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Windows Mobile licensing fees to remain intact

With mobile operating systems from Google and Nokia available free to handset makers, one would expect software maker Microsoft to respond with price cuts.

Microsoft plans to continue charging handset makers licensing fees for use of its Windows Mobile operating system, not responding to the free offerings of Google and Nokia, Reuters reports.

Microsoft charges $8 to $15 per phone, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, which sounds shockingly high for a mobile operating system that's less than stellar, especially when a handset maker could incorporate the decent (but not great) operating system from Google, Android, for free.

While there is no current economic reason for Microsoft to make Windows Mobile free, it seems like an odd choice when mobile competitors Research In Motion, Apple, Nokia, and now Google have a far better shot at attaining market ubiquity than Windows Mobile does.

As we've seen with Mac OS and Linux on the desktop, fighting a monopoly is very tough. Microsoft dropped Xbox prices to gain game console market share and saw huge growth. You could easily make the argument that mobile phones are a more important market. As such, it's surprising that the company wouldn't try to annex handsets the way it has desktops.