updated 08:55 am EST, Thu January 19, 2012
Windows Phone license now known to be expensive
ZTE may have given out one of Microsoft's more closely guarded secrets for Windows Phone. While launching the Tania, ZTE's UK portfolio head Santiago Sierra explained to Trusted Reviews that Windows Phone 7 devices from the company would cost more than its Android models because of a Microsoft OS license that he believed cost between £15 and £20. It's not clear if the pricing translates directly to $23 to $31 in the US.
Android, in the meantime, is free to license and usually just comes with conditions for which apps are allowed to be installed as well as revenue sharing splits with in certain circumstances.
The pricing could be at least as high as the $15 from Windows Mobile and would help explain Microsoft's anti-Android licensing campaign. While Microsoft has accused Google of price dumping, or using its dominance of Internet ads to unfairly give away Android for free, critics have countered that Microsoft is using questionable patent rights to make Android partners pay closer to what they would for Windows Phone, negating much of the advantage.
Barnes & Noble, one of the few that uses Android but has resisted Microsoft pressure, has claimed that Microsoft is using collusive, extortionate tactics that make it difficult or impossible to challenge the legitimacy of its Android patent licensing system without facing a lawsuit.
Budget Windows Phone hardware is possible and has been seen through phones like the Nokia Lumia 710, which can be had for free on a contract through some stores. They have typically been more difficult to make than for Android, though, as Microsoft's dependence on charging an OS license and setting relatively high minimum requirements hikes the base price.