Microsoft said to slash Windows 8.1 price on low-cost devices

Microsoft is cutting the price of Windows 8.1 for devices under $250 in order to be more competitive with low-cost devices that run on rival operating systems.

Microsoft is said to be offering a 70 percent discount on Windows 8.1 for suppliers of low-cost devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, which starts at $229 at the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft is said to be offering a 70 percent discount on Windows 8.1 for suppliers of low-cost devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, which starts at $229 at the Microsoft Store. CNET

Microsoft will implement a 70 percent discount on the price of Windows 8.1 for inexpensive devices, according to a report from Bloomberg. This follows a similar report last year.

Device makers will be charged $15 "to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250, instead of the usual fee of $50," according to Bloomberg.

A similar report emerged from Asia last year. But that report cited size and device-type restrictions. That will no longer apply, however, said Bloomberg. (Other reports last year also cited discounts.)

Some observers see this as Microsoft rising to meet the challenge of Google Chrome-OS based Chromebooks, which typically range from less than $200 to about $300. Chromebooks have been a popular purchase at schools, for example.

The more inexpensive Android and Apple tablets have also been drawing customers away from more traditional PCs.

Bloomberg also cited the fact that Microsoft said earlier this month that it had sold 200 million licenses of Windows 8 since October of 2012, a rate of adoption slower than Windows 7.

And global PC shipments fell 10 percent last year -- a record -- according to IDC, though Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said this week that sales of traditional PCs to businesses are stabilizing.

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