Windows Phone is now free

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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Hopefully for them, it's not too late.

Windows' smartphone software now free for manufacturers

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday said it would give away its Windows operating system to makers of smartphones and small tablets as it seeks to grab a toehold in fast-growing markets.

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The company also formally announced it has developed a voice activated phone assistant feature called Cortana, a direct rival to Apple Inc.’s Siri.

The feature has been rumoured for some months and a test version was demonstrated by Joe Belfiore, a Windows Phone executive, at Microsoft’s annual developer conference in San Francisco.

The Cortana service, which can take verbal instructions to search the Web, set alarms, make calls and a host of other actions, is still in beta testing, said Belfiore, but will soon be a standard feature on Windows phones.
 

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
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If you're a low end Smartphone manufacturer, it makes for an interesting choice. Pay Microsoft royalties to use Android (since they own some software patents that Google supposedly infringed on), or get to use Windows Phone 8.1 for "free".

I could see them getting some more business from this, but I'm amazed that nobody has tried to challenge those patents in court yet.
 

pantsaregood

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Feb 13, 2011
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If you're a low end Smartphone manufacturer, it makes for an interesting choice. Pay Microsoft royalties to use Android (since they own some software patents that Google supposedly infringed on), or get to use Windows Phone 8.1 for "free".

I could see them getting some more business from this, but I'm amazed that nobody has tried to challenge those patents in court yet.

While patent wars are ridiculous, the fact that Android OEMs seem to avoid taking Microsoft to court over these patents seems to imply that there is some legitimacy to the claims. Either that, or they're afraid Microsoft's lawyers will bleed them dry.

That said, this could be beneficial to Windows Phone. Unsubsidized low-end devices were already hovering around $150, but this may allow OEMs to further drop prices.
 

Skel

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Apr 11, 2001
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While patent wars are ridiculous, the fact that Android OEMs seem to avoid taking Microsoft to court over these patents seems to imply that there is some legitimacy to the claims. Either that, or they're afraid Microsoft's lawyers will bleed them dry.

That said, this could be beneficial to Windows Phone. Unsubsidized low-end devices were already hovering around $150, but this may allow OEMs to further drop prices.

Didn't Samsung submit to paying royalties on their phones rather than go to court? I'd figure if anyone would challenge the patents it would be them as they already live in patent court.
 

crashtestdummy

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Feb 18, 2010
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I think this was probably necessary with the purchase of Nokia, unless they wanted to be like Apple and be the sole producers of their phones.

This combined with the use of the Qualcomm reference model, means that a bunch of low-end manufacturers will simply slap windows phone onto devices they were already making for Android. Whether they will sell at all remains a different issue.
 

notposting

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Jul 22, 2005
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As for the Android patents, I recall seeing in the past that either it is believed or someone (B&N?) called their bluff a bit, they generally don't pick out specific patents per se. It is known that they have a ginormous pile of patents. Piss em off enough, and they will steadily use them and sue sue sue.

I'm not completely opposed to software patents I guess, but there needs to be some hefty reform, in granting and how long they are good for.

As for WP being free and the other points mentioned, coupled with the advances in WP 8.1, we will see if it gets more traction in the marketplace. Hope so, I've been using it since 2011 :p
 

Bateluer

Lifer
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Wonder how/if this will translate to cheaper Windows x86 pricing. A 20 dollar Windows 9 license would stop SteamOS in its tracks.
 

mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
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Wonder how/if this will translate to cheaper Windows x86 pricing. A 20 dollar Windows 9 license would stop SteamOS in its tracks.

I'll eat my hat if that ever happens. I can see them migrating to a subscription model though, like they did with Office. That way they could force through new versions of the OS, instead of running into the issue they have now with XP.

Microsoft still sits at 3% phone share right now. App developers are still ignoring it. Making it free might entice more manufacturers, but that's not who they need to be enticing. At least they're still doing better than RIM.
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
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I'll eat my hat if that ever happens. I can see them migrating to a subscription model though, like they did with Office. That way they could force through new versions of the OS, instead of running into the issue they have now with XP.

That would effectively kill Windows, IMO. The goal should be to cut *Nix and Steam OS off at the knees, not give consumers every reason to get off Windows as fast as possible. I don't think there's going to be many people willing to pay a monthly sub for Windows or deal with an ad supported desktop OS.


Microsoft still sits at 3% phone share right now. App developers are still ignoring it. Making it free might entice more manufacturers, but that's not who they need to be enticing. At least they're still doing better than RIM.

For now. WP only just became freely licensed today. Give manufacturers another year, and we'll likely see respectable devices from multiple manufacturers. With more device options, devs are more likely to give it more attention.
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
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Aug 23, 2003
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If you're a low end Smartphone manufacturer, it makes for an interesting choice. Pay Microsoft royalties to use Android (since they own some software patents that Google supposedly infringed on), or get to use Windows Phone 8.1 for "free".
With unit sales of Windows smartphones at 10 million per quarter, I doubt any OEM is going to be motivated by profits to switch to Microsoft's platform. Unit sales of Android smartphones are at 225 million per quarter and rising.

But it's an incredibly smart strategy of Microsoft to realize that they can't compete with their lower-cost competition much longer. They made Office free on certain mobile devices, they are deeply discounting Windows 8, and now Windows Phone as well. They understand that the software industry of the future is not singular blockbuster products (Windows, Office), but being the gatekeeper for an entire ecosystem.
 
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rockyct

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Jun 23, 2001
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Wonder how/if this will translate to cheaper Windows x86 pricing. A 20 dollar Windows 9 license would stop SteamOS in its tracks.

SteamOS isn't going anywhere either way. Reducing licensing fees is strictly to go after Android on phones and ChomeOS on cheap tablets/laptops. I could see SteamOS turning into a niche market but nothing close to making a dent in PC market share.

With unit sales of Windows smartphones at 10 million per quarter, I doubt any OEM is going to be motivated by profits to switch to Microsoft's platform. Unit sales of Android smartphones are at 225 million per quarter and rising.

But it's an incredibly smart strategy of Microsoft to realize that they can't compete with their lower-cost competition much longer. They made Office free on certain mobile devices, they are deeply discounting Windows 8, and now Windows Phone as well. They understand that the software industry of the future is not singular blockbuster products (Windows, Office), but being the gatekeeper for an entire ecosystem.

Office is free on the iPhone and Android because they have pretty low on features, which is understandable, it's a phone. On the iPad, you have to have an Office 365 subscription for anything other than document viewing.
 

bearxor

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Jul 8, 2001
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I want to see this new pricing reflected in Venue 8 Pro pricing. Can't imagine them getting much cheaper than they already are, but they should easily be able to hit $180 now.
 

ControlD

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Apr 25, 2005
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Venue 8 Pro is real Windows, not phone Windows. So I wouldn't expect any change there.

The linked Bloomberg article also states that Windows 8.1 pricing will be decreased by $35 for devices that cost less than $250 as well. This may still not apply to the Venue Pro 8 because I believe the actual retail price is $299, but the new pricing might bring about a shift in small Windows tablets in the future.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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The linked Bloomberg article also states that Windows 8.1 pricing will be decreased by $35 for devices that cost less than $250 as well. This may still not apply to the Venue Pro 8 because I believe the actual retail price is $299, but the new pricing might bring about a shift in small Windows tablets in the future.

Cool. That is the most exciting piece of MS's mobile space.
 

bearxor

Diamond Member
Jul 8, 2001
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The slide said: "Phones and tablets with screens less then 9".

Correct.

Any device with a screen size less than 9" is now a free license.

The license cost for a larger device is now $15 if it targets the sub-$250 market.
 

Roland00Address

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Dec 17, 2008
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I want to see this new pricing reflected in Venue 8 Pro pricing. Can't imagine them getting much cheaper than they already are, but they should easily be able to hit $180 now.
Do we know that they haven't betting getting a "free license" for months now? We have confirmation that they are now getting a free windows license, but what about prior.

Also how does microsoft office figure into this device is smaller than 9 inches. Do they get that free or just at a discounted rate?
 

ControlD

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Apr 25, 2005
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Do we know that they haven't betting getting a "free license" for months now? We have confirmation that they are now getting a free windows license, but what about prior.

Also how does microsoft office figure into this device is smaller than 9 inches. Do they get that free or just at a discounted rate?

Reading the link you posted earlier, I would say Dell was paying about $30 per license for each VP8.

My assumption is that the free Office license will probably go away at some point. I think it is just an incentive to get on-the-fence purchasers to go ahead and take the plunge.
 

bearxor

Diamond Member
Jul 8, 2001
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I don't think they've said anything about Office.

I don't think anyone is getting Office for free, I believe they just get a steep discount if certain requirements on the system are met. But that program's been around a while. So have discounted Windows licenses, though.
 

notposting

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2005
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Also, WP app store is up to around 250,000 and the Windows app store is around 150,000. Supposedly they will be enabling buy once and use across platforms as well. Making a lot of good moves and they do have some huge install bases (W8, Xbox) and money in the bank to play with as well.