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Rare Clues Emerge About Windows OEM Prices

A few rare beams of light are shining into the always murky closet of Windows OEM pricing.

Per Redmond magazine columnist Mary Jo Foley's ZDNet blog, an executive with ZTE told TrustedReviews.com that the Chinese phone maker must pay Microsoft $23 to $31 per copy to license the Windows Phone OS.

The amount seems really high to me, although I admit I don't know much about the relationship between the list prices you see for phones and what the carriers actually end up paying the phone manufacturers per device. (Care to enlighten me on a background basis? E-mail sbekker@rcpmag.com or leave a comment below.)

In another interesting development on the pricing front, a report by Taiwan-based DigiTimes cited unnamed notebook vendor sources as saying that Microsoft's and Intel's combined fear of damaging PC pricing appears to be forcing Windows 8 tablets based on Intel chips into the $600-to-$900 price range.

According to the report, the pricing decisions may drive them to choose ARM solutions rather than the Intel platform to keep their Windows 8 tablet prices competitive with the market's dominant device, the Apple iPad. The iPad 2 retails from $500 to $830, but may come in less expensive options by the time any Windows 8 tablets ship due to pricing pressure from the $200 Amazon Kindle Fire.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM