Would you pay $15 for a Windows Mobile license?

I certainly wouldn’t pay for Windows Mobile.

Not in it’s current state.

Microsoft is charging between $8 and $15 per handset for its Windows Mobile license fee.

Obviously there’s speculation — most notably in this piece from CNET — that this is now a rather strange position from Microsoft, given that Google Android is ‘free’.

The history of Windows Mobile, for me, reads like this: Shit, shit, still shit, rubbish, not bad, getting better, improving.

6.1 is a good improvement. Your handsets are far less likely to screw up in the middle of a call. But the OS is still far from what I’d term ‘mission critical’.

You can use your standard Windows Mobile handset in a mission critical manner. Just reboot it first. And be sure to remove every sodding application.

And make sure nobody calls you.

Don’t connect to the internet either. Keep your handset disconnected, so the OS doesn’t get confused when you have to make that important call.

So if I was at a mobile phone store and I’d just bought a handset and was then choosing my desired operating system, there’s no way I’d pay a premium for Windows Mobile.

I have a very particular viewpoint, though.

I have, unfortunately met many people sporting Windows Mobile handsets who love them. They look at me as though I’m some hilarious arse. They don’t care that you can often see the operating system working. You can see it thinking and struggling. That’s normal. And perfectly fine, as far as they’re concerned.

Hugely annoying for me.

But who am I to argue?

Is there a commercial imperative for Microsoft to offer Windows Mobile for free, now that Google’s Android is freely available?

No. Not today. Not yet.

Flood the market with 100 different, brilliant Android mobile handsets, all with Exchange support as standard… and that might need to change.

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  • http://mostlythis.com mostlythis

    oddly people often prefer things they have to pay for than free things. It's misperceived as better quality. go figure!! I've found the non-touch screen windows mobile phones to be very good. their interface is streets ahead of nokia – particularly the t9 driven contacts and the awesome t9 implementation in text entry (with menu for alternatives and auto remembering words that follow)
    but the touch screen ones are terrible. pda's with a phone app added on.

  • kluap

    have to agree with you there – non-touch implementation from my experience is pretty slick. I preferred it to the Blackberry that I had afterwards.

  • http://wmpoweruser.com surur

    Steve Ballmer’s insistence that “We are doing well, we believe in the value of what we are doing.” does not ring well with those who love to hate Windows Mobile, but it may be useful to list exactly what $8-$15 will buy you (and you wont get from Android or Symbian).

    Built-in Exchange push e-mail support.
    Support for remote device management, application deployment and device policy management.
    Support for full device encryption (including external memory cards).
    Free sync with Windows Live Hotmail and Live Contacts.
    Windows Live Search.
    Live Messenger IM Client.
    Software for simple Internet Sharing.
    Office files reading and editing.
    A pretty good e-mail application with built-in smart filtering search.
    A pretty good bluetooth stack.
    Access to 18000 + applications already out in the market.
    Support by carriers and a wide developer community.
    Security certification by recognized accreditation bodies.
    Indemnification for the technology used.

    Sure, OEM’s could decide to produce Android devices, and then find the phones they produce are unattractive to business users because they did not license Exchange Activesync, and does not appeal to others because it does not have any applications yet, and others still will complain the phone does not support A2DP. The OEM may find some carriers are reluctant to support their new device on their network.

  • http://wmpoweruser.com surur

    You know, I would pay $30 for full device encryption, including storage cards
    I would pay pay at least $15 for exchange push e-mail.
    I would pay $15 to be able to read and edit office documents.
    I would pay $15 for a good internet sharing application.
    I would pay $100 to have access to all the great WM applications (Skype, Slingbox, Pocket Informant, BeyondPod etc etc)

    How much did iPod Touch owners have to pay just to get an e-mail client ?

  • Daniel

    Its worth every penny on the basis that the first time you need a piece of software for Android or Symbian you will pay more than that $15, whereas a piece of software offering the same functionality for Windows Mobile will probably be available for free.

    Whilst I agree in the past Windows Mobile has been less than stable, the most recent phone I've had has been one of the most reliable phones I've ever used, even more reliable than some of the non-smart phones.

  • Daniel

    Its worth every penny on the basis that the first time you need a piece of software for Android or Symbian you will pay more than that $15, whereas a piece of software offering the same functionality for Windows Mobile will probably be available for free.

    Whilst I agree in the past Windows Mobile has been less than stable, the most recent phone I've had has been one of the most reliable phones I've ever used, even more reliable than some of the non-smart phones.

  • Daniel

    Its worth every penny on the basis that the first time you need a piece of software for Android or Symbian you will pay more than that $15, whereas a piece of software offering the same functionality for Windows Mobile will probably be available for free.

    Whilst I agree in the past Windows Mobile has been less than stable, the most recent phone I've had has been one of the most reliable phones I've ever used, even more reliable than some of the non-smart phones.

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