Over the past few months, there has been a rapid growth in cheap-priced Windows 8 tablets. The reason? Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 with Bing. It is a full-fledged desktop and tablet class operating system for which Microsoft charges as low as “zero dollars” as the licensing fee. This makes it possible for manufacturers to reduce the retail price of their tablets, which is of critical importance in a market jam-packed with cheap Android tablets. Now a document, which was published on Microsoft’s OEM Partner Center site, has surfaced which offers more explanation of what “zero dollars” means.
Last year, Microsoft announced Windows 8.1 with Bing, a full-fledged version of Windows 8 with Bing set as the default search engine in Internet Explorer. On top of that, MSN is set as the homepage in the web browser. The company also announced that it will be offering the Windows 8.1 with Bing operating system to OEMs for devices with screen sizes 9-inch or smaller for free. As per the document, Microsoft still maintains a $10 official price tag for the Windows 8.1 with Bing, but it also provides a $10 “configuration discount,” essentially making the whole deal cost free.
It is not known what exactly does ‘configuration’ in “configuration discount” mean, but it is likely either Windows 8.1 with Bing or Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365. Since almost every OEM offers one year of free subscription to Office 365, it might be a part of the “configuration discount.”
The document also reveals that the company charges $25 as licensing fees for Windows 8.1 with Bing for tablets with screen size 10.1-inch or smaller, but after the $10 configuration discount, the OEM is required to pay essentially $15.
Another interesting detail revealed in the document was that all of these configurations are only available for Intel x86-powered tablets, with no mentioning of ARM devices. Seeing the tremendous growth in Windows 8.1-powered tablets, as well as several Windows-powered cheap-priced devices, Microsoft’s decision to make a variation of its operating system for free has definitely worked.Further reading: Bing, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 with Bing