Microsoft has decided not to charge at least two Indian device makers licensing fees to use Windows Phone software in their products, according to a report in The Times of India.
Lava and Karbonn — who both announced they would start to produce Windows Phone devices at Mobile World Congress — are believed to be doing so without the need to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft. The two companies already make devices that use Android, which is free to use.
Industry sources told The Times of India that Microsoft has been in talks with Indian firms about producing affordable Windows Phone devices for some time. It is believed the removal of the licence fee led to the completion of deals.
The move is clearly aimed at driving uptake of Windows Phone in India and to help the OS make more of an impact on the market dominance of Android and iOS.
IDC figures put the market share of Windows Phone at less than 10 per cent, with Android the dominant technology.
By dropping the licensing fee, it makes it less costly for device makers to experiment with Windows Phone.
It is a major step away from Microsoft’s software licensing business model and suggests it has realised drastic measures are needed to boost uptake of its mobile OS.
The 2011 deal between Microsoft and Nokia, in which the latter agreed to use Windows Phone exclusively on its smartphones, still included the payment of a licence fee to the software company.