Sat, Oct 05, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Microsoft offering Windows to HTC at little or no cost


Microsoft Corp is talking to HTC Corp (宏達電) about adding its Windows operating system to HTC’s smartphones which currently operate the Android system at little or no cost, sources said, which is evidence of the software maker’s struggle to gain ground in the mobile market.

Microsoft operating systems unit chief Terry Myerson asked HTC last month to load Windows Phone as a second option on handsets running Google Inc’s rival software, said a source.

Myerson discussed cutting or eliminating the license fee to make the idea more attractive, the source said.

The talks are preliminary and no decision has been made, two sources added.

Its willingness to accept

Windows as a second operating system underscores the lengths to which Microsoft is prepared to go to get manufacturers to carry its software.

HTC, the first company to make both Windows and Android phones, has not unveiled a new Windows-based handset since June and has no current plans to release any more, one source said.

Microsoft is finding it necessary to make concessions after agreeing to acquire Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, which competes with other smartphone makers.

Myerson was planning to visit Asia this month and meet with senior executives at the Taoyuan-based firm to discuss his proposal, one source said.

Microsoft is trying to line up other new partners.

Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer and other executives met with handset makers last week during a trip to Beijing, a source said.

They stressed that Microsoft wants to keep working with partners other than Nokia, and expects to be able to sign accords with some phonemakers who previously have focused on Android, the source said.

Technical details have yet to be ironed out making it unclear whether an HTC phone would run Windows and Android at the same time, or let users choose a default.

Microsoft’s US$7.2 billion takeover of Nokia’s handset business is part of an effort to ensure the availability of phones with its software and help boost demand for the devices.

Microsoft charges handset makers a license fee for every Windows Phone sold, and also has agreements in place to collect royalties for devices that use Android as part of patent settlements.

By contrast, makers of Android devices do not pay Google, and instead agree to preinstall the Mountain View, California-based company’s services such as search and maps on Android-based phones.

Windows held a 3.7 percent share of the smartphone operating system market in the second quarter, according to research-firm IDC.

Android dominated with 79 percent, while Apple Inc’s iOS was No. 2 with a 13 percent share.

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