With Microsoft's Nokia acquisition raising questions over the future of third-party Windows Phone devices, Redmond has its work cut out convincing OEMs to continue to license its struggling software — and a report from Bloomberg News suggests that the software giant may have gone to extremes. According to the report, Microsoft last month asked HTC to install Windows Phone as a "separate option" on Android handsets, and offered to "cut or eliminate" the license fee as an incentive.

Redmond reportedly offered to "cut or eliminate" license fee

The talks are said to be in the preliminary stages, and the exact mechanics haven't been worked out. The report says it's unclear whether a hypothetical phone would run Windows Phone and Android concurrently, or allow users to select a default. Another possibility would be for Microsoft to propose simply converting an existing Android handset to run the Windows Phone OS, similar to the way Nokia released the Lumia 800 based on its N9 design.

Microsoft appears to be sticking with its strategy of licensing software to other manufacturers, even though it will soon produce its own smartphones. Outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly visited China last week in an effort to court new third-party hardware partners; HTC, which just posted its first ever quarterly loss, is said to have no plans for future Windows Phone devices.