Microsoft is exploring whether to release a free version of Windows to increase the number of computers using the latest operating system. Currently the company seems to be testing a new version of the OS called “Windows 8.1 with Bing”, which will include Microsoft’s key modern apps and services. We’ve seen already a leaked version of the software, however Windows 8.1 with Bing at this time is only a test project.
According to a new report from The Verge, Microsoft is planning “Windows 8.1 with Bing” to be a free or low-cost version of the operating system to encourage users to upgrade from Windows 7. (If this turns out to be true, Microsoft should also consider to include Windows XP and Vista users.)
How Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 with Bing is yet to be seen, as Windows 8.1 already ships with all the company’s key apps and services: Office (for Windows RT), OneDrive, SkyDrive, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Bing apps. However, it could be possible that this can be a lock-down version of the OS. For example, the Bing-powered version of Windows could have more ads, even in apps, like you already see on the free version of Xbox Music and Xbox Video. The company could remove settings to disable Bing from the operating system, and reduce the number of features.
Current leaked version of Windows 8.1 with Bing doesn’t show any major changes, but be sure to expect them, as it is unlikely the company will make the full-blown version of Windows free. Perhaps the company will unveil more details in the next Build conference in April.
There is no doubt that Microsoft is really feeling the pressure from Google, who offers Chrome and Android software for free and making a big dent in the mobile market. So now the company is being forced to think outside of the box and find new ways to monetize its software and cloud services. Furthermore the software maker might also lower price or even make Windows Phone software free in order to boost mobile phone sales.
It’s also worth recalling that recent reports also suggested that the company is planning to cut Windows licensing prices by 70 percent for PC makers to preinstall the full version of Windows 8.1 on devices under $250. Although, this rumor was earlier confirmed, the company has to officially reveal how much will each copy of Windows 8.1 will cost.
Source ZDNet | Featured image courtesy of WZor