Ballmer talks Windows Phone 7 prospects, Android's 'patent fee'

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a Wall Street Journal interview hopes Windows Phone 7 will hopefully capture the imagination of users. Ballmer also said "it's not like Android is free."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has kicked off a weeklong countdown to the launch of Windows Phone 7, noting that the mobile operating system and its tiles will hopefully capture the imagination of users. Ballmer also said "it's not like Android is free."

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Ballmer talked about units---without quantification---Microsoft's decision to work with multiple partners and a tile user interface. Windows Phone 7 lands Oct. 11.

Ballmer said:

Putting the activities that are most important in people's lives and the people that are most important in people's lives front-and-center through these hubs, I think we're going to capture hopefully the imagination of quite a good number of people.

Ballmer fielded a bevy of questions about Windows Phone 7 opportunities. The discussion was a bit notable given Microsoft on Friday sued Motorola over Android.

Android has a patent fee. It's not like Android's free. You do have to license patents. HTC's signed a license with us and you're going to see license fees clearly for Android as well as for Windows.

The timing of the Motorola lawsuit is an interesting sidebar to the Windows Phone 7 launch. Drop in a lawsuit fear on Android partners and then launch an alternative.

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