The company is in talks with smartphone manufacturers about building phones that can work both with Google’s Android operating system as well as Windows Phone 8, according to Amir Efrati at The Information. At the time of activation, consumers would be able to choose between a phone that boots Microsoft’s mobile OS or Google’s.
The move seems similar to how Linux and Windows have traditionally coexisted in the PC ecosystem. Users can install either operating system on PC hardware, but most choose Microsoft’s offering. Microsoft would seem to be hoping that something similar would happen if users were given the choice on their smartphones.
The report is similar to rumors that surfaced last year, which pointed to a “dual-OS” phone from HTC that would run both WP8 and Android.
A dual-OS strategy could have massive benefits: OEMs have seemed skittish when it comes to investing in building hardware for Microsoft’s platform, preferring to stick with the tried-and-true, market-dominating choice of Android. Being able to build one phone for both platforms could make Microsoft’s OS a more interesting choice.
It could also mean more opportunities for consumers to choose Microsoft’s offering over Google’s. At this point, any edge might help bring Windows Phone’s market share up from 3.2 percent of the U.S. market.
Microsoft declined to comment.