Microsoft is "seriously considering" adding Android application support to its Windows Phone and Windows desktop software, according to The Verge.
The move is being discussed in depth at the Redmond-based company, according to the report, with opinions on whether it's a good or bad strategy strongly divided. Planning is said to be in early stages, and it's not clear if it will actually happen.
Microsoft has long struggled with its application marketplaces, missing out on several big names that could draw in users. Flappy Bird earlier this year is a key example of an application available on only iOS and Android, and up until a few months ago, Instagram and Vine also fell into the same category.
Microsoft reportedly doesn't want to support an additional platform, so it's likely it will use a third-party "enabler" to distribute the Android apps if they were actually to come to Windows. A prime candidate is Intel, which has been testing a dual OS Windows and Android concept. There's also BlueStacks, a company that enables Android apps to run on Windows PCs.
If launching Android applications on the Windows platform were to fail, it could have serious implications. This was evident at BlackBerry, which began to support Android applications with its BlackBerry 10 OS that eventually failed to catch steam in the marketplace.
Android applications could be what the Windows Phone operating system needs though. In Q4 2013, Windows Phone marketshare was 3 per cent, compared to iOS' 17.6 per cent and Android's 78.1 per cent, according to research firm IDC on Wednesday. Having more applications within the Windows Store could be a draw for users.
We've contacted Microsoft for comment on the matter, and will update you if any more information comes to light.