Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Microsoft Confirms It Gets Less Than $10 Per Nokia Windows Phone Sold

We all know that Microsoft isn’t selling nearly as many Windows Phones as it would like to.

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 9.33.47 PM

Now we also know that it isn’t getting much revenue for each phone, either. As part of its “rationale for the deal,” Microsoft disclosed that, under its current Nokia deal, it gets less than $10 per phone in software royalties. That means that even if Windows Phone were eventually a big deal, it might not translate into big bucks for Microsoft under the current structure.

So, while taking a big risk in buying Nokia’s phone business, Microsoft argues that it stands to reap greater rewards if it is successful. The company points out that Nokia’s Windows Phones have gross profit margins in the range of $40 per phone.

In addition, Microsoft has also been paying a small fortune to Nokia in “platform support” payments — essentially, cash that Microsoft used to convince Nokia to bet on Windows Phone over Android.

Of course, there is a lot more to the economics, and making the hardware means all kinds of other costs and risks, including inventory, channel management, carrier relationships, regulatory testing, and lots of other things not required when one is simply in the operating-system business.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik