Microsoft is reportedly courting HTC with a range of incentives to use its Windows Phone platform, including the possibility of dual-booting smartphones, in a bid to beef up its market share and challenge Android and iOS.

Bloomberg reports that, in addition to discussing “cutting or eliminating the license fee” required to use Windows Phone, Microsoft is willing to let HTC add Windows Phone as a secondary operating system on its Android-based smartphones. It’s not clear whether that would create dual-boot devices, or if Microsoft would require Windows Phone to override Android on existing models.

Talks are said to be “preliminary,” with operating systems head Terry Myerson planning a visit to Taiwan to discuss the proposal in more detail. In addition, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer visited China last week in a bid to secure licensing deals with new partners, as the company looks to avoid a situation in which Nokia — which Microsoft is in the process of acquiring — is the sole Windows Phone partner.

As a company that has produced both Windows Phone and Android devices, it seems logical that HTC would be a target that Microsoft is aggressively pursuing — particularly in light of HTC recording its first-ever quarterly loss. Struggling to win market share, a Windows Phone-Android device could provide some differentiation on the competition — but it’s unclear if it would appeal to consumers.

Windows Phone’s share of the smartphone market is said to be close to 10 percent in a number of European markets, but that figure is as low as 3 percent in the US.

Headline image via AFP/Getty Images