Recently we heard the rumor of Microsoft considering to release a free version of Windows 8, which apparently will be called “Windows 8.1 with Bing”. But since then it’s unclear how the software giant is planning, if ever released, to make the new SKU available to customers.
Today, with the latest leak of Windows 8.1 Update 1, we have a much better understanding of what’s going on. A leaked documentation details that Windows 8.1 with Bing won’t be a free version of Windows that customers will be able to download and install on new PC, instead is a edition of Windows that manufactures will be able to pre-install in low-cost devices.
This new edition will use Bing as the default search engine, Bing apps, and OneDrive in the operating system, and PC makers will not be able to change the predefined settings. A move from Microsoft that clearly shows that the company will try to boost Bing market share while expand PC sales. However these presets won’t affect users and they can change the default settings to anything they want. And it will be available in 32- and 64-bit versions.
Basically Windows 8.1 with Bing won’t be a free. This information only further confirms previous rumors of Microsoft lowering the price of Windows 8 licensing to allow manufactures to build cheaper devices, under $250, using the OS and compete with Chromebook’s low-cost devices.
Here is part of the leaked documentation:
Windows 8.1 with Bing
Windows 8.1 with Bing is a new Windows edition that helps OEMs add Windows to low-cost devices while driving end user usage of Microsoft Services such as Bing and OneDrive. Windows 8.1 with Bing is similar to other editions of Windows and should be imaged, updated, and deployed the same as any other Windows edition.
Windows 8.1 with Bing helps OEMs add Windows to low-cost devices while driving end user usage of Microsoft Services such as Bing and OneDrive.
This edition of Windows sets Bing as the default search engine within Internet Explorer. Users will be able to manually change default search settings and install additional browsers of their choice.
Windows 8.1 with Bing is based on the feature set available in Windows 8.1 Core and incudes all of the latest updates, including Windows 8.1 Update. Windows 8.1 with Bing is available for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.
What’s new for OEMs?
Windows 8.1 with Bing is similar to other editions of Windows and should be imaged, updated, and deployed the same as any other Windows edition. However, OEMs will not be able to change the default search engine with the SearchScopes unattend setting, Registry key, or 3rd party installation tools. When a user starts Internet Explorer, Bing is automatically set to the default Search Engine and will override any OEM-configured search provider. No other Internet Explorer defaults are changed.
Imaging & deployment testing
Customize and deploy Windows 8.1 with Bing just as you would any other Windows image. Add your unattend settings, apps, drives, and other items to your image. Deploy the image to a reference PC and validate that your apps and services function as expected.