Last month Microsoft announced a slew of new Windows Phone partners including high profile companies like Lenovo and LG as well as smaller manufacturers in India and China. Now, several Indian smartphone makers are claiming they only signed up after the software giant agreed to waive its regular licensing fees for the mobile OS, marking what may be the first time Microsoft’s moved away from its traditional business model in an effort to challenge Android dominance.
Speaking to the Times of India, two Indian companies claim they’ve received the right to ship Windows Phone 8 devices at no extra charge, calling Microsoft’s decision to waive its licensing fee a unique agreement. The report also cites several industry sources who claim Microsoft had been negotiating with Indian manufacturers since last year but couldn’t seal the deal until it agreed to offer its OS for free.
Today’s rumors follow earlier claims that Microsoft’s OS chief Terry Myerson was considering waiving mobile licensing fees in an effort to compete with Android in emerging markets. It’s unclear if the agreement was reached before or after current CEO Satya Nadella took over for Steve Ballmer, though the move fits in with Nadella’s goal of getting Microsoft services on as many devices as possible. Either way, it’s possible that with an influx of new manufacturing partners and an updated version of its OS expected to launch next month Windows Phone may be gaining some real momentum.