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Microsoft planning free Windows for smartphones to gain ground on Android

Smartphone and tablet makers will no longer be charged for using the Windows platform, Microsoft has announced, in a move to attempt to gain traction in the devices war.

Previously Microsoft charged between $5 (£3) and $15 (£9) per device if a manufacturer wished to use its Windows system, a strategy it has used for personal computers for years.

Related: Windows Phone 8.1 screenshots show revolutionary notifications menu

Seeing the success of Google's Android platform, however, it has decided to change tactic.

The adoption of Android for phones and tablets, which charges hardware makers nothing to implement, has been explosive over the past few years.

Android devices, according to IDC, accounted for more than 75 per cent of all smartphones sold in 2012.

This new move by Microsoft shows that the company is increasingly interested in gaining market share and bulking up support for its cloud-based services. The once old-reliable strategy of placing Windows as the focal point of the business is slowly being replaced.

See more: Should Microsoft dump Windows Phone in favour of Android?

CEO Satya Nadella made no bones about admitting that his firm are becoming the underdogs in the market for services and devices.

"Our vision, simply put, is to thrive in this world of mobile first, cloud first," said Nadella, according to PC Pro. "Our goal is to really build platforms, create the best end-user experiences, the best developer opportunities and IT infrastructure for this ubiquitous computing world."