Microsoft to Offer Free Windows Phone OS License to Indian Smartphone Makers: Report

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By Rohit KVN | March 13, 2014 10:04 PM EST

American software giant Microsoft, in its bid to expand Windows-based phones in the global market, has reportedly waved off OS software license to Indian smartphone makers.

"Multiple industry sources with knowledge of Microsoft's negotiations with Indian phone companies told TOI that it was in talks with local firms to produce affordable Windows Phone devices since last year. But the agreements were clinched only when Microsoft agreed to remove the license fee it charges from phone makers for its OS", reported The Economic Times.

Microsoft's free gift to domestic smartpone vendors seems to be a strategical move to cash in on the burgeoning Indian market, which is currently the world's third biggest smartphone market and offers a lot of potential for growth, compared to developed markets like America and Europe, which are close to getting saturated as the smartphones reach ability have reached its peak.

Now, emerging markets like India, China and other Asian as well as African nations are the new go-to markets, which can push global smartphone business forward.

With the free Windows Phone OS license, Indian phone vendors, who usually offer cheap Android phones will have an additional platform to increase their product portfolio, as well as their market share. Initially this may hurt Microsoft's soon-to-be acquired Nokia, which offers budget Lumia phones as well as the new Nokia X (tweaked Android OS based phone) in India but the future prospects for the American company, in terms of mobile OS platform share, looks promising in the subcontinent as well as the world.

"Windows Phone stands to grow the fastest among the leading smartphone operating systems (Android and iOS), with continued support from Nokia as well as the addition of nine new Windows Phone partners. Most of these new vendors come from emerging markets and could help bring the Windows Phone experience to customers there", reported  IDC (International Data Corporation).

Apart from Karbonn Mobiles and Lava (Xolo), Microsoft has inked pact with top Chinese vendors Lenovo, Foxconn, Gionee, Huawei, ZTE as well as Tier-1 brands HTC, and LG and others (JSR, Longcheer) to produce Windows Phone OS powered smartphones. [As of now, Windows Phone OS license waver is limited to India only].

Worldwide Smartphone Forecast by OS, Shipments, and Market Share, 2014-2018 (Units in Millions): 

Operating System

2014 Shipment Volumes

(forecast)

2014 Market Share

2018 Shipment Volumes

(Expected)

2018 Market Share (Expected)

2014-2018

 CGAR (Compound Annual Growth Rate)

Android

950.5

78.9%

1,321

76%

10.7%

iOS

179.0

14.9%

249

14.4%

10.2%

Windows Phone     

47.0

3.9%

121.8

7.0%

29.5%

BlackBerry

11.9

1.0%

5.3

0.3%

-22.6%

Others

15.1

1.3%

40.7

2.3%

32.7%

Total

1,204.4

100.0%

1,738.5

100.0%

11.5%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 sees strong growth in smartphone shipments. (Reuters)
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