A report by the New York Times suggests that Nokia was considering the option to switch mobile operating systems from Windows Phone to Android which would have occurred in the later part of 2014. The partnership deal between Microsoft and Nokia lasts until 2014 after which Nokia can decide whether to continue using the Windows Phone environment or shift to Android.
Nokia had the option to get out of the Microsoft partnership in late 2014. Testing out Android devices was preparing the company for such a future. According to NYT’s sources, getting Nokia devices to boot Android was an easy task to accomplish from an engineering perspective.
Microsoft executives were apparently aware of the Android project inside Nokia. However, its existence was not part of the acquisition negotiations.
A potential switch to Android by Nokia would have had massive consequences for Microsoft. The software giant would have taken a particularly serious hit, as Nokia accounts for over 80% of all Windows Phone devices sold. Nokia would have certainly gotten the better part from such a deal (the company’s current share of the smartphone market is 3% for the first half of 2013, down from 32.8% in 2010) – Android powers about three quarters of all smartphones sold globally.
Microsoft and Nokia have not commented on this report yet.
Microsoft reached a deal in 2011 for Nokia to use their Windows Phone operating system in their smartphones. The deal however had a clause where Nokia would be able to end the partnership by 2014. A lot of people criticized this partnership saying that Nokia would have been better off if the company chose Android.
As for the future of the Nokia Android project it looks like it would not progress any further. By the time Microsoft finishes the acquisition of Nokia, which is expected to happen early next year, the project will probably be scrapped.