Understanding Windows 8.1 with Bing licensing prices

Windows 8.1 with Bing

Helping PC manufacturers to cut cost on small tablets, Microsoft, not too long ago, introduced a new SKU of its operating system called “Windows 8.1 with Bing”. This is the free version of Windows for small form factor tablets, but as it turns out it’s also free when manufacturers provide a free year trial of Office 365 Personal, which makes it a really good value for consumers.

Although, the version of Windows 8.1 with Bing is ultimately free, there are some hidden costs and some discounts that makes it all work at the end. To have a better understanding, at the new Thurrott’s website there is a screenshot that describes how manufacturers pay for this SKU of Windows 8.1 bundled with Microsoft’s search engine.

Windows 8.1 with Bing pricing

  • Windows 8.1 with Bing on 9-inch or smaller tablet screen sizes: The price per license is free after $10 “configuration discount” to cover the $10 royalty fee.
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing on 10.1-inch tablets: The price per license is free after $15 “configuration discount” to cover the $15 royalty fee.
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365 Personal on 9-inch or smaller tablet screen sizes: The price per license is free after $10 “configuration discount” to cover the $10 royalty fee.
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365 Personal on 10.1-inch tablets:  The price per license is $15 after $10 “configuration discount” to cover the $25 royalty fee.

It’s worth noting that this pricing only applies for devices running Intel x86 processors, they have to be tablet form factors, and Windows 8.1 must have Bing as the default search engine and MSN as the default homepage in Internet Explorer. However, after the customer purchases the product, they can change these settings to any search engine and homepage.

It’s interesting to see that the configuration discount appears for both, Windows 8.1 with Bing and the bundle with Office 365 Personal. And if you notice, in both cases the final price of Office is free for small devices, so it’s not surprising to see manufacturers giving away subscriptions to Office 365 Personal on small tablets. But, of course, this must just be a Microsoft strategy to expand Office 365 to more customers.