Microsoft cuts WP licence fee; new hardware partners sign

Microsoft cuts WP licence fee; new hardware partners sign

04 APR 2014

Microsoft announced a new $0 platform licensing rate for smartphones and tablets as it looks to bolster its position in the mobile space, with new vendors also signing up to back Windows Phone.

The company is offering the new rate for devices with screens up to 9-inches – meaning it does not apply for “premium” tablets competing with Apple’s iPad at the high end, or convertible devices that double-up as laptops.

The move is a significant step for the company, which has previously stuck with the model of commercially licensing platforms, even as the industry was transformed by Google’s Android.

Microsoft also announced two new hardware partners – Prestigio in Europe and Micromax in India – in a move “to further ensure that individuals around the world will have access to the amazing experience that only Windows Phone delivers consistently across all price points”.

Both of the new partners are using hardware reference designs from Qualcomm, which have been designed to make it easier to bring products to market.

The companies join a list that was significantly elongated at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, and includes names such as ZTE, Lenovo and LG Electronics, as well as regional players such as Longcheer, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn and Lava.

Microsoft has also made moves to make it easier to port Windows Phone to existing Android hardware, enabling companies to leverage existing designs and hardware supplies, and is supporting a wider range of processors.

In addition to the $0 licensing rate and the introduction of Windows Phone 8.1, the company also announced an update to its Windows 8.1 platform which it said means that “hardware partners can also more easily build lower-cost machines – such as devices with 1GB of RAM and 16GB hard disk drives”.

The company made no specific reference to its Windows RT 8.1 platform, which is designed specifically for tablets powered by ARM processors.

Microsoft has previously been criticised for the existence of this platform, which has created an additional level of fragmentation, and fares poorly in comparison with its alternatives.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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