Document shows Microsoft planned to take on Android through unconventional means

Microsoft has recently discussed internally somewhat unconventional tactics to help drag Windows Phone up to the level of Android, closing the gap at a faster rate. The Information has had the opportunity to look at internal documentation, which covers numerous scenarios as to how Microsoft planned to compete against Google in the industry. Head past the break for the full read.

We'll kick off with a scenario, described in the document, where a smartphone purchaser would pop into a mobile operator store, choose a mobile device and then select whether they wish to have Windows Phone or Android powering the hardware. There are also records of a meeting between Microsoft and a potential partner for this idea to be discussed.

Before you get carried away with imagining an experience where you could effectively select your own phone OS in-store, this scenario won't become reality due to technical hurdles and the like, but it's an interesting look into how Redmond is looking at tackling the problem that is Google's Android.

There are other plans detailed in the document. These include numerous ideas from cutting the licensing fees altogether for OEMs to build hardware running the Windows Phone OS, or even lending a hand through marketing and working with partners to build mobile phones with both Android and Windows Phone installed.

Windows Phone

There is one requirement Microsoft would hold with manufacturers, if they were to look at running both operating systems together – to use Qualcomm chips. This would potentially cause issues for companies who rely on chips from other manufacturers.

All the above said, Windows Phone still appears as a lucrative platform to manufacturing partners. Android is a busy platform with multiple vendors fighting it out underneath the likes of Samsung. Microsoft's Windows Phone has just Nokia dominating the market with room for other companies to fit in, should enough investment be offered.


Since Redmond currently charges Android device makers royalties for using patented technologies, the company also toyed with the idea of using funds raised from said charges to advertise hardware made by the same manufacturers, powered by Windows Phone. As noted above, the different ideas and plans drafted in the document is expansive.

There are other options covered in the documentation, including a "big push" to market the platform on TV, social media and another avenues after the release of "Blue." We've already seen an increase in marketing from the company, especially when paired with Nokia.

Source: The Information

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • @Rich, welcome for the tip!!
  • How much did he tip you?
  • Just the tip.
  • Sorry, we had it before you tipped (only just saw your email). Was just a beast to type up with everything else going on.
  • Ohh. No worries, you're doing a great job!
  • Now the plans are made public. I don't think that helps the situation.
  • They posted a story about Microsoft possibly dropping licensing fees a bit ago. We've also heard the rumor of dual booting Android and WP. Nothing really new here. They are just ideas anyways.
  • only want two things from Windows Phone (down from a list of 10 or so...)  1. Bluetooth keyboard 2. untethered phone book/ contact list ... please let me know if they have been accomplished :)
  • OTG would be nice.
  • bluetooth keyboard seems easy enough. what do you mean by "untethered phonebook"?  
  • James, I think bobaboba wants to be able to save contacts directly to the phone, without having to tie it to one of your email services. For example, my entire contact list, save maybe five people, are all saved to Outlook email service. When I log into that account on my phone, it automatically pulls the contacts onto the phone. I don't think Windows Phones let you save a contact without backing it up.
  • Depends on your phone model. My L521 allows me to backup phone numbers to my SD card. If you have an L920, this is not possible.
  • How to u save or backup contacts on sd card?
  • Download the app "transfer my data" and hit the 3 dots on the bottom right.
  • Regarding #2. I also had the same issue with Windows Phone. I hated that it uses the People Hub as phonebook, mixing my Facebook contacts with my phone contacts. I have a lot of people on Facebook that I don't have a phone number for. Yet they were populating my phone book. Doesn't make any sense! The solution was the app called Rapdialer. It's meant to replace the native phone app and has a contact list that only displays the contacts that have a phone number attached. How it should be. Only downside is it doesn't log incoming and missed calls. Therefore you still need the native phone app tile, so you can see those notifications. I really hope Microsoft fixes the native phonebook someday.
  • You do realize you can have it filter out your Facebook friends completely and only show off people that you have in Outlook?  Then I can go back and manually (or sometimes automatically if their name is the same in both places) link them with their facebook profile. That's how I have my phone set up.
  • The downside of filtering is say for instance you have a work email account and personal email account tied to your phone, with the work account filtered you cannot save numbers to it unless you unfilter it... But at least they should give users an option if they want social media contacts populating their contact list along with the ability to create multiple phone books. Right now i have work contacts showing up on my whatsapp, which i have to block. I don't want clients messaging me out of hours on whatsapp. That's my private and personal space lol.
  • You don't filter something as minute as an email address field. You simply tell the phone to not show Facebook contacts in the hub. You can even still find them with a search, but not bu simply scrolling through the list. That's how I have it too. Its nice being able to access the Facebook people for certain reasons, but I don't want them showing up all of the time.
  • Thanks winmopro and myrandex for the great hint! I didn't realize you could link to the Skype and Facebook contacts even when they have been filtered.
  • Same here... only Facebook/twitter profiles linked to contacts w/ phone numbers show in my contacts list/People Hub.    
  • Good to see Microsoft stepping up their game this rapidly. I bet WP will take the spot from Apple as second biggest in late 2015.
  • yes its been rediculously fast. only 14 years and look how far we've come. i will eat my phone if WP overcomes apple.
  • ^^ Lacking perspective.
  • Globally, that is very likely. Stateside, unlikely.
  • Careful. You might eat your phone and your words.
  • Start eating...
  • anything tastes good with nutella spread on it.
  • bet accepted. I bet  WP will take the spot from Apple as second biggest in 2018.
  • Only use Qualcomm chips? Welcome new CEO? :-)
  • I'm sure it's a stability/compatibility issue not a CEO issue. :)
  • I know. Was joking around.
  • You mean " down to the level of Android", don't you...? ;)
  • Rome coming from the fascism and then... Mussolini politic sad... " When the world it's conquered by the fascism it's really conquered by the Corporations".
  • Windows Phone loaded with malware out of the box! ;)
  • Android The only mobile os needing virus protection.
  • Says the windows user..?
  • What's your point? WP doesn't need virus protection.
  • While that be true for the desktop (granted, Windows 8 now ships with some top notch built in security... And so long as you don't visit shady porn sites, you're usually in the clear [same with Android though, I suppose...]), Windows Phone, too my knowledge, has had no major incidents with malware. I think iOS has had one or two, but those didn't actually attack iOS. Rather, the malware was hidden in iOS apps, so people syncing via iTunes would accidentally install the malware to their desktop machines. So going off that, of the Big Three (Apple, Google & Microsoft): technically, only Google's phone OS is the one where downloading malware and virus protection is of a (very mild) concern.
  • Only fools get viruses. Even bigger fools actually pay for antivirus software, funding further virus development... Afterall who stands to profit the most from viruses?
  • I was thinking the same thing!
  • I think that the simplest option is to cut the WP licensing fee AND slash in half Android royalty fees for OEMs who also develop AND promote Windows Phones. I stress the AND promote, because that's the problem I feel that HTC and Samsung are failing at these days.
  • The problem is, neither HTC or Samsung ever put out top quality hardware on WP7/8. Had we seen Galaxy, Note or HTC One level hardware, the phones would sell themselves.
  • I would like to see Samsung come out at CES or MW and say, "here is our Galaxy S5, available on either Android or WP". Same with HTC. Doesn't have to be duel boot, just have the same specs, camera etc.
  • The main focus should be on improving the OS itself. Then the users become a bigger part of the marketing campaign and I think that's the best way to market anything.
  • That's a good point. Even as good as WP8 is, it still feels incomplete. Just the fact that they haven't allowed a way to use pre-recorded video files with Apps is quite frustrating and frankly unacceptable to many people.
  • I think that it's the best marketing.. USERS.. Meaning, all of us.. I'm proud to have converted almost 15 friends to WP ( yes they bought the Lumia 520 )
  • Microsoft has to understand that they're running Very Late... :( we need basic features... there are few things we need very much, Proper multitasking/Notifications bar/auto-rotation lock... if they provide these updates, i think WP will stabilize in market :)
  • Notification centre is coming with WP 8.1 upgrade. You can enjoy auto-rotation on/off right now. Download the developer preview and install GDR3...
  • Beyond these, there are hellova lot of small things that need fixing. I could list them but id end up typing an never ending story lol. Regardless im happier with my L920 and to be honest its the same story with all oses when they start up. People forget that the features in ios and android they enjoy today were not there from day one, they have been added over time.
  • true that... but Microsoft should work on basic, Most required features... apps are in development already and everyone uses their phone in a different way... businessmen/ celebs need no frustration with basic features unavailability, that's why they run after iOS.
  • "We've already seen an increase in marketing from the company, especially when paired with Nokia." If only this marketing included Canada. For anyone that doesn't know, BlackBerry still holds almost 20% marketshare here last time I checked. No where else in the world have I seen it hold more than 1-6%. Clearly we're not seeing any big push here. I've seen one dedicated WP commerical since 1st gen WP were launched a few yrs ago. Carriers get limited to no WP devices. We're lucky to see flagships and if we do we receive them months after US launches when no one cares anymore or the buzz has died off. There is absolutely ZERO sign of the 1520 coming to Canada still to this day with thousands of people left wondering why. Like other Canadians I had to buy an unlocked model. We're being treated worse than a 3rd world country. I don't get why. I guess you need a population to the equivalent of China or the US for Microsoft to care?
  • I feel for you, dude! And agree. If anybody has been marketing WPs worse than Nokia, it's Microsoft. I just don't get it. And not just Canada, I've b***ng about it earlier too, but I wanted to buy (and did :-) a Lumia 2520 on the week it came out in the UK. Had a really hard time to finding out that only John Lewis (!) would sell them. Even harder was to find the actual tablet in the store! </rant>
  • Gotta say I have zero interest in a phone that has both WP and Android built in. I'll stick with those that only include WP, thank you very much.
  • haha... I discussed this technology long time back... :D This is a Great Idea... these companies are stealing money by bringing a minor change to phones ... :/ totally waste! :/ I think, user should have power to install Any Mobile OS anytime he/she wants. But, WP will have to understand that iOS and Android are very stable and are working Up to the mark, whereas, Windows phones needs hell lot of updates to compete with Android. If WP team covers All the basic features in WP OS, then this Idea will help both Nokia and Microsoft ... and Users as well :)
  • lol Android is far from stable. iOS and WP8 are both stable.
  • From my experience, iOS is definitely more stable than Android, but WP rules them all in stability.
  • Stable? LOLL
  • what in the world i just read...Android is stable???
  • I have to agree with then Mayur. I love android, but it really isn't stable. My HTC 8x has done a much better job at keeping stability over most of the androids that I have tried.
  • By stable i meant, all basic features are available... :) Users don't have to cry for basic features... :D otherwise, android crashes alot.. even 2 GB RAM isn't enough :/
  • pls delete
  • I would like to see MS leverage some of its not inconsiderable might. A decent Forza 5 companion app would be a start. I can't believe they developed a product for the Xbox One and didn't consider it. Same when Titanfall hits too. You know for a fact that if Google had a games machine, it would tie in to YouTube et al and be a majorly cross platform affair. And once you had signed their "privacy" statement, you would have a fluid experience across all their platforms.
  • Desperate measures but that's not the kind of strategy I'd like to see from MS. If only Terry Meyerson and friends would take head of user feedback, suggestions, and complaints, WP probably would have moved forward faster.
  • That's true I agree with you
  • Consumers do have high regards for WP but when WP is missing features loved on other platforms, they get angry and are turned off. Thus they return to their former. Newbies to smartphones follow power users. Apps are important but I seriously don't think its the #1 case. Official Instagram app showed up and the hype lasted about a day. Apple got most everything right I think. They took the iPod+phone+ipad=iPhone. MS took Phone+?+?=wp. I wish I could take my wp personally to MS and show them all the flaws and improvements that could be made.
  • Same here, ever since i got my L920 I've been loving the hardware, but right now there are too many work arounds needed... People talk about the headline grabbers i.e cortana, notification center but its the little things that complete the experience. ,
  • I don't want Terry Meyerson or anyone else to take my head.
  • Who would do that ... Were android has all the good apps and features.... If Microsoft wants to compete with Google... They should focus on making and filling the app gap with requested and good apps
  • And also work on there AIPs
  • To bad they didn't execute on some of the ideas. Unified harware is smart, but the only point I don't like. Dedicated buttons, people hub intergration and all these things are what made WP what it is. There already cuting the OS free for the app model and I don't like it one bit. Find another way to update the whole OS to keep WP growing to something uniqe, not a iPhone modell.
  • They should be aggressive and discount OEM fees.
  • Don't have an opinion on dual boot but like the idea of dropping the license fees to OEM's. I would drop the price to free to Samsung, LG and Sony; known for making popular and well built smartphones.
  • Samsung? Well built smartphones?????? I disagree i know several people who have shattered their (s3, s4) Samsung phones even in a leather case when they dropped it from table height or onto the kerb. Heck my bros s2 backside split into two along with a cracked screen the other day when he dropped it onto the patio. He was trying to carry too many things at once and misjudged a pocket. I've dropped my L920 soo many times, even got kicked by an idiot down the stairs at train station when i had dropped it... Rush hour at the train stations is a nightmare. Thanks to the tpu case the phone is still in mint condition.
  • I helped a colleague with his idea of jumping back onto the smartphone wagon after 5 years with a feature phone, of course i insisted he get the 520 as he doesn't have a lot of disposable income, he thought on it and after meeting up today after the holiday period he announced he had bought a Huawei, as we rejoiced he added that he had chosen an android running Huawei, i asked him why he hadn't gone with WP and he replied "the guy at the shop said it doesn't have the apps i need" i then told him that it almost definitely does and asked him which ones were missing, he responded............."candy crush" THE END
  • *of our friendship
  • Once WP can do more than android....well be good .as of now....there's alot android can do that WP can't aside of app gap.
  • That will be a long wait, WP is made to be locked down.  Android will always be the OS that allows the most customisation, good or bad.
  • Dual boot on popular android devices would bring a lot of users to the platform if they want to try it. I would love an Xperia that dual boots windows phone.
  • The reason to offer dual boot isn't so WP users can run Android. It is so the Android user who thinks that WP is not worth jumping ship for will get a chance to actually see for themselves that WP is a superior platform to Android.
  • Cuz it does make sense for msft to make it free for companies that pay royalties to make windowsphone,they already pay royalties why would they pay another payment...
    Make it free for android vendors to make window phones..period!
  • Forget dual boot,just use Windowsphone
  • I think its not dual boot but the same device that has the capability to either run WP or Android. Like the soon to be GS5 for example. Instead of making a different device specifically for WP, Samsung could basically Slap WP on the device instead of Android. Thus you'll have two similar devices, one running Android and the other WP. Wouldn't this be easier for OEMs?
  •   ↵
     Windows Phone has just Nokia dominating the market with room for other companies to fit in, should enough investment be offered
    :D LOL no, people buy WP because of Nokia hardware. Not the other way around.
  • Intel and ASUS already announced new PC's and tablets that can dual-boot Android and Windows. If it can work for PC's and tablets, then it can work for smartphones.
  • What i feel is, after the acquisition, MS will take Nokia out of the equation altogether and then, this will allow other OEMs to concentrate on WP. For now, until this happens, no other OEM would be interested in making a WP device. After MS stop nokia from making WP devices, slowly likes of SONY, samung and others will start pushing their devices. This is what i guess will happen.   NOM to anyone!
  • Don't think Nokia will be shut down those 90% WP hardware are frm Nokia, getting other manufacturers creating around 9M WP8 not easy.
  • They need to get the app market way better. At least that is the problem in Norway. All apps from tv shows and such is for ios and android only. That sucks. There is not a single quit smoking app in Norwegian.
  • Now they know,
  • Now that's a breath of relief