Report: Microsoft Adds New Android Division Following Internal Reorg

Microsoft has reportedly announced an internal reorganization earlier this week, which has led the company to regroup its different Android teams under a new Android division. According to Windows Central, the company announced the reorg via an internal memo from Chief Product Officer Panos Panay, who’s set to make an appearance at Microsoft’s hybrid work event next week on April 5. 

The report says that Microsoft’s new Android division is called “Android Microsoft Platform and Experiences” (AMPX), and it includes the different teams working on Surface Duo, the Microsoft Launcher, the new Phone Link app, and the Swiftkey keyboard. Until now, many of these employees were diluted into the larger Microsoft Mobile Experiences (MMX) division that’s also responsible for Microsoft’s iOS apps. 

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Microsoft confirmed the internal reorganization in an email shared with Windows Central. “Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. We recently made an organizational change to accelerate our impact and better serve our customers and partners,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

The software giant could have big ambitions with this new Android division under Panos Panay. Android is now pretty much Microsoft’s preferred mobile OS, and the company may want to create better synergies between Windows and Android, similar to what Apple achieved with iOS and macOS. 

“Sources tell me that Microsoft has big ideas in mind for Android and Windows over the next handful of years, including more advanced integrations between Android smartphones and Windows PCs beyond what’s already available via the Phone Link app today. Microsoft wants to position Android smartphones as an extension to Windows PCs, with the goal of creating interoperable experiences similar to what can be had with an iPhone and Mac,” explained Windows Central’s Zac Bowden.

Microsoft rebranded its Your Phone app as Phone Link yesterday, and this app is getting a new “Recent Apps” continuity feature that will let Android users quickly access their recently used Android apps on their PC. This feature is currently being tested on select Samsung Galaxy devices, and that’s unfortunately been an ongoing theme with some of Microsoft’s Android efforts. You still need to own a Surface Duo or a high-end Samsung Galaxy phone to enjoy the best of what Microsoft has to offer on Android, so let’s hope this new Android division will finally start thinking about everyone else.

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Conversation 34 comments

  • BenPritchard

    Premium Member
    01 April, 2022 - 12:07 pm

    <p>The Windows Central article says that Panay is only a CVP- I thought he was an EVP?</p><p>Also, part of me wonders if Microsoft are hedging their bets in case all of the big tech/ anti monopoly stuff means that other forks of Android are feasibly possible on well known devices </p>

    • Bart

      Premium Member
      01 April, 2022 - 12:39 pm

      <p>This was the first thing on my mind as well. With the DMA coming into force here in Europe, it could well open up a lot of possibilities for Microsoft. Messaging being one of them, but if it will have implication on OS level as well, that would be really interesting.</p>

  • SvenJ

    01 April, 2022 - 12:35 pm

    <p>I wonder if this love for, and promotion of, Android over iOS will make the countless Windows users who prefer iOS consider MACs, or consider Android. </p>

    • ozaz

      01 April, 2022 - 12:40 pm

      <p>I use Windows and iOS. It makes me consider Android, but the main obstacle is the poor state of device support duration on Android in comparison to iOS.</p>

    • simard57

      01 April, 2022 - 3:12 pm

      <p>MS has more flexibility with Open-Source Android than with proprietary IOS.</p><p><br></p>

    • rmlounsbury

      Premium Member
      01 April, 2022 - 3:38 pm

      <p>I wouldn’t say that Microsoft promotes Android over iOS at all. Android gets more run because the platform is open so that Microsoft can build hooks into Android that connect with Windows and other Microsoft products making it the natural choice for Microsoft to build their mobile products. </p><p><br></p><p>They can’t do that with Apple products. You can use Phone Link with iOS but there is only so much you can do with it due to limitations on iOS by Apple. But, Microsoft does still produce excellent apps for iOS and have gone quite a way in refreshing Office for macOS. </p>

      • truerock2

        01 April, 2022 - 3:59 pm

        <p>I agree.</p><p>All of my Microsoft Office documents are stored on OneDrive – and I use Microsoft Office on my iPhone quite a bit.</p>

    • jdawgnoonan

      02 April, 2022 - 7:41 am

      <p>No, because most users really only use whatever platform they know. Microsoft would have to do something extremely compelling to get regular users to switch their phone platform. </p>

  • ozaz

    01 April, 2022 - 12:37 pm

    <p>Are there any signs that Microsoft will start producing Android phones in the budget or midrange segment of the market?</p><p><br></p><p>For the Android device that Microsoft does produce (Surface Duo) what is the forecast for OS and security updates? Is it likely to be supported for longer than typical Android devices?</p>

  • dftf

    01 April, 2022 - 1:01 pm

    <p>Just a slight correction to the article (see bolded text):</p><p><br></p><p><em>"</em>Android <em>is now pretty much </em>Microsoft<em>’s preferred mobile OS, and the company may want to create better synergies between </em>Windows<em> and </em><strong>Samsung</strong><em>".</em></p><p><br></p><p>We all know from the <em>Your Phone </em>experience, <em>Microsoft </em>seems to have a preference for that company!</p>

  • dftf

    01 April, 2022 - 1:06 pm

    <p>On the <em>Apple </em>front though — it does seem odd they don’t make it so <em>iTunes</em> could allow users on <em>Windows</em> to do things like mirror their <em>iPhone </em>or <em>iPad</em> display, or get notifications within that app.</p><p><br></p><p>It wouldn’t be as-good as on <em>Mac</em>, where notifications seamlessly blend-into the system notifications, but would be better-than-nothing.</p><p><br></p><p>I mean, there is surely way-more users out there who will own either an <em>iPhone </em>or <em>iPad</em> AND a <em>Windows</em> device, than who own either, plus a <em>Mac</em> laptop or desktop? Seems a bit odd to want to piss-off users in the former camp by never allowing any functionality similar-to <em>Your Phone</em> on <em>Windows</em>, no?</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      01 April, 2022 - 1:40 pm

      <p>A year or two ago Apple was hiring developers to rewrite the Windows version of iTunes to make it more like how they split it all up on the Mac. I don’t think we will see anything until that happens.</p>

  • dmclaurin

    01 April, 2022 - 1:51 pm

    <p>This app is just getting better &amp; better. I no longer feel the need for Android apps on Windows, since I can just use them on my laptop with this app. Kudos to MS!</p>

    • dftf

      01 April, 2022 - 2:34 pm

      <p>You’re forgetting about the people who don’t own an <em>Android </em>device… I’m sure some of <em>them</em> would still like to run <em>Android</em> apps on <em>Windows</em>, even if <em>you </em>now don’t need to! (Not forgetting the many, many people with <em>Android</em> devices, but which aren’t <em>Samsung</em> brand ones, and so wouldn’t get this feature, either!)</p>

      • Donte

        03 April, 2022 - 10:04 am

        <p>Or the majority of people, myself included that don’t own an Android phone or want to run Android apps in Windows. I never thought the Android apps on Windows was going to be popular. If it never came out I would not care.</p>

  • will

    Premium Member
    01 April, 2022 - 2:42 pm

    <p>What would stop MS from making their own OS based on the Android OS? They have done it with Edge (yes Chromium is open and not a Google product) but maybe they could do it with Android. Skin it, update some functions to be MS based, like they have done with Chrome/Edge, and remove anything that would reference Google. </p><p><br></p><p>While they would be not in the drivers seat for new OS functions at a core level, does that really make a difference if they release the MS version of the OS 2-3 months after the core Android OS is released?</p>

    • kevin_costa

      01 April, 2022 - 3:15 pm

      <p>No access to the Google Play Store = instant failure. That’s why MS won’t fork Android the same way that Amazon forked for its devices, with no Google services available. They learned the hard way with Windows Phone.</p><p>It’s easier and safer to do what they are doing with the Surface Duo. A custom Android OS with access to the Play Store and Microsoft Apps. An OEM role instead of being a weak competitor with no apps.</p>

    • rmlounsbury

      Premium Member
      01 April, 2022 - 6:45 pm

      <p>Technically they have done this with the Android version that is powering the Surface Duo. Microsoft took Android and built their own version with Microsoft Launcher at the core. So, in effect Microsoft has their own version of Android. </p><p><br></p><p>However, it still has to be stamped and approved for the Google Play Store + Google Play Services otherwise it is a brick that doesn’t do much. </p><p><br></p><p>To actually fork Android and start from scratch means Microsoft has to have it’s own store and own services to power the many bits of Android. I’d assume that is a business Microsoft has no interest in.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      02 April, 2022 - 2:28 am

      <p>Android is not Google’s in the same way that Chromium isn’t Google’s. Both are open source projects created by Google and both are totally free to use as you will. Google Android is Android OSP with the Google services layered on top. If Microsoft can replace them with their own APIs, they can do that. But they couldn’t sell the Surface Duo any more with Google Android on it – Google’s licensing says either Google Android or AOSP, you can’t do both; although the EU did challenge them on that condition.</p>

  • rbwatson0

    Premium Member
    01 April, 2022 - 4:19 pm

    <p>Is it just me, or does it seem like MS has an internal reorganization every quarter? ? </p>

  • peterc

    Premium Member
    01 April, 2022 - 5:18 pm

    <p>This is something that should have happened 2 years ago. Seems a little late and behind the curve.</p>

  • egab

    01 April, 2022 - 5:23 pm

    <p>I wish they will make their "Film &amp; TV" app available on Android. Even if just as a player of already bought content (to avoid the Google Tax). It’s the only MS component missing since migrating from WP to Android (Not counting the ones they cancelled on all platforms).</p>

  • bschnatt

    01 April, 2022 - 6:05 pm

    <p>This stinks of an April Fool’s joke, but what do I know? I’m the guy who pushes the carnivore diet, remember? ;)</p>

  • Donte

    01 April, 2022 - 6:07 pm

    <p>April fools??</p>

  • jordan_meyer

    Premium Member
    01 April, 2022 - 6:44 pm

    <p>This will be and has been DOA for anyone that prefers to own something other than Samsung and now Honor in China. Unless Microsoft can convince other Android makers to get on board with whatever Phone link drivers are needed or provide a base universal driver that gives 80-90 percent of the functions this will be an exclusive club only leaving behind the majority. </p>

  • rmlounsbury

    Premium Member
    01 April, 2022 - 6:49 pm

    <p>Hmmm… I wonder if Microsoft is going to get it’s act together enough to make me regret going all in on Apple. I was fully committed to Windows/Windows Phone and when they added Continuum it mated up with exactly what I wanted from a platform eco-system. </p><p><br></p><p>Alas, Windows Phone is dead, Microsoft’s take on Android has been lacking, and their phone integration only really works well for Surface Duo and Samsung phones.</p><p><br></p><p>If they circle the wagons with this re-org dedicating a group to their Android efforts maybe they can dome up with something that will make we want to comeback. </p>

    • jchampeau

      Premium Member
      01 April, 2022 - 7:28 pm

      <p>I don’t think you’ll regret your Apple purchases. One of Apple’s strong suits is "finishing the job" and Microsoft just isn’t very good at that. They seem to get to 80% or 90% and then stop, so you end up with an inconsistent UI, updates that break things, etc.</p>

    • aretzios

      02 April, 2022 - 1:43 am

      <p>That means that you would need to buy an Android phone, which you will not. Dozens of Microsoft apps are available for Android already, including the whole Office. </p>

      • rmlounsbury

        Premium Member
        03 April, 2022 - 9:43 pm

        <p>Untrue, I have a Pixel 5a + Surface Pro X. They are not my primary devices anymore. But I keep them to stay abreast of what is going on with those platforms. </p><p><br></p><p>Use the best tool for the job. Don’t assume because I went all in on Apple doesn’t mean</p><p>I don’t own and use other devices based on other platforms. I’m a Microsoft guy and I manage Windows Server, Desktop, M365 tenants, and Azure resources.</p><p><br></p><p>Consumer side I prefer Apple. </p>

    • webdev511

      Premium Member
      02 April, 2022 - 1:02 pm

      <p>I think the phone integration works just fine on Pixel devices. Of course I don’t have a duo or samsung device, so I don’t know what I’m missing.</p>

      • rmlounsbury

        Premium Member
        03 April, 2022 - 9:36 pm

        <p>Mostly, app mirroring is only available for Samsung &amp; Duo. I’ve tried Duo &amp; Samsung and it feels like integration is better with Samsung than Duo. </p><p><br></p><p>Pixel has weird issues with the rest of the integration. </p>

  • sscywong

    02 April, 2022 - 5:14 am

    <p>Despite that Windows in my preferred PC OS, no matter what MS do for Andriod I’ll stick with iOS at least until they have their own AOSP with no Google spying APIs on system level… </p><p><br></p><p>I get that if I use Google Maps or Mail then Google will have my info… I choose that. But NOT any of my other usage info for their ad business</p>

    • Donte

      03 April, 2022 - 10:07 am

      <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">if I use Google Maps or Mail then Google will have my info"</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">You are done already. Google has it all. I bet you use Google search as well, or watch YouTube logged in with your gmail account.</span></p>

  • ponsaelius

    03 April, 2022 - 10:47 am

    <p>Android. The WindowsPhone of the 2020s. </p><p><br></p><p>From a privacy perspective it’s not the best look. </p>

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