Microsoft is in talks with Android manufacturer HTC to include Windows Phone on Android handsets, according to Bloomberg. According to the report, the head of Microsoft’s OS division approached the Android OEM last month with a request to include the Microsoft mobile OS on Android phones as a second option for consumers.
Sources with knowledge of the talks did say that Microsoft is considering waiving the Windows Phone software licensing fee as an incentive for OEMs to make the switch. The lack of a licensing fee is part of what gave Android such a big head start in mobile OS marketshare; smartphone companies can download Google’s mobile operating system free of charge and include it on any handset they make. Eliminating the Windows Phone licensing fee would help defeat Google’s advantage and break Android’s de facto monopoly on lower-end devices.
HTC has made a few Windows Phone devices in the past, but now works mostly with Android. Getting the software on the same handsets that run Android would be a huge move for Microsoft. The Redmond company has expressed interest in working with companies other than Nokia, the handset manufacturer whose devices division Microsoft acquired last month.
No decision has been made yet, and the talks are ongoing. The technical details of any resulting deal—such as whether buyers would have to choose the OS at the time of purchase or could switch between the two at will—are still unknown.