In a bid to counter the threat from low-cost PC alternatives like Chromebooks and non-Apple tablets, Microsoft will reported slash the licensing cost of Windows by 70 percent. But the price cut will only apply to low-end Windows devices that cost less than $250.
News of the Windows licensing price cut comes courtesy of a reliable report in Bloomberg. The report notes that PC makers who sell Windows devices that cost less than $250 will now pay just $15 for Windows, compared to a more standard fee of about $50 for higher-priced PCs.
The move is designed to counter the threat from low-cost Android-based tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD, as well as so-called Chromebooks, laptop-like machines that run Google's limited browser-based ChromeOS system.
Beyond pricing, there reportedly are no special requirements to get this licensing deal. The Windows-based devices can be any size or form factor and do not have to include multi-touch screens. They will not be required to undergo Microsoft's logo certification process, either, so the hardware compatibility of the resulting devices will not be certified by Microsoft.
The price cut comes in the wake of news that Microsoft needed 16 months to sell over 200 million licenses to Windows 8, the controversial current version of Windows that has been poorly received by PC makers, businesses, and individuals. As I recently reported, this represents a significantly slower sales pace than Windows 7, which hit the 240 million licenses sold figure in just 12 months.
While there are various theories about the slowdown, the two most obvious causes are its poor customer reception due to its unnatural commingling of mobile and desktop environments and a recent spate of low-cost and simple small-screen tablets and Chromebooks, both of which sell for roughly $300.