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Windows 8.1 free edition could be in the works

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Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 - soon to be free?

Microsoft could be considering the launch of a free version of Windows 8.1, according to reports.

Following its downward price trend of recent times, Microsoft could be set to launch an extremely low-cost or even completely free version of Windows 8.1.

That’s the claim that has been made, first by ZDNet and then by The Verge. Both reckon that Microsoft is in the process of trialling something called Windows 8.1 with Bing, the early versions of which appear to have leaked online with no great discernible changes.

This new version would come bundled with key Microsoft apps and services, and it's being suggested that it would stand as a way to encourage reluctant Windows 7 users to upgrade for free (or at least for a very low cost).

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Windows 10

Microsoft might even offer this version of Windows to PC manufacturers for a knock-down license fee, as part of measures to head off Google’s Chrome OS at the low-end of the PC market.

It’s not known just yet exactly how Microsoft plans to monetise this free OS with Bing, as the company’s search engine already powers a number of free services within the Windows 8 OS.

Both sources are at pains to stress that this is just an experiment on Microsoft’s part, and Windows 8.1 with Bing may never see light as a commercial product. Still, it’s interesting to learn that the company is looking to radically shake up Windows’s monetisation model, just as it did with its interface.

danielfrisbee

February 28, 2014, 6:25 pm

That would seem to make sense as a business. I only paid for windows once in 20 years and it felt quite incorrect somehow, if they can cream cash in other ways and with the ubiquity of computing these days operating systems should be as easily available as possible.

ElectricSheep

February 28, 2014, 7:01 pm

Even free is too much of a price for me for W8. I'll stick with 7 for now. But this does make good business sense.

Falcomomo

March 2, 2014, 9:27 am

If they could just make one that doesn't suck, that'd be great.

In fact, they could even just start selling Windows 7 again and I'd be more happy

torjs99

March 2, 2014, 8:00 pm

still too expensive

chaosdefinesorder

March 3, 2014, 10:52 am

Isn't the practise of "bundl[ing] key Microsoft apps and services" what got them in hot water with the EU competition committee recently?

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