Microsoft Slashing Windows 8.1 Price for Low-Cost Devices: Report
With Chromebooks in the crosshairs, the software giant is knocking 70 percent off the price of Windows 8.1 for OEMs that produce inexpensive Windows devices.Last year, Microsoft took aim at Chromebooks with ads that featured personalities from the reality TV show Pawn Stars. Now the software giant is reportedly taking more drastic action by incentivizing OEMs. Bloomberg revealed on Feb. 22 that Microsoft is planning on massive price cuts to spur adoption of low-cost Windows 8.1 devices. "Microsoft Corp. is cutting the price of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent for makers of low-cost computers and tablets as they try to fend off cheaper rivals like Google Inc.'s Chromebooks, people familiar with the program said," stated Tim Culpan and Dina Bass in their report. Instead of paying the usual $50, OEMs will be charged $15 for Windows 8.1 licenses that ship on devices that retail for less than $250. "The discount will apply to any products that meet the price limit, with no restrictions on the size or type of device," according to Bloomberg's confidential sources. Chromebooks are thin-client-like devices that are based on Google's Chrome OS. Designed to boot quickly and hook into Google's cloud-based app ecosystem, Chromebooks offer an affordable alternative to full-blown Windows and Mac notebooks. While comparatively low-spec, adoption is on the rise.
Chromebook sales surged last year, according to market research firm NDP. Through November 2013, Chromebooks sales rose from practically nothing the year before to 21 percent of the commercial notebook market.