Posted by: Kevin Everett in Microsoft, Windows Phone 8, tags: microsoft, Windows Phone 8
While Windows Phone is growing as an OS and more and more manufactures are making WP8 devices the OS is not catching fire like Microsoft would have hoped. I believe one of the main reasons for this is the fact that Microsoft charges a licensing fee for every WP device shipped. When a OEM is looking to build and sell a phone cost is one of the major factors in all of their decisions. So what if just to get the Windows Phone ball rolling faster they gave the OS away for a limited period of time? Say just a year?
The fact that Android was free to use a few years ago brought in more than one OEM into the fold and kept them there long enough for Google to improve the OS till was actually usable. (HTC didn't dump all that money into Sense for nothing you know.) After a while almost all the major OEM's were using Android (expect Nokia and Apple) mainly because it was free and the consumers adopted it simple because it was there. Which made developers flock to it so they could make money on their apps, which in turn made more consumers buy phones running the OS.
Now would Microsoft be able to work the same magic with Windows Phone if it was free? Short answer, nope not chance. However they would be able to get more OEM's in the Windows Phone game, sell devices at lower price points and move quicker than ever before on taking the two spot from iOS. While short term Microsoft would lose money in the long run it would be the profitable thing to do. They would make more money in the selling apps in the store, they would get more ad money from Bing, etc... Not only that but once a OEM starts to make Windows Phone devices and the OS really starts to pick up users people will come to expect a Windows Phone device from almost every manufacture. At that point Microsoft starts charging for the Windows Phone OS again when OEM's would be willing to pay for it simply because their customers expect it.
Will Microsoft ever make this move and give away their OS free? (they can call it advertising expenditure if it makes them happy) Not if the past is any indication of the future they will not. This is a shame too they need to strike before Apple stops playing catching up (you know before they do something innovative like they use to) and while it would be still be easy to put the final nail in Blackberry's coffin.