Microsoft said to be courting top Indian smartphone OEMs

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The Times of India reports that Microsoft is in talks with the top 3 Indian smartphone OEMs, who between themselves have 32% of the Indian smartphone market, to release Windows Phones in 2014.

Vishal Sehgal, from Xolo, a subsidiary of Lava, has already agreed to release a device running Windows Phone. "We will come out with a WP device next year. The plan is to launch with Windows Phone 8.1," he said.

Micromax, who is the second largest OEM in India, has also admitted to be in talks with Microsoft, but the company is still haggling about the license fee.

"Talks are on but we need to agree on how we can do that. One of the contentious issues is the licence fee that has to be paid to Microsoft for using Windows Phone. Android on the other hand is free," said a Micromax official. "Given the tough competition, margins are low. If we also pay licence fee, it may make the device too costly for consumers".

Shashin Devsare, executive director of Karbonn, refused to confirm or deny that his company was in talks with Microsoft. But he added Karbonn was a hardware and software agnostic company. "Currently, all our smartphones are powered by Android. But we are talking with other companies and evaluating if their software will help us provide a different experience to consumers," he said.

The Windows Phone license fee is rumoured to be as high at $25, but there has recently been rumours of Microsoft planning make the Windows Phone OS free, and India is certainly one region in which this will make a tremendous difference in adoption, not just by consumers but also by OEMs.

Do our readers think Microsoft simply needs to bite the bullet and make the OS free? Let us know below.

More about the topics: india, karbonn, lava, micromax, microsoft, windows phone, xolo