Microsoft Is Still Going To Sell Nokia’s Android Phones

Elop nokia
Stephen Elop introducing the Nokia X in February. Business Insider

Even though Nokia is now officially part of Microsoft, the company will continue to sell the family of Nokia’s Android devices.

Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO and new executive vice president of Microsoft’s Devices Group, said in an online Q&A session today that Microsoft bought all of Nokia’s handset businesses in its $US7.2 deal, which includes the Nokia X.

Microsoft officially closed its acquisition of Nokia last Friday. Nokia is the biggest maker of Windows Phones, but it also makes feature phones and smartphones running other platforms like its own Asha operating system.

Nokia announced the Nokia X Android phones at the Mobile World Congress tech conference in February. The move caused a lot of head scratching since Nokia was very close to becoming part of Microsoft at the time. And Microsoft is all-in on Windows Phone. The Nokia X phones are very cheap and are sold in emerging markets where most people aren’t using smartphones yet.

Still, Elop pointed out that the Nokia X phones aren’t your typical Android phones. They don’t come with Google services like Google Maps, Gmail, and the Google Play app store. Instead, Nokia heavily modified the Android software to be powered by Microsoft services like Bing, Skype, OneDrive, and Outlook. Microsoft sees the Nokia X as a gateway to introduce Microsoft services to people who can’t afford more expensive phones.

Microsoft acquired the mobile phones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the next billion people to Microsoft’s services. Nokia X uses the MSFT cloud, not Google’s. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to Skype, and OneDrive for the first time. We’ve already seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on MSFT services.

The Nokia X phones are already on sale in some countries and will continue to be sold under that brand.