Natalie Parkinson
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Microsoft Targets Cheaper Phones

Microsoft Corp., under new Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, will accelerate a push into mobile software, joining forces with hardware manufacturers and Qualcomm (QCOM) Inc. to develop cheaper phones for emerging markets.

Microsoft said yesterday it’s working with Qualcomm on a low-cost phone design that developers and handset makers can use to build their own devices, and added partners including Lenovo Group Ltd. to make Windows smartphones. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), whose mobile-phone business will become part of Microsoft, is set to unveil new lower-priced handsets today.

Trailing Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) in more sophisticated devices, Microsoft is now trying to build market share for its Windows operating system from the bottom up. Cheaper smartphones mean consumers in less-developed countries will have a chance to use the Internet for the first time, a fast-growing market that’s also attracting rivals such as Google, maker of the Android operating system.