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Microsoft Makes Windows Phone Free For Some Smartphones And Tablets

Microsoft’s windows Phone OS has had some tough times and currently controls less than 4% of the Smartphone OS market share. This places Windows phone as distant 3rd behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platform. A lot can be said as to why Microsoft has failed to reciprocate the success they have had with their Windows OS on PC to their mobile platform. One of the main points of that discussion has always revolved around the licensing fee Microsoft charges to each Smartphone marker who want to use Windows phone. These licensing fees make it more expensive for manufacturers who use Windows Phone OS compared to those who use Android.

According to The Verge, Microsoft charges manufacturers between $5 to $15 per Smartphone if they are to use Windows Phone OS. This charge is not available on Android and it is perhaps the reason why Android controls the bigger piece of the Smartphone OS market.

In a move aimed at attracting more manufacturers to use Windows Phone, Microsoft is scrapping the licensing fee for devices (both Smartphones and tablets) whose screens are less than 9 inches. For those manufacturing business devices, the licensing fee will still apply. This new development was revealed at an event Microsoft is holding in San Francisco.

This is a very big change for the company that has for a long time had a difficult time attracting manufacturers and developers to its platform. It should be noted that in addition to the licensing fee, manufacturers have to meet a few other costs besides the core manufacturing and assembly costs. These include patent fees and ‘testing and certification costs.

Of course, the patent and testing fees are also be incurred in platforms such as Android and so the move to scrap licensing fee on Windows Phone gives both manufacturers using Windows Phone and Android an almost level playing field.

This move by Microsoft comes a few days after the company made Office Mobile free. Looking at all the recent moves by Microsoft, it is clear that the company is trying to push its services to the end users and is not profit oriented at the moment.

Only time will tell if this move by Microsoft is beneficial to them or it may be too little too late.

Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana

Microsoft also took the opportunity and announced their latest version of their Smartphone OS. The new version, Windows Phone 8.1, has seen major improvements and additions and will be available to end consumers in the next few months.

The first Smartphones to run Windows Phone 8.1 include the recently announced Lumia 630 and Lumia 635.

One big addition to Windows Phone 8.1 is the voice-activated assistant that Microsoft is referring to as Cortana. This feature, similar to Siri on iOS, is still undergoing testing and will be available to end users in the next few months.

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