The practicalities of the market place are changing what were once cast-iron preferences for a single operating system for both Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI). Now, both companies are exploring multiple operating systems as consumers force the companies hands. When Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) acquired Motorola in 2012, in did so for its patent portfolio more than it did for its handset business. Motorola was also one of the first companies to wholly embrace Google’s Android operating system.
New ownership brings new strategies
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is in the process of handing Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI) over to Lenovo Group Limited (ADR) (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) (HKG:0992) and the company has already said that it intends to begin shipping Windows Phones. A phone bearing the Motorola brand running something other than Android? In the past, the company eagerly built on top of Android. The fact that with the Moto X a user needed only to say “OK Google Now” and it would launch a search for the user shows the integration between the two.
Lenovo purchased Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI) with the intention of building its North American market. That market is seeing more and more people taking up the Windows Phone operating system and Lenovo looks as though they will try to capture that market with a Windows Phone of their own, something that just wouldn’t have happened under Google ownership.
The Nokia X family
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is another example of ownership changing the way phone makers are going about their business. Between the announcement that the company would be purchasing Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) and the deal being finalized last month, Nokia did the unthinkable and released a family of phones that ran Android. It’s nearly impossible to believe that this was done without Microsoft’s permission. It also shows the divide in opinion between former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella. Ballmer, it could be argued, was overprotective of Microsoft products while one of Nadella’s first moves as CEO was to release Microsoft Office for the iPad.
The X family of phones runs most Android applications, but the company has moved away from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) mainstays like Gmail, Maps and Google Search and replaced them with Outlook, Bing Maps, and search using Bing.
Whether or not Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to build the X family phones remains to be seen. Certainly the company would prefer to see more and more people latching on to Windows Phones, but in the meantime might they not wish to lose more to Android as they work on getting Windows up to snuff.