Rumor: Microsoft mulling free Windows RT and Windows Phone versions to OEMs

Microsoft is rumored to be at least thinking about giving away Windows RT and Windows Phone to OEMs for use in their upcoming tablets and smartphones. The plan may be part of a larger effort to boost Windows in general under Microsoft's new operating systems leader Terry Myerson with its "Threshold" plans.

The Verge reports, via unnamed sources, that while nothing has been finalized yet, Microsoft could offer the latest versions of Windows RT and Windows Phone to device companies for free in time for the Threshold updates to both operating systems. Those updates are rumored to be released as early as fall 2014 but could also be launched in the spring of 2015.

These rumored plans are being made even as Microsoft prepares to acquire Nokia's Devices and Services business by the end of the first quarter of 2014. Nokia already sells the vast majority of Windows Phone devices and is currently the only third party company to sell a Windows RT tablet, the Lumia 2520. Offering both operating systems for free to third party device makers would, in theory, encourage more tablets and smartphones to use Microsoft's Windows platform and hopefully give the company a better chance at competing with Google and its dominant Android OS.

Source: The Verge | Image via Nokia

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Ironically, this is the kind of behavior that got them in trouble with Internet Explorer. It's odd to see Microsoft on the underdog side of things, though.

recursive said,
Since nobody seems to be interested in paying for it, it guess it is the only thing left for them to do.

windows revenues (server and client) were record high this year. your definition of nobody seems funny. 1.5 billion users of windows have paid for it. And windows 7+8 still outselling android tablets and ipads combined. giving it away as a Trojan horse is brilliant for they can easily go from 1.5 to 3.0 billion all using MSFT services generation much more money than a flat 4-5 year license can.

I find it hilarious how most of the commenters act like they are business professionals that know everything there is about business decisions.

It may be an interesting idea to make it free, but it would take a bit hit to Microsoft without monetizing certain components/services. To be honest, they shouldn't need to many OEMs anyway as it slows down the development process, but their partnership with the OEMs is what has helped all those companies Microsoft included succeed. Let's see where this goes.

j2006 said,
I find it hilarious how most of the commenters act like they are business professionals that know everything there is about business decisions.

It may be an interesting idea to make it free, but it would take a bit hit to Microsoft without monetizing certain components/services. To be honest, they shouldn't need to many OEMs anyway as it slows down the development process, but their partnership with the OEMs is what has helped all those companies Microsoft included succeed. Let's see where this goes.

Actually you do not need a MBA to realize that the financial effect would be limited: Nokia is by far the biggest WP OEM and soon MS will own it; RT is not so popular, to put it mildly, again MS and Nokia therefore the previous considerations apply as well.
For example: if the OS is given for free obviously Office would not longer, at least for Tablets, be part of the standard, included software; If MS would boost sales by just a 10% and then sell Office 365 subscription the additional revenues, and profits, would easily overcome the losses.

Lately I'm baffled at the lack of respect and professionalism in sites like Neowin or The Verge. This whole "WP & RT might be free" information does NOT originally come from The Verge: their article was published on December 11th at 8.06AM. It was Paul Thurrott who shared this tip first on December 10th (you can check for yourself: http://windowsitpro.com/window...-windows-big-changes-coming).

The fact that The Verge doesn't mention Thurrott once and treats this info as its own is shameless. The fact that Neowin doesn't even bother to fact-check with the most well known MS commentator is equally embarrassing. And yes, I'm sure The Verge would quote "sources" they have, conveniently 1 day after Thurrott divulged the info first. Those "sources" are Thurrott and they don't even have the decency to credit him for it. It's disgusting.

I'm further and further disappointed with today's tech so-called press. This is not press. This is opportunist aficionado work.

It might come as a shock, but the source at Microsoft could have talked to more than once news source... Unlike you, the news writers don't read every single tech blog all day every day so they could easily miss it if the source talked to multiple venues.

Are you serious? I don't spend all day reading this stuff, I check before and after going to work. The fact that you're implying that news writers should read less than I do blows my mind. Isn't that their job? To find information? To fact-check?

And how convenient is it that Thurrott's story came out on the 10th, The Verge's today on the 11th at 8AM and Neowin's at 1pm? If Neowin is following news, they better follow who The Verge steal from time and time again.

The problem is people like you, the modern audience, accustomed to blogs. You will accept any piece of information without regard for the professional quality of it. To say it is a disheartening reality is putting it mildly. Try something like this at a publishing company and you will get fired and possibly get legal consequences for it.

I'm not implying that news authors shouldn't read. My point is that just because the site you saw break the news first wasn't given credit doesn't imply that someone plagiarized either. It is quite possible that they have the same source of information that wasn't each other.

I don't tend to depend on blogs for my news. I usually read more traditional newspapers like the WSJ for it actually.

It's not a "site". If you want to follow news and rumors on Microsoft, there's literally 2 main people you go to: Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley. Nobody has the access to MS they have. Hence why it's so obvious where The Verge is getting their info when they don't credit. It's happened before in very obvious occasions.

It will still NOT guarantee a sudden increase in market share. MS is in a pickle because developers are waiting for market share, and consumers will not buy WP devices because they don't have the apps that they need (I'm not talking about the top 50 apps).

Emerging market and new users are helping MS with the numbers, but it is too slow of a growth. MS must find a better way to entice users to jump ship current their ecosystem, and regular consumers are not that easy to sway considering they've invested time and money to their current ecosystem.

This is the result of MS dragging their asses and coming late in the game, and not having the vision to see where the technology was heading.

The first iPhone or Android had very few apps, still people bought it. The fact that no one wants to buy it says a lot about the product itself (RT / Win 8). Lack of apps has very little to do with lack of consumer interest in Microsoft's mobile offerings.

RommelS said,
It will still NOT guarantee a sudden increase in market share. MS is in a pickle because developers are waiting for market share, and consumers will not buy WP devices because they don't have the apps that they need (I'm not talking about the top 50 apps).

Emerging market and new users are helping MS with the numbers, but it is too slow of a growth. MS must find a better way to entice users to jump ship current their ecosystem, and regular consumers are not that easy to sway considering they've invested time and money to their current ecosystem.

This is the result of MS dragging their asses and coming late in the game, and not having the vision to see where the technology was heading.

look at it this way: whatever marketshare they have, it will only get larger with this move. you an debate how much all you want, but the fact remains this is a good move for MSFT and a bad news for everybody competing with them for they can no longer point to cost as an advantage, and in the thin margins of mobile, this is a BIG factor and the ONLY reason android ever made it.

recursive said,
The first iPhone or Android had very few apps, still people bought it. The fact that no one wants to buy it says a lot about the product itself (RT / Win 8). Lack of apps has very little to do with lack of consumer interest in Microsoft's mobile offerings.

The difference there was there were the first two devices that provided that service, and it took MS a long time to come out with their own. By the time MS released WP and Windows 8, both iOS and Android ware already well established, and developers and consumers are very much entrench with both ecosystem.

...and the biggest part of the ecosystem is the apps.

Another thing, if WP ecosystem does have the same apps, then MS must find a way to make a deal with developers to allow consumers to install the same app for free, but consumer must provide proof of purchase.

I've seen enough consumers out there that they want to leave their ecosystem because they don't want to repurchase the same app if they jump - thus they are sticking to their current ecosystem.

neonspark said,

look at it this way: whatever marketshare they have, it will only get larger with this move. you an debate how much all you want, but the fact remains this is a good move for MSFT and a bad news for everybody competing with them for they can no longer point to cost as an advantage, and in the thin margins of mobile, this is a BIG factor and the ONLY reason android ever made it.

Neon, first of, I did not say that it will not increase? What I said that it is not a guaranteed sudden increase. Why? Because I included what else MS has do deal with - developers and consumers, which you failed to factor in. (see my response to recursive above)

Second, if true, yeah, it is great news for OEMs. But ask yourself this, would the number of device made equal to the number of usage if the ecosystem is not as lively as iOS and Android? Developers are still holding out, and without the apps, the consumers will not be there.

You see, I am Windows Phone fan, Surface fan, basically a huge MS fan, but I am not blinded to their mistakes, and I am not afraid to call them out on it.

Do a tiered pricing. ie first 1 mil costs $$$ but after 1 mil, the prices drops to near zero. This would incentivize manufacturers to produce a lot of RT/WP devices. Flood the market with a various devices from the low to high end markets. MS can make money off of the services/apps once market shares increase. Keep Surface and some Lumia devices as niche, high end products.

recursive said,
Or they could simply go with Android which costs next to nothing from 0 to start with.

and pay patent royalties to MSFT which cost not next to nothing...

android is very expensive to start from scratch for engineering and design, the os itself is free but patent costs are not, windows phone os going free the same as android with no added patent cost for oems to pay, so again you might see where this will go.

As usual MS is late to the party and still holding onto old models and ideals. I think its too late to go free to make any big difference and it will only hurt their bottom line. I don't think that cost is the problem, people just don't like Windows Phone and RT much. If they did it would already be selling better. Good luck to MS getting marketshare and devices in hands while giving up on revenue and old business models.

derekaw said,
As usual MS is late to the party and still holding onto old models and ideals. I think its too late to go free to make any big difference and it will only hurt their bottom line. I don't think that cost is the problem, people just don't like Windows Phone and RT much. If they did it would already be selling better. Good luck to MS getting marketshare and devices in hands while giving up on revenue and old business models.

late to the party? you assume the party is over? It's like saying the party was over when IOS attained 70% market, or when RIM owned the mobile market. No sir, the party is not over, another song is just about to play

it seems you really fear free windows which OEMs would absolutely love to just bundle with everything. hear that? it's the sound of disruptive change coming. and it is a sweet song.

neonspark said,

late to the party? you assume the party is over? It's like saying the party was over when IOS attained 70% market, or when RIM owned the mobile market. No sir, the party is not over, another song is just about to play

it seems you really fear free windows which OEMs would absolutely love to just bundle with everything. hear that? it's the sound of disruptive change coming. and it is a sweet song.

I have not assumed its over, late means late. MS's business model is that OEM's pay for the OS, it's a huge change and I don't think that MS can pull free off in a way that gets market share and is good for the Microsoft bottom line. Disruptive change happens all around Microsoft and they are very slow to act, possibly too slow to make the difference they are looking for. It's too late for Windows Phone to be an Android. If people liked Windows Phone it would already be selling well and it's not. I can't see a bit of a price change making a huge difference.

worldwide windows phone is the fastest growing mobile OS, coming very close to ios marketshare in quite a few countires, over 10% marketshare in the top 5 European countries, so I don't think you understand what is really going on or you are just the normal dumb American that thinks that's all there is to the world. so think about this, fastest growing mobile os going free to oems, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what will happen.

People are buying cheap windows phones because they are cheap, it's simple. If windows phones were selling for the right reasons and creating profits then you can guarantee that all OEM's would have a top selling flagship Windows Phone.

Soooooo.....all that Windows Phone and RT marketing money was wasted?

Microsoft is clearly in big trouble. They should have done this along time ago. The problem, (LOL) Microsoft thought they were Apple and mis-valued their products equally.

For now, Microsoft is right to feel comfortable on the enterprise side of technology but it's about to lose the consumer market with EVERYTHING else. Microsoft is turning into the next IBM.

VictorWho said,
Soooooo.....all that Windows Phone and RT marketing money was wasted?

Microsoft is clearly in big trouble. They should have done this along time ago. The problem, (LOL) Microsoft thought they were Apple and mis-valued their products equally.

For now, Microsoft is right to feel comfortable on the enterprise side of technology but it's about to lose the consumer market with EVERYTHING else. Microsoft is turning into the next IBM.


No. It means that they'd be adjusting their business model to reflect the realities of the market and other their competition. Relying on the marketplaces versus licensing would be helpful in aiding adoption among OEMs, especially since MS has been willing to legally protect their partners as part of the deal (unlike Google who is far less involved than I'd like). Besides, how many Android OEMs are paying MS royalties already?

No. Microsoft markets to consumers and business, they don't market to OEMs. From the consumer standpoint, it would be the same.

j2006 said,
No. Microsoft markets to consumers and business, they don't market to OEMs. From the consumer standpoint, it would be the same.

They have to if they want RT and WP to succeed. They have to convince the OEMs that its a good product, has advantages for them versus Android, etc. If they actually had meaningful desktop OS competition they'd be doing more marketing there, too.

If anything, I think they should do revenue sharing with partners on these closed platforms. Long term, its all about the money, after all.

Chikairo said,

They have to if they want RT and WP to succeed. They have to convince the OEMs that its a good product, has advantages for them versus Android, etc. If they actually had meaningful desktop OS competition they'd be doing more marketing there, too.

If anything, I think they should do revenue sharing with partners on these closed platforms. Long term, its all about the money, after all.

The OEM's can't do squat if the consumers aren't interested in them. Surface is living proof of this.

VictorWho said,
Soooooo.....all that Windows Phone and RT marketing money was wasted?

Microsoft is clearly in big trouble. They should have done this along time ago. The problem, (LOL) Microsoft thought they were Apple and mis-valued their products equally.

For now, Microsoft is right to feel comfortable on the enterprise side of technology but it's about to lose the consumer market with EVERYTHING else. Microsoft is turning into the next IBM.

how was it wasted? they weren't selling you the OS to buy on a disc. the fact that it is free or not only matters to the OEM. consumers shouldn't know the difference. what it means is that OEMs can just use windows phone at no risk meaning we should see a flood of devices and much better growth now that it is technically more expensive to go android given they have to pay patent fees to MSFT.

IBM wished they had thought of that.

recursive said,

The OEM's can't do squat if the consumers aren't interested in them. Surface is living proof of this.


Which I understand (keeping in mind it was the best selling Windows tablet). Granted, this late in the game, a new platform is going to have problems (even before you factor in MS's horrible/confusing marketing). Long term? I think it'll be viable, just not outrageously dominant like desktop Windows.

Also, how well is Android working out for anyone who isn't Google or Samsung? Hell, Windows Phone and Nokia. Still, there's a LOT of growth to be had in coming years, and the iPad/iPhone was viewed as being invincible in ge past. Things can change, and you don't have to be #1 or #2 to be profitable.

MS needs to keep after OEMs, keep working on Windows, etc. This is totally a marathon, not a sprint, and removing the licensing would be a good step forward.

This was exactly my opinion a few months ago already
Windows should be free on RT and for small devices (8inch).
It shouldnt necessarily come with office preinstalled but office should be offered as a nice price through the store (although this might cause issues due to standard store licensing ; but anyway surely MS has thought that through as they are working on a metro version)
WP doesnt need to be free but needs to be cheaper than what OEM are typically paying in royalty fees to MS to make it a cheaper solution than android

I just cant believe they havent done it already ...

Personally, I think they should have offered everything for free at first then only start collecting fee's and charges later when the ecosystem is strong and established. Cost would be a main factor in consumer world. Developers fee and the need to pay to learn about this new stuff will drive developers away when the ecosystem is still not mature enough. Same goes to charging OEM for the OS when it's not mature.

It would be smart. Both platforms have marketplaces for video, music, and apps, plus SkyDrive, Skype and Office 365 as add-ons. That revenue can make up for the lack of licensing fees. Its still a tough sell, IMO, but at least that removes one roadblock.

The other big one, hardware standards/minimums? That needs to stay. Sorry, but after years of computers and gadgets, I'm sick of OEMs racing to the bottom and selling crap for consumers who want to pay bottom dollar (they're not being frugal, they're wasting money!).

this makes perfect sense

1) windows isn't even #2, but #3 in revenues and most are enterprise. Office and Server are #1 and #2.

2) for tablets/phones, MSFT can use windows like android as a Trojan horse and profit more long term than on single time license sales.

3) by essentially giving away windows for free, this is a HUGE hit for android and google while all that it can offer is cost savings and with OEMS being increasingly worried about google's ruthless policies and their nexus line killing them, OEMs will surely want to ensure no company becomes too powerful. brining balance to the force.

4) the enterprise will still pay for windows for as long as things like chromebooks (failed twice already) and Linux (failed 20 times already) can't replicate a vast x86 like ecosystem.

5) it would be awesome to just steal windows. in fact, they should own the "stealwindows.com" domain and have an ISO image.

neonspark said,
this makes perfect sense

1) windows isn't even #2, but #3 in revenues and most are enterprise. Office and Server are #1 and #2.

2) for tablets/phones, MSFT can use windows like android as a Trojan horse and profit more long term than on single time license sales.

3) by essentially giving away windows for free, this is a HUGE hit for android and google while all that it can offer is cost savings and with OEMS being increasingly worried about google's ruthless policies and their nexus line killing them, OEMs will surely want to ensure no company becomes too powerful. brining balance to the force.

4) the enterprise will still pay for windows for as long as things like chromebooks (failed twice already) and Linux (failed 20 times already) can't replicate a vast x86 like ecosystem.

5) it would be awesome to just steal windows. in fact, they should own the "stealwindows.com" domain and have an ISO image.

This is RT and Phone, not Pro and Standard versions.

Spicoli said,
They could do it like Android and make it "free" but then remove and charge the other components that make it useful.

That part of the model wouldn't work without making Windows Phone/RT open source. I don't see Microsoft doing that anytime soon as that would require open sourcing the NT Kernel.

Spicoli said,
They could do it like Android and make it "free" but then remove and charge the other components that make it useful.

ah, the google: open but not open to you model. clever. Yeah, they could essentially do that whole base OS is useless minus the closed parts that actually make it useful google's godfather-kiss-the-ring tactic.
that would work and google proved it can scroogled OEMs quite nicely with it.

If they want to gain marketshare quickly then this is the way to go. It all depends on what their goal is. If they want to sell Operating Systems then they might have to accept that this is no longer a profitable market, at least not with their business-model. But if they want to stay relevant and sell additional services through their OS presence then this is the way to go.

Give away Windows RT (or its ARM successor) for free to OEMs but without free Office. Then ask 20 euros for end-users who want to use Office on their tablet.

Sounds like a move aimed at competing more strongly with android. The popularity though I imagine will hinge on whether they let OEMs make any alterations

Javik said,
Sounds like a move aimed at competing more strongly with android. The popularity though I imagine will hinge on whether they let OEMs make any alterations

not so. the biggest draw of android is that the devices save OEMs the license. OEMs actually don't want to customize them and patch them. can you imagine if acer and dell and asus had to run their own windows update server? they just want to save 50-100 bucks on license fees.

Not really, if they load custom apps with it all they would need to do would be to also put them in the Windows stores so they could also deliver updates. From what I gather Nokia were already bundling customised apps with WP?

As for delivering updates... OEMs already do this, I know samsung deliver all their firmware updates through their own servers, as I am pretty sure do most WP OEMs

Javik said,
Not really, if they load custom apps with it all they would need to do would be to also put them in the Windows stores so they could also deliver updates. From what I gather Nokia were already bundling customised apps with WP?

As for delivering updates... OEMs already do this, I know samsung deliver all their firmware updates through their own servers, as I am pretty sure do most WP OEMs

actually no. OEMs do not deliver their firmware updates. It all travels via WUS (windows update services). I'm not sure with android, but Microsoft servers are the only ones authorized to deliver code to your machine via windows update for security reasons. Second, there is a HUGE difference with what android OEMS do to android, than just installing an app. They change the shell and the OS itself, meaning they have to retrofit google's changes. Dell doesn't have to do this when they install an app, which is why windows updates years later regardless of who sold you the machine when android just...well abandons users. you could today receive an update for windows vista version 1 which is what? nearly a decade old. Some android phones never get a single update all because it just isn't economical to the OEMs to support millions of device and various hacks to android for the money they are charging per device. The reason MSFT can do this is because there is ONE source code and ONE version. not windows by acer or windows by dell.

neonspark said,

actually no. OEMs do not deliver their firmware updates. .

Not true: Nokia WP updates are on Nokia servers. You are confusing computers, in any forms, and smartphone.
Granted if MS started, as they initially implied, updates directly without the need to wait for OEM, and for the ones that buy devices through them, the carriers I am sure that WP would see a boost.

neonspark said,

Some android phones never get a single update all because it just isn't economical to the OEMs to support millions of device and various hacks to android for the money they are charging per device. The reason MSFT can do this is because there is ONE source code and ONE version. not windows by acer or windows by dell.

Yes, choice is such a terrible thing. Let's all just switch to Microsoft and be confined to using the same god awful Metro UI on every product in our lives.

Javik said,

Yes, choice is such a terrible thing. Let's all just switch to Microsoft and be confined to using the same god awful Metro UI on every product in our lives.

Then buy something else. There's your choice. Microsoft doesn't need to provide eleventy billion UIs for each of its users. In fact, it's easier not to in terms of support, and development.

Dot Matrix said,

Then buy something else. There's your choice. Microsoft doesn't need to provide eleventy billion UIs for each of its users. In fact, it's easier not to in terms of support, and development.

Already do, thanks, you did just confirm my point about choice though.

Javik said,

Already do, thanks, you did just confirm my point about choice though.

When has Microsoft *ever* provided options to change the UI? Why do you think that's going to change now?

Dot Matrix said,

When has Microsoft *ever* provided options to change the UI? Why do you think that's going to change now?

Not sure what exactly you mean by "change the UI", but every version of Windows I can recall using had options and settings you could change/tweak to alter it's appearance, move the taskbar around, and even make the UI look more or less like it did in the previous version. Same thing with the start menu.

Now if you mean swap the windows desktop UI for the UI from OSX or Linux, then no.

Dot Matrix said,

When has Microsoft *ever* provided options to change the UI? Why do you think that's going to change now?


"Ever"? WM was customizable and so much more....

domboy said,

Now if you mean swap the windows desktop UI for the UI from OSX or Linux, then no.

That's exactly what I mean. You can't, in any supported manner, swap out the Windows shell for an alternative. Microsoft has never provided this level of functionality before for a multitude of reasons, and that's not going to change at all here.

In a way they're already offering them for free. Only MS and the soon-to-be-MS Nokia makes RT products. Nokia dominates the WP arena but there won't be any revenue loss once the sale is completed. If anything there's going to be a substantial revenue bump. So yeah, offer them for free. That's more incentive for OEMs to take risks with sub $200 RT tablets.

yea this might have been good to do in the beginning when it was first trying to take off. but still, not a terrible idea, I guess.

This is what they should have done at first place to gain share. better late than never I guess, but I am afraid they already lost so much time and wasted pointless marketing efforts

trojan_market said,
This is what they should have done at first place to gain share. better late than never I guess, but I am afraid they already lost so much time and wasted pointless marketing efforts

what did the mobile market teach us?
1) palm owned it
2) rim took it
3) apple ate it.
4) google stole it.

all in just a couple of decades. to think, android will remain unchallenged forever is to ignore the normal in mobile is to see the top dog give way to younger more agile dog. google already missed social, and many trends, proving it is no longer agile. At this point, we're just waiting for the next big thing to knock them down and given past history, it doesn't have to be MSFT, but it will happen. its inevitable.

neonspark said,

what did the mobile market teach us?
1) palm owned it
2) rim took it
3) apple ate it.
4) google stole it.


Yeah, BUT.....but with all that, Microsoft tried to steal it from Palm, tried to steal it from Blackberry, got stolen from Apple, and got beat to a pulp by Google.

neonspark said,

all in just a couple of decades. to think, android will remain unchallenged forever is to ignore the normal in mobile is to see the top dog give way to younger more agile dog. google already missed social, and many trends, proving it is no longer agile. At this point, we're just waiting for the next big thing to knock them down and given past history, it doesn't have to be MSFT, but it will happen. its inevitable.

Yeah, but when? In 50 years? Google is super strong for one reason...their stuff is free and "open source." It's sorta like what happened in the 80's between PC and the Mac. It's like two countries going into war, but the opponent has a number of allies (and their resources) fighting on their side.

trojan_market said,
This is what they should have done at first place to gain share. better late than never I guess, but I am afraid they already lost so much time and wasted pointless marketing efforts

While I agree they should have done it to start with I am excited to see the smaller, full windows 8.1 tablets and what they are doing. Dell Venue 8 pros seem to be a hot item this year, if not the miix2 as well. For prices under $250 this year at several places its a pretty good price =).

Microsoft is competing with revenue they get from their other products. They have to balance the money they have. Google is doing it with money from ads. I think it is easier for Google than Microsoft. Microsoft has been trying to increase and monetize with ads for so long and don't do that well. At the same time for Google their costs are minimum because they are building off of free software where as Microsoft is developing it's own software. Despite all of the different markets and products Microsoft has they have done a good job and being steady and having an overall profit. I like the competition between the two and others because overall it is causing Microsoft to provide better products and services. Hopefully they have learned and try to care about their customers better.

VictorWho said,

Yeah, BUT.....but with all that, Microsoft tried to steal it from Palm, tried to steal it from Blackberry, got stolen from Apple, and got beat to a pulp by Google.


Yeah, but when? In 50 years? Google is super strong for one reason...their stuff is free and "open source." It's sorta like what happened in the 80's between PC and the Mac. It's like two countries going into war, but the opponent has a number of allies (and their resources) fighting on their side.

google is already being out innovated by smaller companies. they'll fall. they all do. no company stays on top. history proves you wrong. I'm not saying it will be MSFT, in fact it may not be a US company. Asia is taking over the world and google is very weak there, specially china.

so hold your vuvuzelas googler, like all empires, they all come crashing down

BillyJack said,
Microsoft is competing with revenue they get from their other products. They have to balance the money they have. Google is doing it with money from ads. I think it is easier for Google than Microsoft. Microsoft has been trying to increase and monetize with ads for so long and don't do that well. At the same time for Google their costs are minimum because they are building off of free software where as Microsoft is developing it's own software. Despite all of the different markets and products Microsoft has they have done a good job and being steady and having an overall profit. I like the competition between the two and others because overall it is causing Microsoft to provide better products and services. Hopefully they have learned and try to care about their customers better.

yes but ad revenue can change hands more easily. take FB for instance. it is taking money away from google. twitter, pinterests, all innovations that google just doesn't get which are creating the next "googles". google has been late to the party in just about everything, and has resorted to buy companies instead...which is the sign of a slow dinosaur which will quickly be outmaneuvered by a more clever agile company. will they all succeed? no, but the next google-like will come up with a superior product, take all the ad money, and this is why google is desperate to diversify away from ads. they are very vulnerable. If you think they are invincible, think again.

also, it costs google to develop software. you think it is free? think again. google has very high salaries and they don't work for free. the cost is the same, it's just that MSFT makes money selling it. You think google isn't trying to do the same as the ad revenue is limited? then why are they trying (and failing) to sell docs. why are they trying to sell an EC2/AWS azure cloud computing platform. ad revenue will support. these models? think again google wants to charge, all but invalidating your premise.

google giving away software for free doesn't mean the software was free to google. and as docs shows, they eventually have to charge...and have struggled at it.

neonspark said,

what did the mobile market teach us?
1) palm owned it
2) rim took it
3) apple ate it.
4) google stole it.

all in just a couple of decades. to think, android will remain unchallenged forever is to ignore the normal in mobile is to see the top dog give way to younger more agile dog. google already missed social, and many trends, proving it is no longer agile. At this point, we're just waiting for the next big thing to knock them down and given past history, it doesn't have to be MSFT, but it will happen. its inevitable.

Interestingly there is a big absence in your list: Microsoft
It was Microsoft that dethrone Palm as King of the mobile market first with the PDA like the iPAQ and the HP Journada and then with smartphones like the Motorola MPX 200 just to mention the first one all the way up to the HTC HD2 with WM 6.5. Sadly MS committed the exact same error Palm did: seating on top of its more than 40% market share it stopped innovating, for example dragging the development of Photon; along came the iPhone and in a panic attack MS decided to throw the baby, WM, with the dirty water, the GUI, and start with WP

You bring up some good points but overall you are arguing with yourself. Everywhere you say think again and have a question mark is an argument with nothing I have said except for one question and that is if I think it does not cost Google to make software. Yes, Google does use free open source software and as far as I know they are not paying a license or anything for it. However, you have made me realize that they have more software then their operating system. So yes they are spending money on developing software.

It is funny. Microsoft and Google are succeeding and failing in the opposite things. Microsoft succeeds in selling software and services but but is struggling with ad revenue and Google is the opposite.

trojan_market said,
This is what they should have done at first place to gain share. better late than never I guess, but I am afraid they already lost so much time and wasted pointless marketing efforts

Yes, it would have been a good idea, but there are massive legal considerations that would have at least initially prevented it.

As Microsoft was moving out of the grip of EU/US regulations, they would not have been allowed to approach an OS market so aggressively.

Things like this are why Microsoft is still crawling out of the hole created by the anti-trust ruling, that in the end only hurt and held back technology from consumers.

And forgotten on your list is that Nokia owned the mobile space, more so than what you have on your list. so it really doesn't matter what things look like right now because it will always change, android will not be top spot forever, someone or something will replace it eventually.