NYT: Nokia worked on Android phones, Microsoft knew

|About: Nokia Corporation (NOK)|By:, SA News Editor

Two sources tell the NYT a Nokia (NOK +0.8%) team "had Android up and running" on Lumia phones well before talks to sell Nokia's phone ops to Microsoft (MSFT +1%) began, and that Microsoft was aware of the project.

In spite of its alliance with Microsoft, Nokia would've been free to sell Android phones after late 2014. Critics frequently argued the company made a colossal mistake by opting for Windows Phone over Android (currently has a ~75% smartphone share), and Stephen Elop had hinted Nokia was open to using Android down the line.

The Microsoft deal prohibits Nokia from offering mobile hardware under its brand until the end of 2015. If the company does have plans to make phones after the deal closes, it isn't tipping its hand.

Meanwhile, a Singapore-based startup called Newkia has already recruited a team of former Nokia execs, and promises to poach additional Nokia phone division employees in an effort to build Android hardware true to the spirit of Nokia's design/engineering philosophy.

Aided by fresh upgrades and optimism about a phone-free future, Nokia shares had another strong week. They're now up 64% since the Microsoft deal was announced.