A report from The Times of India claims Microsoft is waiving the Windows Phone license fee for Indian manufacturers in order to get some traction in a smartphone market dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Rumors have been circulating since last year about Microsoft looking at potential options that would help it court more smartphone manufacturers into making Windows Phone devices. Cutting license fees has reportedly been one of those options, and according to The Times of India (TOI), the Redmond giant has chosen Indian manufacturers Lava (Xolo) and Karbonn – both of which were announced as new Windows Phone partners at Mobile World Congress – as the first to receive the OS without any charges.
The report suggests that both manufacturers jumped on as partners only after Microsoft agreed to remove the license fees it charges from phone makers, a surprising move considering even Nokia had to pay a fee for Lumia devices despite being a preferred (and only major) manufacturer backing Windows Phone. “For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a licence 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,” an unnamed official told TOI.
Microsoft, as expected, refused to comment on the matter, only saying that it has “extensive programmes to help our partners build great devices. Our licensing model allows us to partner with OEMs across the world.” It will likely offer similar terms to major manufacturers like Sony and HTC, but for the moment, sources claim that the agreement is specific to Lava and Karbonn. It’s certainly a good move, and should help the two companies feel more confident in using Windows Phone on their devices, which currently run on Android exclusively.
Lava has already confirmed that a Windows Phone 8.1 device is in the works, while Karbonn has said that it is actively developing a phone that dual boots Windows Phone and Android, so it looks like the lack of licensing fees could be working in Microsoft’s favor. There’s still no guarantee it will considerably help drive adoption rate for Windows Phone, but it should certainly allow the OS to gain a more solid foothold, at least in one of the most important upcoming smartphone markets.
Source: The Times of India