Microsoft Continues Charging For Windows Mobile

Despite Google and Symbian moving toward free mobile operating systems, Microsoft will stick with its estimated $8- to $15-per-phone licensing fees.
Despite Google and Symbian moving toward royalty-free pricing, Microsoft will continue to charge handset manufacturers a licensing fee for its mobile operating system.

Microsoft charges an estimated $8 to $15 per phone for Windows Mobile, and CEO Steve Ballmer recently told Reuters that's not expected to change.

Google's Android mobile platform was introduced last November with the goal of bringing the openness of the Web to the mobile industry. The operating system is open source and will be royalty free, and Google is expected to generate revenue by integrating its services and ad platform.

"We are doing well, we believe in the value of what we are doing," Ballmer said. "It's interesting to ask why would Google or Nokia, Google in particular, why would they invest a lot of money and try to do a really good job if they make no money. I think most operators and telecom companies are skeptical about Google."

In June, Nokia announced it would be purchasing the remaining shares of Symbian it didn't own and creating a royalty-free, open source OS.

By making Symbian open source and free, Nokia is hoping to grow Symbian's already formidable market share. Symbian has about 60% of the worldwide market, while Windows Mobile hovers around 10%.

"In the case of Nokia -- are they really open sourcing, or are they really making Symbian their own operating system? We have to wait and see," Ballmer said.

In an interview with InformationWeek, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said the move was made to make Symbian "bigger, better, and faster." The company wants to harness the innovation that open source can bring, and he reiterated that the new Symbian will be open, with no "hooks or disclaimers."