Microsoft reportedly thinking of offering Windows Phone/RT for free

Fresh off writing about a Nokia Android phone project, The Verge reports Microsoft (MSFT -1.6%) is thinking of eliminating licensing fees for Windows Phone and RT, and focusing on monetizing the platforms via ads and services subscriptions.

In practice, such a move would make it cheaper to license Windows Phone than Android (GOOG), given Microsoft collects significant Android royalties from top OEMs.

Though Windows Phone has achieved a double-digit smartphone unit share in certain European and emerging markets, IDC estimates the OS only had a 3.6% global share in Q3, thanks in large part to small U.S. and Chinese shares. With regards to the latter, it's worth noting Microsoft doesn't collect royalties on a large portion of Chinese Android shipments, particularly those form white-label OEMs.

RT, meanwhile, has fallen flat since its 2012 launch. PC OEMs have largely abandoned the ARM-based (ARMH) OS, which may be merged with Windows Phone down the line, to focus on building Windows 8 and Android tablets.

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Comments (2)
  • rjgood
    , contributor
    Comments (233) | Send Message
    "is thinking of eliminating licensing fees for Windows Phone and RT"


    About time. Monetizing the ecosystem (services, apps, movies, music, books) is the future. The days of the tech giants selling software is nearing an end.


    Given that the consumer market shifts massively YoY, prepare for a push well into mid double-digits for the MSFT ecosystem over the mid-term.


    My hopes: MSFT releases an Android OS skinned in Windows Phone/RT (Windows store, bing, etc.), and gives away their Phone/RT licenses free to OEMs. Win/Win.
    11 Dec 2013, 02:19 PM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
    I think this is a great idea, clearly RT is competing headon with mainstream OS.


    However, where it could take off is all these low footprint "off" devices (Raspberry Pi anyone?) that are running ARM chips.


    Go for it MS, this could be a fantastic move.


    Seriously if I could install Windows on a Raspberry Pi it would be awesome.
    12 Dec 2013, 03:50 AM Reply Like
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