Microsoft, Android and The Guardian

guardian.gifThe Guardian has an article by Charles Arthur on how "Satya Nadella must kill Windows Phone and fork Android". While I agree Microsoft’s Windows Phone efforts are doomed, I don’t think forking the OS would be as simple as it seems. Charles says…

"Most useful of all, developers who have written Android apps would be able to port them over with minimal effort"

I am the side of VisionMobile who say, in their latest Developer Economics Report, that…

"Google has moved 10s of its own apps and APIs outside the Open Source android Project (AOSP) so that Android apps that rely on certain Google  apps and APIs – including Calendar, Location API, Maps, Push Notifications, Account syncing & authentication – will not run directly on forked versions of Android, unless explicitly modified for the forked OS version. Most developers will not invest the extra effort required to port their apps unless porting gives them access to 10s of millions more devices or markedly higher revenues per user."

I suppose the question is whether Microsoft’s use of Android would provide for "10s of millions more devices". It would be a ‘chicken and egg’ situation similar to which Microsoft already finds itself with Windows Phone. It’s very difficult to grow the market unless you are one of the first in the market.

UPDATE: ArsTechnica has posted a contentious article Neither Microsoft, Nokia, nor anyone else should fork Android. It’s unforkable. Also read Google’s Dianne Hackborn’s defensive response.