Last week, we reported that Microsoft are cutting off the licensing prices of Windows 8 for devices retailing for less than $250.
Now, multiple sources report that the Redmond based Company will be releasing a free version of Windows 8.1.
This could be a move to attract users who cannot afford a premium upgrade and opt to switch to Linux Distros, and Android devices.
The reports suggest that an SKU version named “Windows 8.1 with Bing” is proof that the OS will be released for free. And as the name suggests, the OS will have Bing SmartSearch by default, which will be the source of Microsoft’s Monetization. Microsoft are also planning to offer Windows 7 users a free or low cost upgrade to Windows 8.1 with Bing.
A leaked version of the freeware OS has appeared online, which does not have any significant changes compared to other versions of Windows 8, apart from the fact that it has Bing-powered apps pre-installed.
Microsoft have been offering users a lot of incentives including free storage on OneDrive, Bing Rewards to attract more people to use their software and services.
So, the idea of a free ad-supported version of Windows doesn’t seem crazy, though we are not sure if it would be well received. But with the end of support for XP approaching fast, and the majority of the users refusing to budge, a free version of Windows 8.1 could well prove a smart way to help the users adopt the latest offering from the Company.
Microsoft will continue to sell normal copies of Windows, especially major versions such as Windows 9.
Speculations aside, we will have to wait for the BUILD Developer Conference, where Microsoft will unveil the Windows 8.1 Update 1, and hopefully the free version of Windows as well.
ZDNet, The Verge, and Softpedia