Technologizer

If the Price of Windows Plunges, Blame Chromebooks

A free version of Windows, subsidized by services? Sounds like Chrome OS.

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Tom Warren of The Verge has a fascinating scoop: Microsoft is experimenting with a version of Windows 8.1, bundled with various Microsoft services, which it would call “Windows 8.1 with Bing” and offer for little or no money:

We’re told that Microsoft is aiming to position Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. Any upgrade offers will be focused on boosting the number of people using Windows 8.1. This Bing-powered version of Windows 8.1 may also be offered to PC makers as part of recent license cuts for devices under $250. It’s not clear how committed Microsoft is to these plans, but the experiment is part of a number of initiatives designed to push and monetize Microsoft’s cloud services and apps. Microsoft is increasingly betting on Bing as a platform it can monetize in the future. Microsoft is also considering low-cost or free versions of Windows Phone, and the company is working towards merging its Windows RT and Windows Phone software into a single version designed for ARM-based chipsets.

It’s hard to ponder this news without thinking of the fact that web-centric laptops based on Google’s Chromebook platform often sell for about $200-$250, while it’s tough to find much in the way of Windows notebooks for less than around $300-$350. The license fee for Windows accounts for a fair chunk of that difference; Chromebooks, by contrast, are as cheap as they are in part because Google doesn’t charge for Chrome OS. Which it can do because of all the ad-subsidized Google services Chromebook owners use.

So a bargain-basement version of Windows tied into Microsoft services with a price point of $250 or less sounds like an answer to Chromebooks. And even more than Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign against Chromebooks, that suggests that Microsoft is concerned about cheap Chromebooks chipping away at the market for not-quite-as-cheap Windows laptops.

12 comments
T.E.D.
T.E.D.

I'd rather pay 300/350 for a windows laptop than 250 for a Chromebook if it only where for the extra features it offers. Ive got tons of games and programs that run on Windows, but wont work on Chrome OS.


Where a Chromebook is a glorified typing machine, a Windows laptop is a full working PC. I wouldn't want a Chromebook if they where for free!

DayrlGiles
DayrlGiles

I would not use Windows 8 w/ Bing. Google is the best search engine and Microsoft should just get over it and try to make a service which people like rather than their forcing their garbage down our throats by getting our employer to buy their garbage. Any IT manager who is locked-in to MS products should be fired.

vbetts
vbetts

Microsoft is about the only company that has always wanted a premium for their code. I understand server software, but your basic desktop OS shouldn't cost as much as $100 for an upgrade license. 

MacFrite
MacFrite

Microsoft refused to validate my Windows 8.0 (everything was legal) ..their so called "customer support" wanted $250.00 to "fix it". I won't be buying anymore of their products, at any price

FioKron
FioKron

Windows 8 does not look great, but Windows 7 and XP are good for doing a lot of stuff.

IanRay
IanRay

The only bad part of this is the Bing part. Otherwise, great idea.

arthdenton
arthdenton

I wouldn't get Windows WITH BING if they paid me if Bing was the mandatory search engine.

ScoobySnacks
ScoobySnacks

Windows 8 is a downgrade from 7, not an upgrade.

JohnnyWalker-Martin
JohnnyWalker-Martin

The Scroogled campaign is hilarious. Watch as Microsoft complains about how Google is monetizing and profiting off users. Something I'm sure Microsoft wishes it remembered how to do. #sourgrapes

MikeMaxwell
MikeMaxwell

I run Windows 7, and I'd pay to stay away from Windows 8.

fafoxy11772
fafoxy11772

@arthdenton  I agree.  I'm using Windows XP on 3 of my 5 pc's and I like that flavor of Windows the best.  I've tried later versions of Windows and didn't like them at all.