch an Android phone

nokia-normandy

It’s no secret that Microsoft is hurting as the world moves to mobile. Sales of Windows Phones are miniscule compared to the competition, and the Surface is small potatoes compared to the iPad. With Satya Nadella as Microsoft’s new CEO, the company would be smart to start selling a “Nokia X“ phone running on Android.

The technology world has become essentially reliant on mobile devices for computing needs. What could be done on a desktop 5, 10, or 20 years ago can now be done on a smartphone, with much more power and speed behind it. Though many think of Microsoft as a stodgy old tech dinosaur, it has recently gone through many of its own changes, with CEO Steve Ballmer out, and Bill Gates becoming the company’s “technology advisor.”

In an increasingly mobile world, Microsoft is struggling to stay relevant. Windows is less relevant today than it was 10 years ago, as increasing amounts of computing gets done on mobile devices, with the far majority of them running Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system. Windows Phone, Microsoft’s mobile operating system, has struggled, with just 3% of the smartphone market at the end of the fourth-quarter, according to IDC. That’s up markedly from 2012, when it had 2.6% of the market, but it’s coming off an exceptionally small base.

By contrast, iOS accounted for 17.6% of the smartphone market, and Android accounted for 78.1% of the market.

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