Microsoft to drop price of Windows 8 licenses 70%


In a bid to stave off competition in the low-end tablet and notebook market, Microsoft will be reducing what it charges device manufacturers for its Windows 8.1 licenses, according to a Friday Bloomberg report that references anonymous sources. For devices that retail for less than $250, the cost of a Windows 8.1 install will drop from $50 to $15, with no restrictions on the type or size of the hardware, Bloomberg reports.

It’s a move that could inspire manufacturers to make super-low-end Windows tablets, but might have even greater impact in the notebook space, where manufacturers are moving toward sub-$250 Chromebooks running Google’s free Chrome OS. Take, for example, Samsung’s

Chromebook 3, which retails for $230. If that machine were running Windows, a huge chunk of its build-out costs would be going to Microsoft—and the notebook probably wouldn’t cost price-conscious consumers just $230.

Notebooks like the $230 Samsung Chrome book 3 are putting pressure on Microsoft at the low-end of the PC market.

Windows 8 is selling poorly relative to Windows 7, with some 200 million licenses sold since Windows 8 was released in October 2012. For comparison’s sake, Windows 7 sold 240 million licenses within its first year.

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