My colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes laid it out the way it is. Windows Mobile is dead as a mobile platform given the lackluster adoption in the market. In spite of the massive effort Microsoft has put into it, there's such a tiny market share that even the company recently stated that mobile is not the firm's focus this year.
Many have said for a long time that Microsoft should move its phone line to Android. Kingsley-Hughes said it best: "One of those foes actually offers Microsoft a possible lifeline, and a way to make a bigger impact in the mobile space. It's time for Microsoft to dump Windows Phone and start making Android smartphones."
I agree. As he points out, Microsoft has done a superb job bringing its major software products to Android so there's a natural fit in moving its mobile hardware to the popular platform. There's even a way to do so that Microsoft could put its own stamp (and brand) on to make it its own.
It would require forking Android in a way to distinguish it from (without upsetting) the rest of the pack, something Microsoft could make in line with Windows while embracing Android's strengths.
I think Microsoft should acquire Asian firm Jide.
This small company wouldn't take much of Microsoft's vast financial resources and would get Jide's Remix OS, an Android fork that has been in existence for well over a year.
Having used Remix OS for over a year, it's clear to me that this variant of Android is tailor-made for Microsoft. It's a full version of Android that has been designed to look and work much like Windows, right down to a file manager and familiar taskbar. Throw in the ability to run apps in windows on tablets and it's perfect for the Windows brand.
That's a good fit for the folks in Redmond and would allow them to put a Windows brand on it even though it is Android. Its Android apps already work out of the box on Remix OS and it wouldn't restrict those from OEM partners. It's a win-win for Microsoft.
This makes perfect sense to me. Remix OS runs Microsoft's apps so well. This is especially true of Office. It's a Microsoft variant for Android that already exists. It would only have to acquire the company and run with it. The smart people at Microsoft could turn Remix OS into a cool Windows version of Android while still supporting partners' Android hardware. Having a Microsoft "Windroid" phone would have a mass appeal.