Microsoft’s licensing fees and competing with Nokia deter other handset makers from launching Windows Phones

Microsoft's licensing fees and competing with Nokia deter other handset makers from launching Windows Phones

Handset makers are not actually too excited to make Windows Phone handsets, as I’m sure you can tell. Nokia is commanding a lion’s share of the Windows Phone market, leaving just a small share for other players, including Samsung, HTC, Huawei, Acer, Asus and ZTE.

According to DigiTimes’ report, this group of companies (and we presume other potential contenders) don’t like Microsoft’s licensing rates, which are apparently higher than vendors are willing to pay. In comparison, Android is available free of charge.

Moreover, they say it’s not easy to compete with Nokia which has pretty much put whole company behind its Windows Phones. The Finns are known for their high-end camera technology that easily beats anything else on the market, while making Nokia smartphones that much more attractive for purchase — at least for platform-agnostic crowd.

Taiwan-based Acer and Asus, as well as China’s ZTE originally planned to launch WP8 smartphones in 2013 but have deferred the launch, DigiTimes’ sources reveal. Among the reasons quoted are the mentioned pricing issue and the inability to develop WP8 smartphones with functional differentiation that would make their handsets different that those made by Nokia…

We do understand those arguments and are wondering what will Microsoft do about them. Extending hardware support to more chip maker could certainly help. As usual, we’ll have to wait and see…

  • Don Reese

    As a longtime user of Windows Phone (and Windows Mobile previously), as well as a new user of Windows RT (Asus VivoTab RT), I agree that in order for Microsoft to gain market share, they’re going to have to seed the market with cheap licensing fees.
    Windows Phone should be a $1 license for handset manufacturers. Apple make most of their money in the App Store, which is where Microsoft should be focusing. Although Nokia is seen as the captive Microsoft handset manufacturer, I think it’s the licensing fees and the low market share that make the other handset makers balk.
    As for the Surface RT and Surface Pro, I understand that Microsoft wanted to have a reference design after the previous launch failures (UMC, anyone?). For Surface RT, which I find pretty useful, the license fees should similarly be kept as low as possible. The inclusion of Microsoft Office is a huge value add, and I can also understand Microsoft wanting to retain some of that value, but if RT is to survive and expand, then Microsoft will have to keep the licensing fees low, and concentrate on revenue via the Windows Store. I lust after the Surface Pro (or a third-party variant) running the full Windows 8 client, but the pricing is way too high, and in reality, RT can do pretty much everything I need it to do.
    Although the next gen Surface apparently will run on Qualcomm Snapdragons, eventually I see everything going to ATOM or compatible CPU’s, if for no other reason than to unify the codebase and allow any Windows prrogram to run anywhere.

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