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Microsoft debating Android app support for Windows Phones

According to a former employee, Microsoft is determined to “stop the leakage” from its mobile platform and is considering Android app support on Window Phones.

Published onJanuary 19, 2015

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Windows 10 will unify Microsoft’s PC and mobile platforms with a single operating system and app store. However, with Windows accounting for roughly only 2.7 percent of the smartphone market, Microsoft needs a plan to win back consumer support in a big way.

According to a former Microsoft employee, the biggest priority for Microsoft this time around is to “stop the leakage” and prevent Android and iOS users from completely abandoning Microsoft’s operating system. Apparently, this has led Microsoft to discuss whether or not Android apps should be allowed to run on Windows Phones.

The benefit for Microsoft is clear, customers will be free to pick up a Windows powered phone while retaining access to their favourite Android apps. Not to mention that Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem would be instantly fleshed out with a huge range of popular applications. Uber didn’t release its app for Windows Phone until July last year and Snapchat still doesn’t run on Windows Phone, for example. However, such a move may disincentivize developers from designing Windows apps in the future, as they would not be backwards compatible with other operating systems. This would weaken Window’s position as an operating system further down the line.

Microsoft’s recent move to open up its Office Mobile software and unifying the code base across other operating systems is being seen by some as a sign that the company is prepared to relinquish its reliance on its OS in favour of providing competitive services with the likes of Google. Microsoft is also under threat from Apple’s and Google’s moves into the enterprise space, so there’s a clear need to begin competing more aggressively against the big mobile players in software as well as the OS space.

Software looks to be a key part of Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy , with enhanced security options, data syncing and office features all expected to make an appearance. Windows 10 will be an important release for Microsoft’s mobile plans, but it remains to be seen whether or not the company will go so far as to open up its platform to its major competitors.

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