Android isn't Free ? Anything new we didn't already know ?

Business Insider has been running a series of “linkbait” articles lately about Windows Phone 7 and Android. The first one titled “Microsoft’s mobile business is now little more than a fantasy” was followed today by an other one titled “Hey, Android People, Is It True That The All-In Cost Of Android Is Much Higher Than $15 Per Unit?”. You see this is how things work: first you trash a product then post a follow up defending it to please both sides and generate maximum traffic. The second one is rather interesting because Henri Blognet has supposedly a close Microsoft source parroting what I, others and Microsoft Execs have been saying all along: Android isn’t free.


I’ve talked about this back in February after Windows Phone 7′s announcement and explained why Microsoft, even with a $15 licensing fee has a more compeling package with Windows Phone 7 than Google with Android. It’s a well known fact (no need to have “close sources”) that Android OEMs have to license applications on Android (Google Maps for example isn’t part of Android”s “free stuff”  and you also have HTC/Samsung licensing QuickOffice etc) and invest in R&D to develop their own UI if they wish to differentiate their products. HTC is also paying an undisclosed amount to Microsoft for the use of Android. So all in all developing and shipping an Android device isn’t necessary cheaper than a similar Windows Phone 7 handset. WP7 also have the advantage of having more controlled ecosystem which means that OEMS have to worry less about developing drivers and maintaining system compatibility. It also comes with comprehensive list of multimedia and business features that aren’t available “for free” with and Android license (Zune Music + Video, Xblive, Office, SharePoint, Exchange). Steve Ballmer first talked about this last year during the Windows Mobile 6.5 launch event in Paris but this was totally awkward and didn’t apply to WM6.5 at all given that the dying OS cost money and OEMs still hand to develop UI, license third-party apps and service (Opera Mobile, Google Maps, Google Locations etc…).

There are pros and cons to both strategies and this is what makes things go forward.

Source: BI

  • Anonymous

    Well i would like to know how much apple vs htc in court has cost htc so far, would love to know how much it will cost for samsung and motorola if larry ellison feels like suing them, would love to know how much it costs for samsung to release new firmwares to correct the faulty gps on their flagship device, and how much will it cost for sony erricson to support 2 different versions of android for x10, if ever that 2.1 come out for it, did i mentioned faulty drivers? different benchmark results on one phone? different battery lives on the same phone? damage of samsung’s image that faulty gps had for samsung so far? yeah be sure it costs was more that $15, even without ending up in lawsuits