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ZTE pays Microsoft as much as $30 for each Windows Phone license

News by Dan Seifert on Thursday January 19, 2012.

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It's not often that device manufacturers let slip how much they pay in licensing fees to use a particular operating system on their smartphones, but that appears to be just what ZTE did recently, as it outed the cost of Windows Phone licenses for its smartphones.

According to ZTE executive Santiago Sierra, the company pays Microsoft between 15 and 20 GBP (about $20 to $30) for each Windows Phone device that it sells. This fee pays for the right to use Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system on the devices. It is also much higher than previously speculated, as many assumed that Microsoft charged manufacturers between $10 and $15 per device license.

Of course, Microsoft could have different deals with other manufacturers, and it is not likely that all of them pay the same price for each license. Android, since is it open source and provided for free by Google, does not cost manufacturers anything in the way of licenses (leaving patent fees that many have to pay to Microsoft out of the equation), and ZTE admitted that producing the Tania, its latest Windows Phone device, did cost more than a comparable Android smartphone due to the "different cost structure" of Windows Phone. And as a rule of business, higher costs are generally passed down to the consumer, so this license fee does indeed affect everyone who would be interested in purchasing a Windows Phone smartphone. [Trusted Reviews via The Verge]

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Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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