In a bid to persuade customers to upgrade to latest versions, Microsoft is planning to announce a free version of the Windows 8.1 operating system. According to a report in The Verge, a new version called ‘Windows 8.1 with Bing’ could be given away at a developers’ conference in April. This version will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. Early versions of the software have already been leaked online and it looks like ‘Windows 8.1 with Bing’ is an experimental project that will bring a low-cost version of Windows to consumers.
The report also suggests that Microsoft is aiming to position Bing-powered version of Windows 8.1 as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. This version may also be offered to PC makers as a part of recent license cuts. It is not completely clear on how committed Microsoft is regarding these plans but the experimental project is a part of its number of initiatives to push its cloud services and apps. Microsoft is largely betting on Bing as a platform, it can monetize in future. It is also considering low-cost or free versions for Windows Phones. Further, the company is mulling towards merging its Windows RT and Windows Phone software into a single version. Major changes have already been made to Windows 8 in order to make it more appealing to customers. It aims to make the new system easier for touchscreen users and give same experience across PCs, phones and tablets.
Bing-powered apps are currently bundled into Windows 8.1 and the leaked version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing" does not appear to reveal any significant changes. Recently, Microsoft launched its Windows 8.1 spring update and the company is expected to make a detailed update at its Build developer conference in April.
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Source: The Verge