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The day before Nokia announced its Android phones at a February wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft unveiled plans to update its Windows Phone system. Among other things, the software runs more efficiently, so it doesn't require as much processing power. That update, Windows Phone 8.1, came out in May. Microsoft also began giving the Windows software to phone makers for free, the way Google has with Android. And it relaxed requirements for physical buttons. All that has made Windows phones cheaper to make.
The Nokia X phones do have some good touches, including slots for two SIM cards — something important for emerging markets, where phone rates vary so much that people often switch services depending on whom they are calling or texting. Windows didn't allow that until the May update.
The improvements made to Windows ultimately reduced the need for Nokia X. But even if that hadn't happened, it was doubtful Nokia X would have survived under new owners.
In his memo, Elop pointed out that "the role of phones within Microsoft is different than it was within Nokia."
Nokia's business had been to make phones. With Microsoft, the phones are a way to showcase the company's other offerings in services and software, including the Windows Phone system.
And Nokia X had no role in that.