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Microsoft Testing License-Free Windows Phone

By - Source: The Times of India | B 20 comments

Microsoft is experimenting with license-free Windows Phone in India.

What better way is there to saturate the market with your operating system than to offer it for free? Google figured out the benefits, and now it seems that Microsoft may be taking the same route with Windows Phone 8. Microsoft wants a bigger piece of the smartphone market pie, and insiders believe the path begins in India.

During Mobile World Congress 2014, Microsoft said that more phone makers will produce Windows Phone 8 devices in the coming months, including Lava and Karbonn in India. Sources claim that the Redmond company is currently in talks with local firms in India to produce affordable Windows Phone 8 devices. However, the company is only able to land deals if it waives the licensing fee.

The news is both shocking and expected, as rumors have circulated over the last several months that Microsoft was considering lifting the licensing fee for Windows Phone. Typically, the company charges between $23 and $30 USD per device, which adds up when you sell millions of phones. But Android has managed to overtake the market without costing device makers anything, and the only way to beat Google at its game, it seems, is to play by the same rules.

"For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a license fee. The company is obviously exploring new models for Windows Phone. It must have realized that the older model where it licensed the OS did not work out well, even with Nokia's support," a senior executive with an Indian phone company told TOI.

A separate executive acknowledged that the partnership 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," the executive said. As it stands now, Windows Phone has less than 10 percent of the market share in India, according to IDC.

Manasi Yadav, a senior market analyst at IDC, told TOI that local device makers are comfortable with Android. However, by making Windows Phone free, these device makers will feel more confident in experimenting with the Microsoft platform.

A number of new Windows Phone 8.1 devices will likely make a grand entrance next month during BUILD 2014. Microsoft is also expected to release Windows 8.1 Update 1, the LTE version of Surface 2, and possibly the Surface Mini.

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  • 5 Hide
    Kieran Warren , March 16, 2014 12:58 PM
    If they want to make money out of it still then they would need to offer better products on the store. Google offer all kinds of TV shows, movies, books, magazines alongside the apps and this is where they make their money on android (apart from ads). So Microsoft would really need to step up their game in this area if they want it to be profitable. Personally I feel a paid system allows more money to go directly to development and would prefer it, even if it means the phone costs a little bit extra.
  • 1 Hide
    11796pcs , March 16, 2014 2:40 PM
    Typical Microsoft, late to the party and now trying to make up for lost time. I'm not saying Windows Phone should have been free from the beginning, but Microsoft should have wizened up years ago when they saw their market share stagnating.
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , March 16, 2014 3:08 PM
    Microsoft Testing License-Free Windows Operating System.....That's what I read.... Too bad, it would make a lot of sense.Notice that I never said a FREE OS, just an OS without License Fees, this would result in a less inflated price/cost to the consumer. As for the phone, I really just don't care.
  • 5 Hide
    apache_lives , March 16, 2014 3:12 PM
    Windows Phone 8 layout is superior to the competition, lots of potential here
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , March 16, 2014 3:27 PM
    Quote:
    If they want to make money out of it still then they would need to offer better products on the store. Google offer all kinds of TV shows, movies, books, magazines alongside the apps and this is where they make their money on android (apart from ads). So Microsoft would really need to step up their game in this area if they want it to be profitable. Personally I feel a paid system allows more money to go directly to development and would prefer it, even if it means the phone costs a little bit extra.


    Well they already have their xbox music and video services running on Windows Phone... granted with a limited experience until WP8.1 is released.
    Personally it is far too rich for my blood, but it does exist already.
  • -1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , March 16, 2014 4:02 PM
    Quote:
    What better way is there to saturate the market with your operating system than to offer it for free?
    Push it onto every PC via aggressive contracts with OEMs and drive competition out of business. It worked for Windows. And where's Linux, which is free? :D 
    Quote:
    Google offer all kinds of TV shows, movies, books, magazines alongside the apps and this is where they make their money on android (apart from ads).
    People actually buy this BS? :D 
  • 3 Hide
    JD88 , March 16, 2014 4:25 PM
    Windows phone actually doesn't offer anything different or better than what is already available, and is actually way behind in a lot of areas areas. Also, all of the "new" features that will be offered in 8.1 have been copied from iOS or Android. The User interface argument is nonsense because Android can be made to behave in exactly the same way by installing a different launcher. In order to gain market share, an operating system has to actually innovate. You can't show up 5 years late to the party, offer no improvement whatsoever, and expect to get market share.
  • 0 Hide
    edwd2 , March 16, 2014 4:36 PM
    redesign metro or just drop it. really, it's painful to stare at bricks everytime you turn on your phone.
  • 2 Hide
    mouse24 , March 16, 2014 4:43 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    What better way is there to saturate the market with your operating system than to offer it for free?
    Push it onto every PC via aggressive contracts with OEMs and drive competition out of business. It worked for Windows. And where's Linux, which is free? :D 
    Quote:
    Google offer all kinds of TV shows, movies, books, magazines alongside the apps and this is where they make their money on android (apart from ads).
    People actually buy this BS? :D 
    I honestly think people aren't using linux just because the learning curve is a bit higher and its not as widely known. Not to mention the fact that 99% of OEM pcs (not counting apple) are windows with the odd google notebook or android AIO.Lets face it, if people had to pay for windows each time they bought a PC as enthusiasts do, more people would be on linux simply because its free
  • 1 Hide
    JD88 , March 16, 2014 4:46 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    What better way is there to saturate the market with your operating system than to offer it for free?
    Push it onto every PC via aggressive contracts with OEMs and drive competition out of business. It worked for Windows. And where's Linux, which is free? :D 
    Quote:
    Google offer all kinds of TV shows, movies, books, magazines alongside the apps and this is where they make their money on android (apart from ads).
    People actually buy this BS? :D 
    I honestly think people aren't using linux just because the learning curve is a bit higher and its not as widely known. Not to mention the fact that 99% of OEM pcs (not counting apple) are windows with the odd google notebook or android AIO.Lets face it, if people had to pay for windows each time they bought a PC as enthusiasts do, more people would be on linux simply because its free


    Not only that, but you can't easily buy a Linux PC. Walk into Best Buy and every PC other than Chromebooks run Windows. Even Amazon only offers a couple of Ubuntu based options. Without a major corporation to market and back a product, it won't succeed. Microsoft works hard and spends millions to make sure Windows is pre-installed on every computer possible. In a perfect world, every PC would be sold with a choice of operating systems and perhaps a $50 discount if you choose Linux since there is no license fee nonsense.

    Also, I'm not convinced the learning curve is that much higher for most users. The biggest hurdles are getting the operating system running properly on systems that don't have dedicated Linux drivers. Once you are past that, Linux is not really any harder to use than Windows.

  • 3 Hide
    11796pcs , March 16, 2014 5:01 PM
    Quote:
    Also, I'm not convinced the learning curve is that much higher for most users. The biggest hurdles are getting the operating system running properly on systems that don't have dedicated Linux drivers. Once you are past that, Linux is not really any harder to use than Windows.
    Every time I've tried to migrate to Linux I've found some issue where I've had to dig into countless forums to resolve the issue then proceed to punch in incomprehensible code into a command prompt. This coupled with the fact that there do not exist GUIs for everything in Linux, kill any hope that I or most people will migrate to Linux. Put simply, myself and the vast majority of people just want our computers to work and if a problem surfaces, to be easily fixable. Unfortunately, Linux does not currently allow for that.
  • 0 Hide
    jasonelmore , March 16, 2014 5:39 PM
    Microsoft really needs to offer Windows Phone OS for FREE regardless of what market its in. You cant charge for a OS when your trying to gain market share, especially when your main competitor, is giving theirs away for free.Sure you lose some margins up front, but it will be greatly offset by the number of devices you sell, and the ecosystem tax that would be gained with it.
  • -1 Hide
    voreo , March 16, 2014 6:15 PM
    If i get a smartphone id want it to be one of the 8 ones, simply cause i have no problems running 8.1 on my new build, runs alot smoother than 7 did :/ 
  • -1 Hide
    usbgtx550 , March 16, 2014 8:53 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    What better way is there to saturate the market with your operating system than to offer it for free?
    Push it onto every PC via aggressive contracts with OEMs and drive competition out of business. It worked for Windows. And where's Linux, which is free? :D 
    Quote:
    Google offer all kinds of TV shows, movies, books, magazines alongside the apps and this is where they make their money on android (apart from ads).
    People actually buy this BS? :D 
    I honestly think people aren't using linux just because the learning curve is a bit higher and its not as widely known. Not to mention the fact that 99% of OEM pcs (not counting apple) are windows with the odd google notebook or android AIO.Lets face it, if people had to pay for windows each time they bought a PC as enthusiasts do, more people would be on linux simply because its free
    Not only that, but you can't easily buy a Linux PC. Walk into Best Buy and every PC other than Chromebooks run Windows. Even Amazon only offers a couple of Ubuntu based options. Without a major corporation to market and back a product, it won't succeed. Microsoft works hard and spends millions to make sure Windows is pre-installed on every computer possible. In a perfect world, every PC would be sold with a choice of operating systems and perhaps a $50 discount if you choose Linux since there is no license fee nonsense. Also, I'm not convinced the learning curve is that much higher for most users. The biggest hurdles are getting the operating system running properly on systems that don't have dedicated Linux drivers. Once you are past that, Linux is not really any harder to use than Windows.
    To illustrate the ease to use Linux, I've actually revived an old laptop with Ubuntu that my parents now use without any problems. The only inconveniences they face is lack of support. That is the one thing that is killing linux.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , March 17, 2014 5:38 AM
    $23 to $30 for a license, over a 2 year contract this is roughly $1 a month, so if people are going to be "bribed" into using Windows Phone because of cheaper prices then dropping the license is negligible. Android handsets may have a free OS but that hasn't stopped providers gouging the end user with massive upfront handset cost and huge monthly contracts. So railing on MS for the fee is a bit stupid really. I have a Windows Phone Ativ S and the wife has an Android SGS3 - they are practically identical for hardware yet I prefer the WP8 OS - it doesn't matter how good or fast or cheap the OS becomes the only people you will convince are those on the fence, whereas fanbois will always stick with their own brand of Kool Aid.
  • 0 Hide
    gggplaya , March 17, 2014 6:54 AM
    Quote:
    Windows Phone 8 layout is superior to the competition, lots of potential here
    Superior is a relative term. IMO, windows 8 layout blows.
  • 0 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , March 17, 2014 7:05 AM
    I've used every phone OS except for blackberry starting out with Windows phone since its early days. One thing that I liked about WP was the OS's simplicity, the minimalist UI and the incredibly optimized smoothness up to the mango update. Windows phones have microsoft word, excel and power point which came extremely handy to me when I had to make last minute edits on essays and presentations. The bad thing was that you couldn't attach them to the emails being sent, you could only do so through skydrive which I hated to do and not everyone knows how to use. Anyway Microsoft biggest mistake was not listening to its consumers. They made a feedback page with countless of suggestions from users with high votes so everyone wanted that specific feature but the latest update only brought a small increment of features to the phone. The worst insult to me is that theres still no hdmi support! But if they somehow get the stubborn stick out of their ass and provide its user with many features I wouldn't mind switching back to the OS after my 2 year contract ends with my LG G2.
  • 0 Hide
    Osmin , March 17, 2014 9:59 AM
    The biggest pain for me was the simple lack of folders for organizational purposes and lack of apps for many popular home automation products. Not every app has live tiles enabled and for many, I would prefer a simple small tile. Without the ability to create folders, you could not organize similar apps without spreading hundreds of apps throughout countless pages. This forces you to search by typing the name of the app instead of going to a known location in fewer pages. The use of Live Tiles takes a lot of space on a small screen so folders would be ideal.
  • 0 Hide
    Ilander , March 17, 2014 1:36 PM
    One thing I'll add here is that this news comes in along with Intel announcing mobile chips that are Operating-System Locked. Microsoft might give you the software, but the chip makers follow their orders and make sure you can't do *anything* with it.