Word out of paidContent.org (via jkOntheRun) is that Google not only gives Android away for free but is cutting deals with carriers and vendors to share a piece of the advertising pie.Very generous but, man, MeeGo and Windows Phone 7 Series are screwed.
Sure, RIM, Palm and Apple are going to have to deal with this too, but as long as their handsets are in demand, wireless providers will carry them (Palm, you need to step things up). More importantly, they don’t license their OS out to device makers or license someone else’s OS for their own devices. They’re not fighting the same battle as MeeGo and Windows Mobile.
For hardware makers like HTC and Motorola shopping for an OS, the current options are Android, MeeGo and Windows Mobile. MeeGo is free. Windows Mobile and eventually Windows Phone carry a licensing fee. Android is free AND could earn you a piece of Google’s advertising revenue. So the options are free, pay or get paid. Not hard to do the math on that.
Windows Mobile/Phone suffers the most in that comparison. Nokia backs MeeGo, so no worries about handset support there. But it’s going to be tough for hardware makers to justify paying Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 Series instead of getting paid to run Android. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft shifts their strategy to deal with this.
Not a lot of ad revenue at this point of course, but betting against Google making money on search advertising is like betting on McDonald’s to not sell any hamburgers.