[Update] Microsoft reached out and informed us it is not acquiring Movial, which remains independent. Instead, Microsoft has hired Movial staff to form a team under its Devices division.
“Microsoft recently completed an agreement with Movial to hire employees across several offices as part of the company's efforts to boost Windows and Android development efforts.” – a Microsoft spokesperson.
Microsoft is preparing to launch the Surface Duo, with many reports pointing to an August debut for the device. Of course, this is Microsoft's return to the smartphone market, and it's powered by Android. Microsoft has now hired staff from the company that helped to make this unlikely union possible.
That company is Movial, a software engineering firm that specializes in integrating software. It was Movial that provided the underpinning of Microsoft putting Android on the Surface Duo. This was after the company ditched its initial plans for the Surface Phone to run the Windows Core OS (WCOS).
While Microsoft introduced the Surface Duo last October in prototype form, its very existence still surprises many. Surface and Android, it was a combination few thought possible a few years ago but has become increasingly likely.
Movial helped to make that happen and it's clear the company impressed Microsoft. So much so, Redmond has now decided to bring Movial staff in-house and under its umbrella. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the deal:
“This transaction involves people in Movial operations in Romania, Taiwan and the United States. Movial will continue operating as an independent company going forward, continuing to provide software engineering and design services. The transaction enables Movial to focus efforts on some key competency areas, such as cyber security. In the short term majority of our remaining staff will be located in Helsinki, Finland but we are also hiring in other locations.”
This has little impact on the Surface Duo. However, it does perhaps show Microsoft is committed to the Duo long-term. In other words, the company could be looking at this initial handset as just the first of an ongoing series of Android smartphones. Having Movial in-house to handle the software integration could be important.