Last month, Microsoft announced during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that Windows Phone devices would arrive on shelves from more companies out there, including OEMs in India, and some more info on the matter is now available.Apparently, the Redmond-based software giant has decided to provide handset vendors such as Lava and Karbonn with the possibility to load Windows Phone on their devices without paying a license fee.
The company has been long rumored to be making Windows Phone free at some point, so as to attract more OEMs to its side, though no confirmation on the matter has been provided until now.
According to The Times of India, Indian vendors agreed to the launch of affordable Windows Phone handsets only when Microsoft said that they wouldn’t have to pay license fees for it.
This is the first time that Microsoft strikes such agreements. For those out of the loop, we should note that the giant did not offer the platform for free to Nokia either, when the two partnered for the release of Windows Phone devices back in 2011.
However, as ToI notes, Windows Phone is growing rather slowly, and Microsoft is determined to change that. Offering its mobile OS for free should be one of the first steps it takes in ensuring the platform’s success.
"For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a license fee. The company is obviously exploring new models for Windows Phone," a senior executive from one Indian phone maker reportedly said.
"Free Windows Phone is part of a strategic partnership. For both Microsoft and us, it is an experiment. Windows Phone still doesn't have lot of appeal in the market but now that it doesn't have any license fee, it becomes easier for us to experiment with it," another executive noted.
Microsoft did not confirm this, though the company might actually come clean and deliver full details on the matter as these vendors bring new Windows Phone devices to the market.
However, a company’s spokesperson is cited as saying, "We have extensive programmes to help our partners build great devices. Our licensing model allows us to partner with OEMs across the world."
A few years back, analysts suggested that Windows Phone had the power to become the third mobile OS in the world sometime in 2015 or 2016, and the removal of licensing fees for it might actually help, as more companies could potentially decide to join the ecosystem.
In fact, Manasi Yadav, a senior market analyst at IDC, is quoted as saying that free Windows Phone means that OEMs will have more confidence in adopting and experimenting with it on local markets.