Not so fast.
Earlier this week it was reported that Microsoft may be producing special Windows 10 ROMs that can be burned directly onto Android handsets. If true, this would give Microsoft direct access to the cheap smartphone market, instead of just using Trojan horse applications (Office 365, Outlook, OneNote, etc.) like it does now.
But, Hugo Barra, Xiaomi's VP, took to Google+ to explain the situation. <I guess if you want the least number of people to know about something, you choose the social network that is currently being dismantled>
In his Google+ post, Barra clarifies the undertaking as an experimental program – for now – and goes on to state that build is specifically for Xiamoi's MI 4 devices.
Xiamoi, Inc., founded in 2010, is a privately owned Chinese electronics company and the world's 3rd largest distributor of smartphones.
So, this makes sense for Microsoft in a couple ways.
The only company to reportedly make real inroads into the Chinese market is Apple. Apple's iPhone and already its Apple Watch are so hot in China that much of its hardware pirating industry relies on it. To get a foothold on Chinese consumers, a company has to have a niche. Despite Apple's popularity in the country, Android still holds the majority of the market because of its low-cost, maintaining about 90% of the mobile market. The normal Chinese aren't rich, which why is lower-priced, Apple replicas are so popular while Android remains the clear leader. So if the majority of the Chinese have an Android smartphone already in their pocket, a simple ROM burn could turn the tide for quickly Microsoft and give the company an overnight niche.
As Barra stated, this is an experimental program. What happens if it works? Does the experimentation eventually lead to an official release? And, if the experiment turns into a full-fledged offering, what's next? Xiamoi also produces an Android tablet called the MiPad, a smart TV called the MiTV, and a set-top box called the MiBox, all based on MIUI, its customized version of Android.
And, if China is the test bed, and it works, how soon could we see a U.S.-based version of this "experiment"? Android garners over 80% of the smartphone market worldwide, with 72% in the U.S. This is despite Apple's record holiday sales.
Through multi-platform app offerings and now this symbiotic hardware takeover, Microsoft is making a definite play for Google. I'm sure the company is aware, but could just be too involved in robots, AI, self-driving cars, and privacy siphoning to care.