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Android Apps in Microsoft's Sights Hint at More Adoption of Google's OS

First Posted: Feb 14, 2014 12:04 AM EST
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Nokia Normandy

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Google and Microsoft could soon become uncanny partners as Microsoft is reportedly interested in allowing Android apps to run on Windows and Windows Phone. 

According to unnamed sources in report from The Verge, Microsoft could attempt to fix the app deficit problem plaguing Windows by tapping into the vast Android app marketplace.

While such a move would undoubtedly fix the immediate lack of popular apps in the Windows marketplace, it could also backfire. BlackBerry executed a similar move, by allowing Android apps to run on its BlackBerry 10's operating system, but the results were minimal at best. There's also some money on the fact that allowing Android to run on Windows platforms could ultimately take the focus off Windows and onto Android. Worse comes to worse, it looks like some even believe Microsoft would be better served creating its own Android-based platform, much like Amazon did for its Kindle tablet series.

This isn't the only emergence of Android has a player in Microsoft's portfolio. Nokia, owned by Microsoft, has been tipped to reveal an Android smartphone later this month at the Mobile World Congress Feb. 24. Nokia's "Normandy" Android phone will be aimed at a budget market, with specs of only 4GB internal storage and 512MB RAM.

Despite the glaring signs that Android adoption in the Microsoft camp is most likely going to grow, not all is rosy for Android and Google.

A Wall Street Journal report shows that Google is currently facing scrutiny from European antitrust officials due to the hidden strings the company attaches to Android. Although Google touts Android as a completely open project that is conducive to collaboration and growth, documents reveal that mobile device manufacturers are forced to agree to set Google as the default search engine. Device makers also are forced to display multiple Google apps in return for access to Google services, including YouTube. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft would react to such stipulations.

The practices, dubbed a "Mobile Application Distribution Agreement," first popped up documents from a 2012 patent and copyright case between Google and Oracle, but were only recently published online in Harvard Business School Professor Ben Edelman's blog.

While no similar law in the United States exists, dominant market share holders are required in Europe to promote competition. It's clear to see why Google's practices are ruffling some feathers in Europe given the nature of the agreements with mobile device manufacturers.

Android currently enjoys the title of most dominating 2013, garnering 80 percent market share worldwide. Key players on Google's side include electronics giant Samsung, maker of the popular Galaxy S and Galaxy Note handsets. Still, data shows that Android growth could face stagnation in 2014, allowing for smaller operating systems like Windows Phone and Firefox to step up. Until Microsoft officially reveals its plans, it'll be hard to gauge whether the once-proud-and-mighty tech firm will choose to play ball or simply adopt Android.

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