Android has conquered the world in part thanks to the fact that Google gives its operating system away to device manufacturers for free. Now, in its ongoing effort to compete in the mobile market, Microsoft may follow the search giant’s lead. Speaking to The Verge, several anonymous insiders revealed that Microsoft’s OS chief Terry Myerson is seriously considering making Windows Phone and Windows RT free for partnering OEMs as part of a larger wave of coming changes to the company’s strategy.
Freeing up Windows Phone and RT may be an unavoidable side-effect of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile business. The Redmond company currently makes a decent amount of money licensing its software to manufacturers, but with Nokia claiming 90 percent of the Windows Phone market at last count that revenue will dry up as soon as the deal is finalized. The Finnish company is also one of the few OEMs besides Microsoft still developing Windows RT devices.
The rumored strategy won’t be implemented until at least 2015, The Verge reports, when Microsoft’s alleged “Threshold” update brings massive changes to the company’s overall software. Free versions of Windows Phone and RT would also be paired with more aggressive services from Microsoft in the hopes of replacing old revenue sources with more subscriptions to applications such as SkyDrive, Office and Skype as well as increased Bing ad sales.
Whether Microsoft moves forward with these proposed changes to its mobile strategy is still up in the air, though it’s becoming increasingly clear the company is planning a huge cross-platform update for 2015. At the moment, making its mobile software free and pushing its online services seems like a good idea, but who knows what the market will look like in another few years.