Microsoft takes massive step to Android to challenge Apple

Microsoft’s recent reorganization brought together various Android-focused projects into a new division. While Microsoft’s focus on mobile has seen it launch a number of mobile initiatives, bringing it all together under one house illustrates its commitment to the broader market.

Zac Bowden reports on the reorganization: “Microsoft is again reorganizing several key teams and departments. Announced by chief product officer (CPO) Panos Panay in a note earlier this week, the company is moving its Surface Duo operating system, SwiftKey , Phone Link, Microsoft Launcher and a handful of other Android teams under a new dedicated Android organization called “Android Microsoft Platform and Experiences” (AMPX.)”

As hardware, the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 represent one of the most visible elements of Microsoft’s Android strategy; With the dual-screen format and a new way of looking at the UI for Android, the continued presence of the Duo family is reassurance to many that Microsoft isn’t in this space just to catch up on the numbers.

The software side of Microsoft’s Android Adventures emphasizes the fundamentals of Android. You have SwiftKey for text input, you have Microsoft Launcher to wrap apps and experience, you have Microsoft Outlook to manage email and calendar dates; Microsoft Office covers the productivity side of things, OneDrive offers file sync and cloud support, Microsoft continues to push Teams as a collaborative space, and if I’m allowed my own highlights, those would be Full-featured OneNote and the simple yet effective Microsoft ToDo app.

Even though Microsoft didn’t “win” the mobile operating system battle (Windows Phone was just too late for the game, unfortunately without the unconditional support of app developers, smart design wasn’t enough) , its software evolves – particularly in Android but also in the limited playground Apple offers to third-party developers – has given it a foothold in space.

The Duo may be “all Microsoft,” but you can get close to that “all Microsoft” on just about any Android device.

Microsoft is clearly not giving up on this, as the move to the Android division shows.

What happens next? Careful observers of the mobile space will have seen not only the subtle change in Microsoft’s Windows 11 connectivity tool from “Your Phone” to “Phone Link”, but tighter connectivity with Honor’s Windows 11 hardware that unlocks a stronger bond between Windows 11 and Android. .

And if you’re wondering what the endpoint of this closer connection would look like, take a look at the links Apple has made between iOS, iPadOS and macOS – seamless data transfer; sharing application screens; Universal keyboard and mouse control for multiple devices, all of which are highlights.

One of the design features of Windows 11 is the ability to be used in different modes, such as desktop, lap, leaning back and consuming content, etc. Mobile is already in this mix on the handset, but bringing the handset closer to Windows 11 (and vice versa) adds more usage modes for the Microsoft ecosystem to tap into.

The operating system layer of smartphone worlds has found its two main players and they are unlikely to be dropped. But the software and service layers remain fluid as each manufacturer seeks to define their own vision…and consumers have the ability to change that to their own preferences.

With one department in mind, it’s clear where Microsoft wants to be.

Now find out how the Microsoft Surface Duo user interface is inspired by Windows 11…