Windows 8.1, which, over the last year or so, has had a hard time capturing and maintaining the interest of PC users. Now Microsoft appears to be getting ready to make make us an offer they believe we can't refuse: a free upgrade. The Software giant appears to be working on a version of Windows 8.1, currently starting at $119.99, that costs little or nothing to install.
Naturally there's a catch. This particular version of Windows, allegedly called "Windows 8.1 With Bing," will be deeper seeded into Microsoft services than the Surface tablets. The details aren't quite clear yet, but the general idea is supposed to be something like Amazon's Kindles With Special Offers, which display ads on the device's screensaver and sometimes at the bottom of the screen.
Does that mean a Windows 8.1 With Bing machine would display Bing ads on the Start screen? Or maybe the OS won't let you change the default search engine in Internet Explorer? Those are the questions still pending. It will be an interestingly delicate balance for Microsoft to guide users toward its services while providing the degree of user-driven customization that's generally expected with a PC.
That could be why the company is treating the software as an experiment. Microsoft has tried this strategy before, providing Windows XP and 7 "Starter" editions; versions sold to PC manufacturers at a much lower licensing fee than full Windows. The starter editions had an extremely dumbed down set of features from Windows Prime, lacking even the ability to change the desktop background.
For more information regarding Microsoft's "Race To The Bottom" Please see this video, recently done by The Frugal Tech.
Are you a Windows 8.1 holdout? Would a no-cost version finally persuade you to take the plunge? I can't speak directly for the rest of the individuals on the Braehawk Tech crew, but for myself, I'm going to have to go with no.