Android's open-source design means that any company can help shape the operating system; even huge businesses such as Microsoft. Over the course of 2020, the software giant has helped developed Android to make it even better.

Someone holding an Android phone

How Microsoft Became Android's Biggest Ally

In 2020, we saw Microsoft take the first few steps into Google's domain. Back in January 2020, we saw the first public release of a Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. This move took the beating heart of what made Google Chrome so powerful and implemented it into Microsoft's browser.

By using Google's codebase, Microsoft enjoyed a renewed interest in its Edge browser. It's now at the point where Microsoft will no longer support Internet Explorer and the legacy version of Edge in lieu of the new Chromium Edge.

Since then, Microsoft has been gradually building upon Google's code, going so far as to flesh out half-developed Chrome features before Google could. Microsoft also occasionally points out flaws in the Chromium base to Google's engineers, so both sides can benefit.

From this, we can see that Microsoft isn't shy to work alongside Google; however, where does Android come into this? To answer that, we have to look back to the summer of 2020.

During this period, Microsoft was preparing for the release of its Surface Duo device. This two-screened wonder uses Android 10 for its operating system, meaning Microsoft once again worked alongside Google to achieve its goals.

As Windows Latest pointed out, Microsoft made 80 code commits to Android's codebase in the last half of 2020. The company is also working on bringing obscure regions API to the operating system, which allows apps to "see" which parts of the screen are covered up by other apps.

Why Is Microsoft Adopting Google's Technology?

Microsoft's recent affinity for Google's technology probably comes down to a case of "if you can't beat them, join them."

Microsoft once had its own offerings to compete against Google. On the smartphone front, Microsoft had its Windows phones. As for browsers, the software giant had Internet Explorer, but then put it on the back burner for a different browser that we now refer to as "legacy Edge."

However, none of the above services really took off; at least, they didn't rack up enough numbers to make them a solid competitor against Android and Chrome. Now, Microsoft has abandoned Windows Phone, Internet Explorer, and legacy Edge in favor of using Android and Chromium codebases.

As such, if 2020 has taught us anything, it's that Microsoft has given up on its original services and turned to Google's code for answers. Given that Chromium Microsoft Edge managed to beat out Firefox, it seems that working with the top dog is paying off.

A New Age for Android and Microsoft

With Microsoft adopting Google's Android and Chromium codebases for its own projects, the company is also beginning to give back. Who knows what else Microsoft has planned now that it has adopted Google's code?

The Surface Duo hasn't been as big of a hit as the new Microsoft Edge, but that doesn't mean it's out for the count. The dual-screened device recently received an update that makes it much easier to type.

Image Credit: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

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