July 7, 2022

Tom Warren of The Verge has a captivating scoop: Microsoft is experimenting with a model of Home windows 8.1, bundled with numerous Microsoft companies, which it will name “Home windows 8.1 with Bing” and supply for little or no cash:

We’re advised that Microsoft is aiming to place Home windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost improve for Home windows 7 customers. Any improve affords will likely be centered on boosting the variety of folks utilizing Home windows 8.1. This Bing-powered model of Home windows 8.1 may be supplied to PC makers as a part of current license cuts for gadgets below $250. It’s not clear how dedicated Microsoft is to those plans, however the experiment is a part of various initiatives designed to push and monetize Microsoft’s cloud companies and apps. Microsoft is more and more betting on Bing as a platform it could actually monetize sooner or later. Microsoft can be contemplating low-cost or free variations of Home windows Cellphone, and the corporate is working in direction of merging its Home windows RT and Home windows Cellphone software program right into a single model designed for ARM-based chipsets.

It’s laborious to ponder this information with out pondering of the truth that web-centric laptops based mostly on Google’s Chromebook platform typically promote for about $200-$250, whereas it’s robust to search out a lot in the best way of Home windows notebooks for lower than round $300-$350. The license charge for Home windows accounts for a good chunk of that distinction; Chromebooks, in contrast, are as low cost as they’re partially as a result of Google doesn’t cost for Chrome OS. Which it could actually do due to all of the ad-subsidized Google companies Chromebook homeowners use.

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So a bargain-basement model of Home windows tied into Microsoft companies with a worth level of $250 or much less feels like a solution to Chromebooks. And much more than Microsoft’s “Scroogled” marketing campaign in opposition to Chromebooks, that implies that Microsoft is anxious about low cost Chromebooks chipping away at the marketplace for not-quite-as-cheap Home windows laptops.