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Thread: Microsoft edges towards a free operating system

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    Microsoft edges towards a free operating system

    It appears that after months of deliberation Microsoft will finally offer its Windows Phone operating system to some manufacturers for free.

    In a desperate bid to catch up in a market where Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have taken the lead, Microsoft is planning waive license fees for two Indian manufacturers—Lava and Karbonn. Microsoft announced at the Mobile World Congress in February that these two companies would soon start producing Windows devices in addition to the Android devices currently in their line-up. On Saturday, the Times of India reported that these manufacturers would be receiving Windows Phone licenses for free in what is an unprecedented move by Microsoft.

    Google’s Android operating system has always been offered for free to manufacturers, a factor which has played a large part in the OS’s rapid growth in recent years. Android has grown from having a 2.8% share of the global smartphone market in 2009 to today commanding at least an 80% market share. Windows Phone, by comparison, is installed on less than 10% of smartphones.

    Android’s free-of-charge pricing model has upset the traditional license-fee business model of companies such as Microsoft, who in 2013 supported a lobbying attempt to declare Google’s practices as anti-competitive, ‘predatory pricing’. Microsoft is now trying a different tactic in its struggle to prize the smartphone market out of Google’s hands; adopting the very same free operating system model.

    The news that Microsoft is to offer its Windows Phone operating system for free follows reports earlier this month that the company is toying with the idea of offering a free, stripped-down version of its Windows 8.1 operating system for tablets and PCs. The system would be called ‘Windows with Bing’, and would go head-to-head with Google’s browser-based Chrome OS.

    This month’s news and rumours regarding changes to Microsoft’s pricing strategy will be welcomed by many investors and analysts. Followers of Microsoft have been increasingly calling for the company to adapt its pricing structures to compete with the free and low-cost alternatives offered by rivals such as Google.
    Last edited by laurence; 03-16-2014 at 10:04 AM.

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