Why the Android-powered Nokia X is great for Microsoft

There are few better ways for Microsoft to prove its impartiality than by letting marquee partner Nokia run a rival platform.

BARCELONA, Spain -- You would think that Nokia's first Android smartphone would make for the start of a tense relationship with soon-to-be parent Microsoft.
Well, you'd be wrong.
The Nokia X, alongside its brothers the Nokia X+ and the larger Nokia XL, may turn out to be a boon to both companies. The Android phones can be held up as a symbol of Microsoft's continued neutrality, even in the face of the pending acquisition of Nokia's devices business. Nokia, meanwhile, gets an even more competitive budget phone that it can serve up to emerging markets, an area where the struggling company has found success.
At first glance, the use of Android by Nokia, which has exclusively used Microsoft's Windows Phone platform since moving past its legacy Symbian operating system, would seem like a slap in the face.
Android, after all, is the dominant operating system while Windows Phone is a distant third, still trying to prove its legitimacy in the smartphone world. By choosing Android over Windows Phone, Nokia would seem to be impeding Microsoft's progress.
On the contrary: with this phone that Nokia is pushing Microsoft and its services first. Stephen Elop, head of the Nokia devices business, was quick to stress that the phone would allow emerging markets consumers to access services such as Skype, Outlook, and OneDrive. He specifically noted that there would not be Google's cloud services on the phone, with Microsoft and Nokia services at the forefront.
"The Nokia X will be a feeder system for Lumia," Elop said during the press conference. "We're introducing the next billion people to Microsoft."

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