updated 11:49 am EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Two smartphone manufacturers in India said to have fee-free deal
Microsoft has signed a deal with two smartphone producers to use Windows Phone in their devices without a license fee, according to a report. Karbonn and Lava will apparently release Windows Phone devices in the coming months, in what appears to be an attempt by Microsoft to increase the availability of the mobile operating system in the face of competition from iOS and Android.
Multiple sources of The Times of India claim Microsoft was in discussions with Indian companies to create and manufacturer cheap and affordable Windows Phone devices, though the manufacturers were not forthcoming until Microsoft offered to remove the licensing fee altogether. One source spoke about Microsoft to the publication, stating "the company is obviously exploring new models for Windows Phone. It must have realized that the older model where it licensed the OS did not work out well, even with Nokia's support."
Even though Microsoft may have waived the licensing fee to the two Indian manufacturers, it is possible it will continue charging the fee elsewhere, though rumors suggest it was exploring offering the software license-free to other manufacturers to increase the platform's standing. Despite paying $1 billion to Nokia to make Windows Phone devices in 2011, the Finnish phone producer still had to pay a license estimated to be between $20 and $30 per Lumia device. This fee is likely to be dropped for Nokia once Microsoft's acquisition of its Devices and Services arm completes.