Windows Phone licensing cost revealed by ZTE: $23 – $30
Android is free. Apple and RIM don’t allow their mobile OSes on anyone’s devices but their own — at least for now, but that may soon change depending on how RIM makes out with Goldman Sachs. That pretty much leaves Microsoft on its own in the pay-to-play mobile OS game, and now we’ve been given a good idea what the cost of admission might be.
According to ZTE’s Santiago Sierra, portfolio manager for the company’s UK office, Windows Phone costs between $23 and $30 per license. Does that mean everyone who builds Windows phones pays that amount? Possibly, but it’s important to remember that Microsoft typically offers tiered pricing. Top manufacturers with a global presence (like Samsung and HTC) may receive a break on those prices. Some estimates have previously pegged Windows Phone license costs at as little as $3, but they weren’t provided by official sources within a company.
That said, ZTE is the fourth-largest makers of mobile phones in the world. They don’t have the brand presence outside Asia that Samsung or HTC do, but they still move a ton of devices every year.
The reported cost for licensing Windows Phone has raised eyebrows, with some bloggers calling Microsoft’s pricing exorbitant. In truth, if a manufacturer is willing to pay that price to ship smartphones that run the OS, then it’s a reasonable price. If that weren’t the case and the pricing actually was out of line, they’d probably just focus their efforts on Android instead. That’s the route Sony has chosen, though their decision had more to do with the required Xbox Live integration — not pricing.