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According to DigiTimes, Microsoft has doubled the minimum requirement for smartphone manufacturers from 50,000 to 100,000 units. With Mitac promising ten Smartphone 2003-based devices next year, we face the possibility of an abundance - perhaps an over-abundance - of phones in 2004.

The requirement applies to contract manufacturers such as HTC, which produced the Orange SPV Smartphones, rather than OEMs such as Motorola. To date the problem hasn't been shifting units into the channel, but ensuring that once the phones are sold, they stay sold.

DigiTimes also quotes an unnamed source who estimates that the Microsoft licensing fee is between $8.40 and $14.40 on a smartphone that costs the manufacturer $120. That's considerably higher than we've been led to expect. At its launch in 1998, Symbian promised to offer its smartphone licensees the OS at $5 per unit, and indications are that it's stuck to it. Making a like for like comparison is difficult, as licensees typically opt for the OS plus additional layers, as in Nokia's Symbian-based Series 60, and UIQ. But it does suggest that Microsoft isn't undercutting its main rival, although it can easily afford to. ®

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