In the past, manufacturers refrained from divulging information regarding the licensing fees for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Operating System. Recently, however, at the UK launch of ZTE’s Tania WP7 in London, Santiago Sierra who’s the Portfolio manager for ZTE UK told TrustedReviews that they pay the software giant between £15 and £20 per phone as licensing fees. This is why WP7 devices cost a lot more than similarly spec’d Android phones. It was earlier assumed that OEM paid Microsoft around £6.50-£10, so what is in hand now is actually higher than what we expected
Pricey to say the least
On the other hand, Android being open source is free to use by any manufacturer, which is the main reason why we have so many cheap Android phones and tablets. Also, since there is no strict hardware guideline to adhere to, manufacturers can cut corners in order to drop the price of the device, even further. Having said that, some Android device manufacturers are still paying royalties to Microsoft for patent licensing. Since ZTE does not have a huge library of WP7 devices and probably don’t ship in volumes the way the other big wigs like Samsung and HTC do, they probably end up paying a higher sum per phone. Bigger companies that ship in much larger volumes would be paying a bit less, since they probably would be getting some sort of a discount from Microsoft.
At this rate, we doubt there would be a truly cheap WP7 device, unless Microsoft decides to relax the hardware requirement or reduce the licensing fee. While we don’t mind paying more for hardware and software that we know is designed to function optimally, it’s a bit lacking in the software department in terms of app support. The interface may be incredibly fluid and is probably on par with iOS, but that alone is not enough. Imagine iOS with just the interface and no proper apps support. It’s exciting for the first week or so, but then you start to getting bored with it and that’s exactly what WP7 is going through right now.