Since last year, a couple big ideas have been floating around regarding changes Microsoft was rumored to make in how it permitted OEMs to deliver handsets running Windows Phone. One of those major shake-ups was the notion that Microsoft would start letting manufacturers deliver phones that were capable of dual Android/WP operation, and after months of uncertainty, we finally heard just a little over a week ago that the first such deal had been made, with new WP8 OEM Karbonn apparently getting Microsoft’s permission. The other change we’ve heard rumored for Windows Phone licensing suggested that Microsoft would either greatly reduce or outright drop licensing fees, in the interest of attracting OEMs – and especially those interested in making very low-priced hardware. A new report out of India claims that’s true, as well, and once again Karbonn is at the center of things.
Back during the MWC, we heard from Microsoft about quite a few new manufacturers that would be prodcuing Windows Phone devices. Karbonn was among those, as was Lava (which you might recall from its Xolo phones), and now The Times of India has heard from its sources that both companies will be putting Windows Phone on their hardware without paying Microsoft a dime in licensing.
While that only represents a cost savings of tens of dollars, when we’re talking about phone hardware that’s supposed to attract even the most budget-conscious shopper, just that little bit can make a big difference. Microsoft may not profit directly from the sales of these devices, but it still stands to get its cut from app sales, and really anything it can do to grow the Windows Phone user base is going to help bring the platform to a more prominent place, which can only serve to help improve Microsoft’s smartphone position.