updated 08:15 pm EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
Estimates show huge Microsoft profit on Android
Microsoft could be making nearly half a billion in license deals like that with Samsung for its claimed Android-related patents. Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that, at between $3 to $6 for each device, Microsoft's combined deals could lead to it making $444 million in its fiscal 2012 year, which ends next June. The deals range from majors like HTC and Samsung through to more niche firms like Onkyo and Velocity Micro.
Windows Phone itself is now a much smaller share of Microsoft's revenue at that rate. With 1.72 million Windows phones of all makes shipped in the spring and a $15 licensing rate, Microsoft would have made just $25.9 million a quarter or $103.4 million a year, just a quarter of what it makes from Android.
Goldman Sachs saw the royalties as still secondary to Microsoft versus building up Windows Phone. Google's buyout of Motorola might actually help by taking a completely independent Android maker out of the picture. Microsoft is also widely believed to be wielding Android royalty rates as a way of forcing firms to make more Windows Phones, lowering the rate if they agree to design more models and ship more units.
HTC may be warming up to the platform in spite of legal pressure to use it. Singapore manager Melvin Chua stated Wednesday that 30 percent of HTC's total unit sales were coming from Microsoft's OS. He saw this rising and that it could soon "give Android a run for its money," according to ZDNet.
Some of the hope was coming from the just-shipping Windows Phone 7.5, or Mango. It adds multitasking, a much newer browser, and other additions that have helped it catch up in features. Microsoft still faces some deficits, such as a lack of support for dual-core processors, but has generated "positive feedback" inside and out of the company, Chua said.