Nokia-Android Partnership: How Does Microsoft Feel About That?

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) has announced that it’s launching a line of Android-powered phones to sell in China and other developing nations under the new “Nokia X” brand, just as the company’s deal to sell its handset unit to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is set to close. The company made the announcement at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona on Monday.

“Nokia has connected billions of people around the world, and today we demonstrated how our portfolio is designed to connect the next billion people to great experiences,” said current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in a press release. Elop will begin working at Microsoft once the handset acquisition is complete.

Earlier this month, an anonymous source told the Wall Street Journal that Nokia would release a device running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system by the end of the month. Reports that Nokia was working on an Android-powered device first came out back in September when the $7.2 billion Microsoft acquisition was announced. Nokia had the option to exit the Microsoft partnership at the end of 2014, and a New York Times report revealed that Nokia was building phones running on Android to prepare for that exit, or possibly to intimidate Microsoft by reminding the company that Nokia could easily switch platforms to a competitor.

Microsoft purchased Nokia’s smartphone division in order to have more control over the Nokia Lumia line of smartphones, which run on Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft has suffered in recent years due to not getting on the smartphone bandwagon soon enough and losing out to competitors including Google and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Former CEO Steve Ballmer has said that those smartphone missteps are his biggest regret in regards to his time at Microsoft and now the company is hoping that new CEO Satya Nadella can turn its fortunes around.

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