Could Microsoft be making more money from Android phones than from its own moribund Windows Phone platform? It’s quite possible. According to Citi analyst, Walter Pritchard, Microsoft is making $5 from every Android phone that HTC sells. As an Android fan, if that doesn’t make your blood boil, I don’t know what would. Basically, all the effort that Android developers, members of the OHA, and the Android community put into growing the Android ecosystem, indirectly ends up helping Microsoft fund Windows Phone. How ridiculous is that?
As you might know, Microsoft has been claiming that Android infringes on the company’s intellectual property. As a result of this, HTC and Microsoft signed a deal last year that allowed HTC to keep making Android phones, but it’d have to pay Microsoft a royalty for every device sold.
After that first successful deal with HTC, Microsoft started going after several other Android manufacturers. Including Motorola, and more recently Barnes & Noble. However, Microsoft hasn’t been that lucky after that first deal with HTC. Both Motorola and Barnes & Noble have put their foot on the ground, and even gone on the offensive against Microsoft.
Ballmer and Co. are taking advantage of the fact that Google doesn’t have a lot of patents in mobile technology, since the company is fairly new to that sector. But Google is not standing still, the company is in the process of buying Nortel’s patent portfolio. Which they specifically said would be used against those who threaten Google and the partners that support Android.
According to the same Citi analyst, Microsoft is currently asking Android manufacturers for $7.50 to $12.50 per device sold. If that seems high to you, that’s because it is. Barnes & Noble recently mentioned that Microsoft is asking for some “shockingly high” fees, and that the fee is actually “higher than what Microsoft charges for a license to its entire operating system designed for mobile devices, Windows Phone 7″.
With Microsoft possibly making more money from Android than from Windows Phone 7, they might as well give up on improving Windows Phone and throw all their effort behind suing Android manufacturers. I bet the legal department at Microsoft would love that. Microsoft the patent troll, yeah, that sounds about right.
UPDATE: According to Asymco, HTC has sold around 30 million Android phones, which means that Microsoft has made close to $150 million from Android. Compare that to the 2 million Windows Phone licenses that the company has sold for $15, which would result in $30 million in revenue. Yep, Microsoft is making five times more from Android than from Windows Phone. Like Horace Dediu from Asymco says: “Google’s Android seems the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft’s mobile efforts, ever.”