Microsoft reportedly offering Windows Phone to some smartphone vendors for free

Microsoft is apparently ready to take some more drastic action when it comes to kick-starting Windows Phone sales by making the OS free to some smartphone vendors.

Normally, Microsoft charges a license fee to handset manufacturers who want to put Windows Phone on their devices, raking in some nice cash for Redmond. But it seems that it’s now willing to forego that income and make Windows Phone free to use (as Android is), at least for two smartphone makers in India – Lava and Karbonn – anyway.

This is according to a report in The Times of India, which cites “multiple sources” to back its story up, and claims that Microsoft gave the ground to help seal the deal in negotiations over producing Windows Phone devices with those two vendors.

Of course, the firms want to produce affordable handsets, and levying a license fee would get in the way of that goal.

If true, this is a major move, as of course Microsoft loves to milk its software for every penny (and then some) – but clearly, it needs to do something to help spur Windows Phone along. Previously, Redmond didn’t even give the OS to its bosom buddy (and now acquired) Nokia.

If this agreement has indeed been forged, Windows Phone could well be offered to other vendors across the globe, for nothing.

However, let’s not get carried away – this is just a rumour at present. There have been whispers about this previously, though, and Windows Phone is looking to battle Android at the lower-end – which is where Android has amassed a lot of market share recently. Premium smartphone sales have slipped in recent times, and the wallet-friendly sector is where much of the mobile industry's attention seems to be currently focused.

Microsoft is predictably refusing to comment on the situation at the moment.