Phones are just PCs that make voice calls, Microsoft suggests

Since introducing its own Surface tablets Microsoft has been redefining the PC to include devices that haven't been considered PCs before, and it's taken that trend one step further.

In the Nokia Conversations blog, Microsoft Vice President of the Operating Systems Group Terry Myerson says that in emerging markets, the cellphone can be considered a PC.

PC in a phone

"In many cases, these customers are new to Microsoft, and their first personal computer will be a phone," Myerson says in the blog."These customers" are Nokia feature-phone owners who will be herded into the Microsoft tent when the agreement for Microsoft to buy the company goes through sometime next year. Meanwhile, Microsoft has taken over the blog.

Myerson refers to Nokia's mobile phone business that includes a vast number of low-end phones running an operating system more than a decade old. These are not smartphones, but the company sells a lot of them. With the feature phones included in the count, 1.3 billion people use Nokia phones, the blog claims.

It's an impressive number even if it's boosted by sales of legacy technology, but if Microsoft can latch onto these customers and shepherd them along to using Windows Phone 8 devices, buying Nokia could turn out to be a smart move, eventually.

"With Nokia's Mobile Phones starting at $20, more people will be introduced to Microsoft services earlier in their lives than ever before," Myerson blogs. "In some geographies, Windows Phones are not available. Again, Nokia's Mobile Phones will introduce more people to Microsoft services in more places than ever before."

Of course calling feature phone a PC is still a bit of a stretch.

Shifting roles with Nokia

In the lead-up to Microsoft saying it would buy Nokia,  both companies were working against each other, with Microsoft building its own Surface phone and Nokia developing an Android smartphone, according to published reports here and here.

The companies were partners, with Nokia building the bulk of Window Phone 8 smartphones, but apparently Nokia decided it needed a fallback option. Meanwhile the deal implied Microsoft would rely on Nokia for those phones but was actually creating its own hardware to run the platform, the reports say.

If the purchase goes through, the entire issue will evaporate.

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