Could Microsoft Eventually Offer Windows 8.1 For Free?

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to monetize your company’s products, especially when your product portfolio is as vast as Microsoft’s. To that end, Microsoft is reportedly experimenting with different ways to make money from its products and services that include offering its flagship operating system for free.

This would be a stark departure from the norm for Microsoft, which has always charged for OS licenses, whether the cost is boxed software or wrapped up in a PC purchase. Of course, nothing is really free, so the tradeoff would ostensibly be some sort of Bing-related incentivisation. ZDNet and The Verge both reported that a “Windows 8.1 with Bing” SKU of the upcoming Windows 8.1 update may be a harbinger of this sort of deal.

Windows 8.1 with Bing
Windows 8.1 with Bing (Credit: via ZDNet)

Windows 8.1 with Bing could be a free (or very deeply discounted) version of Windows 8.1 designed to tempt users to upgrade.

Microsoft is walking a fine line here. On the one hand, the company desperately needs to get more people plugged into the new Microsoft ecosystem of Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone, and offering serious value-adds such as access to OneDrive storage, Skype usage, and sure, a free OS, are good ways to do that. (Further, Windows RT ships with a free Office suite, which is the premiere feature of that platform in my opinion.)

Windows 8.1

On the other hand, Microsoft would be sacrificing revenue for market share. The company is facing competition on multiple fronts, including declining PC sales as more people scoop up tablets and inexpensive chromebooks, so it appears that the company is betting on market share to save the day.
Via:  ZDNet
KitCargile1 9 months ago

Hey wouldn't have to go to free.. 60-70 for pro/ultimate would be a perfect price IMO.

JimDoherty 9 months ago

Could they? Of course. Will they? No.

JaredWilliamson 9 months ago

Because we wouldn't find a way to disable all things Bing as soon as they released a freebie like this.

ECouts 9 months ago

I'll stick with Linux.

NickModrowski 9 months ago

I'd use bing if it got me free windows.

NickChristides 9 months ago

Than Vista Virtual Machine PC Costs you Cash?

CliffVincent 9 months ago

I dont know how anyone could trust a "free to play" operating system... lol

basroil 9 months ago

Guess you've never heard of SuSe and RedHat linux...

CCobeen 9 months ago

They're just worried about Linux.. Phones all over use it(Android, Tizen, FirefoxOS, etc), it's free on PC and far better. Steam finally jumped the Linux bandwagon, and people are moving over to Linux because of it. SteamOS is Linux based. Microsoft realizes that if they don't go free, they are gonna be fucked. I mean, why pay for viruses, when you can have a virus free OS...for free :)

I'll stick to my Android and Tizen (when it releases) for phones and Tablets, and Debian on my PC :)

basroil 9 months ago

Android and the bunch are NOT linux. They simply use the linux kernel as a base. Android is almost entirely Java for apps and apps can run just as well on WinNT kernel provided you port the virtual machine. And of those apps, something like a quarter of the apps had viruses!

RicoFrost 9 months ago

Linux users have been saying it will over run windows for over a decade, however Linux accounts for what 2-4% of the world market. Linux doesn't have as many viruses because why would write a virus for an OS that only accounts for 2-4% of the market.When you look at the Android os it's another story, android its so badly overrun by Malware I believe its at something like 80% of android devices are infected.

Even on the steam website linux is at 1.3% windows is at 95%, from those stats and many others it doesn't look like windows is going to "fucked".

NaveenChandrasekaran 9 months ago

my mobo dont even support 8.0 or even higher

TButtons 9 months ago

I still wouldn't use it if it were free.

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