Microsoft planning to compete with Android by offering Windows Phone for free

By on December 12, 2013, 9:30 AM
google, microsoft, windows, android, nokia, windows phone, windows rt, threshold

Microsoft is mulling the idea of providing Windows RT and Windows Phone to device makers for free in the near future, according to a report from The Verge. The report also says that the free versions of Windows RT and Windows Phone would get delivered along with the much talked about Threshold update, a project aimed to further unify Windows, Xbox One and Windows Phone.

Microsoft generates a decent amount of revenue through the licensing fees that OEMs have to pay for using its operating system on their devices. But, with the acquisition of Nokia, which ships more than 80 percent of Microsoft-powered handsets, the company's ability to make licensing money has dried up.

The report says that the Redmond-based company would compensate the loss of licensing money through ad-based revenue from Windows 8 apps and Bing search results. The company would also make sure that the number of subscriptions to its services like SkyDrive, Office, and Skype goes up.

The idea to provide Windows Phone and RT for free is under serious consideration by the Microsoft's OS chief Terry Myerson, but a final decision has not yet been taken.

Google is currently the biggest player in the mobile OS market. Its Android OS is available free of cost to phone manufacturers -- though they pay licensing fees to Microsoft. If Microsoft goes ahead with the decision, the company would have a level playing field to compete with the Mountain View-based rival.




User Comments: 26

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1 person liked this | gcarter gcarter said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

5 people like this | Teko03 said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

Not really, its kind of implied that it's referring to it's ARM OS's when it says "compete with Android". The Windows desktop OS doesn't complete with Anroid.

1 person liked this | treeski treeski said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

It's competing with ANDROID... I think it's pretty obvious which version of Windows they would be giving away.

nazartp said:

Wondering if an antitrust case coming the MS way the moment they try to do so. Would be incredibly unfair, but quite possible.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wondering if an antitrust case coming the MS way the moment they try to do so. Would be incredibly unfair, but quite possible.

Only if Microsoft was at the top of the mobile sector would that even be the remotest of possibilities. As it is right now, they are often barely more than a blip on the market share pie charts.

2 people like this | gcarter gcarter said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

Not really, its kind of implied that it's referring to it's ARM OS's when it says "compete with Android". The Windows desktop OS doesn't complete with Anroid.

It is though "by offering Windows for free" - for anyone reading the title quickly it gives the impression that "windows" will be free!

Title should have read Windows RT free or Windows Mobile free... the term "windows" has been associated with the desktop operating system for decades, hence my comment.

1 person liked this | GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Good move imo, I could see Samsung jumping on this and expanding the ATIV line, as well as HTC trying some more windows phones. In the tablet sphere there are to many new tablets coming out with full windows 8 that include office for the RT devices to remain competitive. Intel and AMD have x86 chips that can run full blown windows 8 just as fast as a ARM chip on RT and get the same/ better battery life. But if there able to not pay for the OS we could see RT get into some really budget oriented devices, a market place completely dominated by google.

hitech0101 said:

They should do it I really would like to see more manufacturers making windows phones.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I think the Windows Phone UI needs a little more work. The tiles on the homescreen are a mess on the Nokia 1520 as well as the blank spaces on either side of the keyboard in landscape mode, as examples.

1 person liked this | H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

You just got mega-flamed :p

Anyway, brilliant move imho. Now if I can dual-boot or load this OS on my SD card, that will simply be icing on the cake

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Title should have read Windows RT free or Windows Mobile free... the term "windows" has been associated with the desktop operating system for decades, hence my comment.

Sure, if you get your news from titles/headlines. If anything, the title should of sparked your curiosity enough to actually read the article.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Techspot! please don't start insulting us by misleading titles like ESPN. I hold you higher than ESPN. Good idea about microsoftby the way.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

Not really, its kind of implied that it's referring to it's ARM OS's when it says "compete with Android". The Windows desktop OS doesn't complete with Anroid.

Well, when I read the title I just said out loud. "Whaaaatt?!" and then clicked inthe article and realized. ....who cares about Windows Phone OS.... grumble grumble

Duskywolf50 said:

Oh man, Microsoft like to make many different OS and cause many confused for everyone expect geek. Like windows 8 for desktop, tablet, and phone too.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Misleading title! Its not windows desktop os they are giving away!

#fail

Not really, its kind of implied that it's referring to it's ARM OS's when it says "compete with Android". The Windows desktop OS doesn't complete with Anroid.

It is though "by offering Windows for free" - for anyone reading the title quickly it gives the impression that "windows" will be free!

Title should have read Windows RT free or Windows Mobile free... the term "windows" has been associated with the desktop operating system for decades, hence my comment.

Yea. I kind of agreed on this. But we are apparently the minority here. oh well

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Windows Free really which one Next Windows and Android two different OS. Android build on top of Linux. LIke old saying I am a PC, I am Apple and I am Linux. I like to see what they're going to give us for free.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

To be honest, they are just about giving Windows away to most OEMs currently anyway, they'd just be going from small fees to none. If ASUS can build the T100 (10.1" touchscreen with docking keyboard included and running full Windows 8.1) for less than an iPad, MS must not be charging much for even full Windows licenses. Not to mention on the RT platforms, you are getting the OS plus Office.

So, even if they truly start giving it away, I'm not so sure we'll see much impact on end user pricing.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Oh man, Microsoft like to make many different OS and cause many confused for everyone expect geek. Like windows 8 for desktop, tablet, and phone too.

They need to cut it down to two. Windows for Desktops and Windows on the Go, ie for tablets and phones. For Xbox they should make basically either Windows Phone OS or mixture of desktop/phone.

MOST OF ALL reduce the price of desktop windows by 50%, honestly £80+ for OS? Yeah no thanks. Or make upgrades form Windows 7 to Windows 8,9,10,11 cheap (pay £20 on top of your original license for an upgrade).

dennis777 dennis777 said:

I was hoping for free windows 8 hahaha

windows mobile is kinda hard to use, unlike the old symbian days of nokia.

rwburnham rwburnham said:

Doing this for the Windows Phone OS makes sense. It's a great OS, but it needs a boost.

As for RT, I have a Surface RT and I like it, but I feel like RT just isn't needed. You can get full x86 Windows 8 tablets for around $400 partially thanks to Intel's Atom chip. I have used some Atom-based tablets, and they all performed just fine. I understand what Windows RT is, but I can't imagine the average consumer understands the differences between that and regular Windows.

I would love to see Microsoft release an Atom version of their Surface tablets and price it competitively. The Surface Pros are nice, but they're a bit thick for tablet use and they're pricey.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Pricey how everything is again. Tablets with better CPU cost more than the cheap ones do. DELL VENUE Pro 8 not what I would call a good size tablet. 10.1" On the other hand some tablets are out 13" for $180 but those are Android base. They need to make a affordable tablet for Windows user. Throw in the keyboard with case. Why make that an options when you really need to get it. Silly marketing deployment. I will just have to wait this game out until I see better from Microsoft. I already have my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with dual core Atom 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM on 9.7" IPS screen with 320GB SATAII HDD it has 32GB Micro SD HC slot. 2x USB 2.0 and HDMI and doc port.

waterytowers said:

Anti trust may still happen since they charge other carriers for using android. So it would not be a level playing field. Who would really want a Microsoft product anyway ...?

waterytowers said:

I can't wait for more android and Linux based laptops to come out running maybe on arm? Intel has stagnated for the last few years constantly delaying new features. Bring on some competition to bring out more features.

Guest said:

Maybe some of the mfrs can up the res on their fairly crummy tabs to HD.(samsung?) Or is the low-res screen some sort of badge of honour, "hey I'm for work use only, no watching films or reading legible text on this puppy".

I would have investigated Win-MO if the prices were similar for good devices, I looked around and best bang fer buck seemed to be the Nexus5 (purchased) and will probably be the Nexus8.3 Tab (when it arrives in Jan) or I could pay £650 for a Win8 tab with lower res/slower CUP.

And of course where are the apps ?maybe that is the gulf too far, the bridge too late, the Horse that bolted.

N.B. Is Nokia really Microsofts "trojan Norse"

Guest said:

No version of Windows apart from Windows 7 is worth buying anyways. Linux based operating systems will take phone, tablet, and desktop markets. Obviously the Android revolution depicts that. Now we have Valve with SteamOS to push driver support and game support by developers. I am anxious to see how this works out. :)

JC713 JC713 said:

This is a good move by MS if it goes through. It can really help Windows Phone. Not really sure how it will help RT though. It already sucks.

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