Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) plans to license its Windows Mobile platform for fewer handset models. Todd Peters, VP of marketing for the Windows Mobile division, told the the NYT that MS would become more competitive by limiting the number of devices build with the Windows Mobile operating system so its efforts are not “diluted over too many devices,” The idea is to better integrate the handset and the OS, thereby pumping more value into the license so manufacturers will have an incentive to continue paying for it. A major announcement is planned for the Mobile World Congress.
There are about 140 devices with Windows Mobile, and at CES Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that in the last 12 months more than 20 million Windows Phones were sold with 30 new devices being launched, and of those sales 11 different mobile phones had sold more than a million units each. That means the others are selling a lot less — although I won’t try to guess a figure without knowing how many of those 140 different devices had a sale last year. While handsets with lower sales volume might be successful for what they are, Microsoft is clearly more concerned with licensing volume. It could be a good idea to concentrate more on fewer handset models to get the functionality that will measure favourably to other smartphones (who am I kidding? I should just say “iPhone”) and bank on those handsets having more volume to make up for the fewer model types. It could mean less development costs as well.