Microsoft reportedly thinking of offering Windows Phone/RT for free

|About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|By:, SA News Editor

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.