Will Microsoft Make Windows Mobile Free?

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Google and Nokia are trying something unusual with their mobile operating systems: they are going to give them away for free. This raises the possibility that Microsoft will do the same with Windows Mobile.

Windows MobileThis isn’t going to happen, according to Microsoft’s Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. “We are doing well, we believe in the value of what we are doing,” is what he told Reuters.

A Study in Contrasts

Microsoft will continue to use its traditional method with Windows Mobile, in which it develops the operating system and licenses it to other companies to release devices. It typically charges its licensees roughly $10 for each smartphone or handheld.

Google is following different plan. Its Android OS is based on open-source tools, and it will continue to be an open-source platform that is available to anyone who wants it for free.

Nokia started out using Microsoft’s strategy but recently announced plans to switch to Google’s, and it taking the Symbian OS and S60 open source.

Ballmer doesn’t see any advantages in the open-source system. As he 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?”

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