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#Business

Free Windows Phone for two Indian handset makers

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Windows phone hasn’t been able to giving a tough fight to market leaders Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS in the last four years, but Microsoft doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned to gain an increased share in the smartphone market and the latest move towards this is to offer its OS to at least two Indian phone makers for free.

At the Mobile World Congress held last month in Barcelona, Microsoft announced names of its new partners including two from India – Lava and Karbonn. Both Lava and Karbonn are already manufacturing Android devices using Google’s mobile OS which is free to use.

Industry sources familiar with Microsoft’s negotiations with the two Indian companies told the Times of India that the software maker was in talks with both the Indian companies since last year.

However only after Microsoft agreed to waive off the licence fee it charges to handset makers for its OS that the deal could finally be locked.

Microsoft’s decision to give the OS free to the Indian companies is hard to digest as the software maker earlier refused to give the OS free to Nokia, which agreed to exclusively make Windows Phone in 2011. Lackluster demand for Windows Phone in the Indian market might be reason behind Microsoft’s decision of waiving off Windows Phone’s licensing fee.

Although Microsoft is yet to comment on the specifics of the deal with Indian phone makers, a spokesperson from the company said, “We have extensive programmes to help our partners build great devices. Our licensing model allows us to partner with OEMs across the world.”

Another senior executive from the company said “Free Windows Phone is part of a strategic partnership. For both Microsoft and us, it is an experiment. Windows Phone still doesn’t have lot of appeal in the market but now that it doesn’t have any license fee, it becomes easier for us to experiment with it.”