Microsoft claimed to be cutting Windows Phone price to zero for Indian OEMs

Windows Phone logoNobody knows exactly how much it costs OEMs to use Windows Phone, with estimates ranging from $5 all the way to $30 per handset. For two Indian OEMs, Karbonn and Lava (Xolo), that price is reported to be lower still. The Times of India is reporting that according to "sources with knowledge of Microsoft's negotiations," those two manufacturers will be getting the operating system for free.

Both companies already build Android phones, and both were announced last month as being new Windows Phone partners. TOI says that it was the price cut that swung the deal with both companies.

This brings the cost of Windows Phone in line with that of Android—or perhaps even lower. Most Android OEMs pay patent royalties to Microsoft, so even if the software itself is free, it's not no-cost for the OEMs to actually use.

If true, the move is consistent with Microsoft's continued efforts to make Windows Phone affordable and attractive to emerging markets. Windows Phone is being updated in coming months to include support for dual SIMs—important in many of these markets—and on-screen buttons. With this latter change, Windows Phone won't need any hardware-level customization or branding, opening the door to using the same hardware designs for both Android and Windows Phone.

It also marks a huge change in Microsoft's approach. Microsoft is, after all, a company that made its billions primarily from selling software licenses. But if it helps expand Windows Phone's reach, it could be the right move in the long term.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, OSes, Windows Phone 7

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