Print 54 comment(s) - last by Reclaimer77.. on Apr 7 at 3:55 PM

Microsoft tries to compete with Google and Apple

In addition to the launch of new Windows Phone devices, including the flagship Lumia 930, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) had two other big pieces of news on Tuesday at the BUILD conference.
First, new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft would be following in Google Inc.'s (GOOG) footsteps, offering Windows for free to tablet and smartphone OEMs.  
This was surely a difficult decision, one that Microsoft's last CEO, Steve Ballmer, was unable to make.  But Microsoft had already in recent years drastically trimmed its smartphone and tablet licensing rates, given that it was spending a lot of money to make these products and almost no one was buying or using them.  Prior to this week's announcement, Microsoft was reportedly charging between $5 USD and $15 USD per tablet (Windows RT) or smartphone (Windows Phone) license.

Lumia 630

Gartner, Inc. (IT) estimates that today only 3 percent of smartphones and 2 percent of tablets run Windows.  Microsoft is currently in third place in each market.
But going free could change that.  
Mr. Nadella, who rose up at Microsoft as a cloud computing star, indicated that the cloud will be a key part of Microsoft's strategy going forward.  He states:

We are going to innovate with a challenger mindset. We are not coming at this as some incumbent trying to do the next version of Windows, we are going to come at this by innovating in every dimension.

Our vision, simply put, is to thrive in this world of mobile first, cloud first.  Our goal is to really build platforms, create the best end-user experiences, the best developer opportunities and IT infrastructure for this ubiquitous computing world.

Key components of that cloud strategy include natural language processing and cloud storage.  Microsoft announced the personal assistant Cortana at BUILD, which is currently in beta.  Significantly smarter than Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) current model Siri assistant, Cortana's advanced abilities to understand rather abstract queries heavily leverages Microsoft's cloud computing prowess.  Likewise Microsoft's recently announced OneDrive is gunning for Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Google Drive and other storage services like Box.
Microsoft is rumored to be considering an ad-supported free version of PC (laptop, desktop, hybrids) Windows to OEMs as well.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Too late
By FITCamaro on 4/3/2014 12:02:01 PM , Rating: 5
Spoken like someone who has never used Windows Phone 7 or 8. It's main drawback has been it's late arrival and thus low adoption rate and general lack of app support because of the low adoption rate. If they start giving it away, more device makers might offer it. I would like to see multiple options in high end devices with Windows Phone on it.

RE: Too late
By Mitch101 on 4/3/2014 12:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
Also while Android might be free the patent fees the carriers have to pay to use it are not.

Windows Phone OS may now be cheaper for carriers to sell.

The real money is in the data collection and Apps anyhow this is the smartest moves Microsoft has made.

RE: Too late
By FITCamaro on 4/3/2014 1:07:12 PM , Rating: 1
Very true. Every Android phone sold pretty much makes Microsoft $15. So a Windows phone doesn't have that and is therefore, cheaper to sell.

RE: Too late
By Gondor on 4/3/2014 1:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
But how long will this last ? Apple vs. Samsung licensing disputes revolved predominantly around "FRAND" stuff. What is a "fair and non-discriminative" license fee M$ can charge for something they themselves value at and sell for $0.00 ???

RE: Too late
By tayb on 4/3/2014 2:47:21 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft negotiated directly with most phone manufacturers and in exchange for not destroying them in the courtroom they agreed to pay $5 - $15 per handset. The agreements between Microsoft and phone manufacturers is not court ordered but entered into willingly by both parties.

No one wants a patent dispute with Microsoft. Especially especially companies who don't have a history of software development. This is why they willingly enter agreements with Microsoft.

RE: Too late
By sprockkets on 4/3/2014 3:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
Except Motorola. They used to license their patents when they made windows mobile phones. When they stopped, they didn't renew their license.

Microsoft thus tried banning Moto devices at the ITC. Each patent asserted against it failed, except for one, the meeting patent. And even then, they managed to bypass it.

Also, Microsoft has not brought Moto to a court over this, only the ITC. This is the same MS that took Moto to court over FRAND patents but not over anything else.

They also didn't want to go to trial with Barnes and Noble, another company that was willing to fight their bs.

Think about that: MS doesn't want to go to trial, because they have a big chance of losing. They already lost at the ITC so the odds are not in their favor. Worse, they can have their patents made invalid due to obviousness or prior art, of which Moto found prior art for the fat32 patent.

Microsoft has nothing to sue Android over. They've also been spreading FUD over Linux for years and never sued or collected fees either. They are late to the game and thus all the new features of mobile oses are already prior art on android and ios.

All they can do now is sue by proxy which they did with one patent troll and now Rockstar.

RE: Too late
By Shadowself on 4/3/14, Rating: 0
RE: Too late
By Solandri on 4/3/2014 4:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
Just FYI...
Samsung has repeatedly tried to assert at trial or through regulatory means Standards Essential Patents (SEPs) that come under FRAND rules and has lost virtually every time

Say what?

Samsung won their final case at the ITC and got a ban on Apple products violating the SEP. Obama then vetoed the ban - essentially forgiving Apple for its patent violations. (The whole thing stemmed from Apple refusing to license the necessary patents they were using from Samsung, because Samsung wouldn't give them the same price as they were giving other companies who cross-licensed patents with Samsung. Except Apple didn't want to cross-license any of their patents with Samsung.)

Apple has tried to assert these FRAND patents should only be worth about $0.07 per device, while asserting its own design and UI patents should be worth about $40 per device. You realize the devastation this would cause to the industry if Apple gets their way, right? FRAND would disappear overnight. Nobody would be willing to license their patents under FRAND for $0.07/device if mere design and UI patents are worth $40/device. They would instead hang on to their technical patents and only license them for hundreds of dollars per device. Your phone will end up costing as much as a used car, and would only work with certain towers on the one carrier which licensed the same tech. Interoperability would cease to exist.

RE: Too late
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2014 9:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone OS may now be cheaper for carriers to sell.

Except WIndows Phones don't sell, because nobody uses them, so they aren't going to switch from Android.

It's called logic, try using it sometime. Like 7 out of 10 phones sold by the carriers run Android. Why in the hell would they possibly change that because an OS from Microsoft, that nobody wants, is free?

RE: Too late
By atechfan on 4/7/2014 6:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone is number 2 in 24 countries now, and is growing fast almost everywhere except the USA. Most of us realise there is a world outside your borders.

Also, even with a significantly smaller install base, the Windows Phone App store makes almost as much revenue as the Google App store. At the rate it is growing, revenues will surpass Google's in a matter of months. What is going to keep people making apps for Android when there is little money in it?

RE: Too late
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2014 3:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
Also, even with a significantly smaller install base, the Windows Phone App store makes almost as much revenue as the Google App store.

Now you sound like Tony Swash...

Anyway this is the case because of Microsoft itself paying developers, because there was ZERO interest in Windows Phone app development.

If Google was put in the position of having to pour their own money into the Android app market, I sure as hell wouldn't be sitting here bragging about it.

At the rate it is growing, revenues will surpass Google's in a matter of months.

Smells like hyperbole in the extreme! Got a side of Straw Man to go with that?

What is going to keep people making apps for Android when there is little money in it?

Apple morons like Tony have been making this argument for years now. Yes iOS makes more money. No, Android app development hasn't stopped. Amazing!

RE: Too late
By drycrust3 on 4/3/2014 5:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's main drawback has been it's late arrival and thus low adoption rate and general lack of app support because of the low adoption rate.

The real issue here isn't either the low rate of adoption, nor the late arrival, but the apps. A smartphone isn't just a mobile phone, it is also a platform for apps. When someone downloads their first app, this changes the way they think about smartphones. Until then it was just what the manufacturer supplied them, but once they download an app, that phone changed, even though by only a tiny fraction, so it had a capability that didn't exist when they bought it. The next step is when they find an app is so useful that it becomes a "must have" app. Once that happens, that will affect the way they buy their next phone.
Most people have their "must have" apps on their phone, which means they are more likely to either stick with the OS they currently have or, if they are going to move to another OS, move to one with a similar size or bigger application library than their current OS has. They are unlikely to move to one with a smaller application library. According to one source, both Android and iOS have over 1 million apps, while Windows Phone has only "about 100,000" apps. This means, for example, if an Android user wanted to change operating systems, they would feel more comfortable changing to iOS than they would to Windows Phone simply because it is more likely the apps they "need" are on iOS than Windows Phone.
Thus, for Microsoft, they have more work to do to convince experienced users who have "must have" apps, that there are apps in their application library that will do what they want than either Android or Apple sales persons would have to do. The reason is simply because the experienced users will be frightened away from Windows simply because they will fear their "must have" apps won't be in the Windows application library. On the other hand, when a Windows phone user walks into a store to look at either an Android phone or an Apple phone, it is almost certain that the phone they look at will have good equivalents of their "must have" apps.

RE: Too late
By w8gaming on 4/4/2014 9:22:12 AM , Rating: 2
The late arrival is the main reason why the apps in Windows RT platform is lackluster. If the situation had revised in which Windows RT was delivered in 2010, while first Android tablet was delivered in 2012, I believe Windows RT tablets would have been the more successful platform compared to Android, simply because the app writers would have written apps for RT two years longer.

RE: Too late
By Alexvrb on 4/6/2014 11:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone has over 200K apps, last I checked. But that's not as important as this: Microsoft is bringing their platforms closer together with universal binaries (and Store), with strong development support for such universal apps from start to finish. Write it once, and bring it to all their current platforms.

In fact, if the developer so chooses, their app can be purchased once and then downloaded on Windows Phone 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows x86 8.1, and potentially even Xbox One - and you'd only need to buy it once. Hopefully all the major developers adopt this approach, instead of trying to milk customers for more money. Either way, the actual app can be made available on all these platforms with ease.

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