Microsoft announces Windows 8.1 with Bing for lower cost devices

Microsoft announces Windows 8.1 with Bing for lower cost devices

In helping hardware partners build lower-cost devices and continuing to make even more devices available to consumers, Microsoft has announced a new edition of Windows dubbed Windows 8.1 with Bing. This new software will offer everything that Windows 8.1 does, and will also come with Bing as the default search engine within Internet Explorer (it can also be changed by the customer, if they wish).

Windows 8.1 with Bing will only be available preloaded on new PCs and tablets — many of which will also include Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365. You won't be able to buy the software separately, but OEMs will have access to help in making lower cost devices available. This will allow many more people to have access to Windows 8.1 devices at a much more affordable price, or as Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc explains:

"The end result is that more people—across consumer and commercial—will have access to an even broader selection of new devices with all the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 provides, and get Office too, all at a really affordable price. Additionally, as reach expands, the opportunity for developers and their apps also increases."

Windows 8.1 with Bing is set to debut at Computex in Taipei in just a few weeks.

Source: Windows Experience Blog


Reader comments

Microsoft announces Windows 8.1 with Bing for lower cost devices


@Bnlf it has everything to do? Geez, does no one cares about the tech they use everyday?

One major question is, is this ARM or x86? Because that changes everything.

I also didn't notice a Desktop tile. Is this strictly Metro? That's the biggest question. Very interesting if they now have an OS option that is "windowless".

It says it has all features of 8.1 so this might be a lower point 8.1 but above the RT.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

I learned that it is full windows 8.1 with compressed system files... Meaning low storage space required, and will feel fast, but might not take heavy load

There will be none soon, why do you think ms got people to pre order the pro 3 before annouincing that the new surface standard will also run full windows 8.. thats why!

I'm with you. Especially when it comes to free (ad supported) SW. No thanks, I'll pay for it. We're living in a WalMart culture.

It doesn't clearly suggest that this version will be loaded with ads. So I am still struggling to understand difference between this and RT and full blown Windows 8.1

2 corrections:

1. "Windows 8.1 with Bing will only be available preloaded on new PCs and tablets — many of which will also include Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365" You missed the OR in that sentence. A new device with Windows 8.1 with Bing could come with a free copy Microsoft Office.

2. Windows 8.1 does come with what you call "forever office" on certain tablets already. Office was included with my Dell Venue 8 Pro and it is on other sub 9 inch Windows 8.x tablets. Windows RT isn't the only Windows OS that comes with Microsoft Office for free.

I have the DV8P, never even downloaded office onto it - takes up too much hard drive space, and on a tablet this size, if i need office, i use the online version

Free Office on non-RT tablets is something the OEM has organise for you, and usually worked into the price of the device.

RT would make perfect sense at the bottom end of the market, basic browsing and consumeables with no need for antivirus and the like freeing up low spec performance, plus the additional penetration should help to build a much better app store which is currently a desert.

Makes a whole lot of sense if it was RT.

They already made it free on devices less than like 10 inches so I guess this just makes it free for all oems

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Forgot about that, made me wonder what benefit this would bring.

After thinking about it, it looks like this will be for low cost 10"+ tablets and laptop/desktops. More than likely to combat Chrome OS.

Maybe you're forgetting that the ultimate goal is to get technology into everyone's hand at all income levels. This 'race to the bottom', as I'm seeing it put, is to address emerging and low income targets that Apple is ignoring. I personally hate the high price standard image Apple is marketing. Namely if you're not dropping $X on a piece of tech its not worth it. Economic elitism doesn't belong in a race to expand ones user base and Microsoft seems to understand this.

This is a corporation, not a non-profit. The ultimate goal os to make money. Where exactly are they going to make money? Maybe they are hoping to bring up bing market share so they can make more from ad revenue.

Absoulutley and MS must combat the far deadlier enemy in google, to continue on the current path is to cede the current domination to a new generation of cheap crap android/chrome owners with MS relegated to also rans within a decade.

That and if they clearly state Bing is on by default as well as IE, the European Union can't come after them for IE like they did.

But users will be able to change it, if they decided to; I guess that OEMs will have to ship it with Bing.

the EU ruling only pertains to WMP and to the browser ballot box. it does not include other MSFT products and it most certainly doesn't include services pre-installed and other apps pre-installed.

the EU stopped pursuing this tactic as google is now their #1 target as MSFT is basically harmless at this point not due to any regulation but due to their own bad decisions.

this is why MSFT is free to bundle the windows store and some other windows 8 apps and the EU doesn't have an issue as long as they comply with the WMP and IE ballot rulling. Not because it makes any difference at this point but because that was the agreement and MSFT violating it = cash for the EU.

There is zero interest in the EU to expand the anti-trust probe of MSFT when apple and google are both richer and do far more "evil" things.

So the difference between this and 8.1 core is that this comes with office and this cannot be purchased retail?

I wonder the same thing... Idk how it's going to make anything more affordable either.. I am guessing there is more information that we have to wait for for until later..

Maybe it doesn't have to be licensed. The insinuation is that it will be driven by Bing, therefore making them revenue.

So basically.. Ad revenue like google.. Right?
Nvm. Daniel, below, said it is more of an OEM thing than for consumers. Probably isn't what I mentioned first.

With standard full Windows the OEM can do almost whatever they want to the installation image, including installing other browsers and setting them as default. In this one they can't, but the user still can.

Yeah. Wait. MSN is the home page but the article says Bing will be the default search engine, not home page. How's that different from current or even past versions?

It's more a packaging of MS services, but MS isn't being too clear. For all intents and purposes, it looks the same. It's more an OEM thing than for consumers.

Yeah, it mainly stops OEMs from changing the defaults, without removing the option for the user. Otherwise most OEMs load Chrome or Firefox and IE and Bing don't even get noticed.

So is this normal win or RT? I don't see any features that are different from the current experiences?

I don't completely understand the point of this version.  If they can do this and it is a full version of Windows 8, then why continue the RT line of Windows?  If this is to help push Windows to available lower cost markets, it would appear they are shooting themselves in the foot by undercutting RT.

I have a feeling Microsoft has something up it's sleeve with Windows RT.

Right now RT is kind of a joke, especially with the absolute lack of OEM support besides Microsoft's one product right now, Surface 2. The only separate OEM device i can think of, at least in the US, was Asus's, released along side the Surface RT. With rumours of the cancellation of the intro of the Surface Mini I thought they might have finally given up on RT. Now it's thought to just be delayed.

With long running rumours of it being combined with Windows Phone, though. we hopefully will be seeing some interesting things down the road, probably not until Windows 9 is released, in 2015. Making RT an actual value added OS instead of a 'crippled' one (no desktop applications).


That's what I'm thinking.  Windows phone and RT will be combined to be the new mobile version of the OS, which they should've done in the first place.

oh i thought this had full Office which was my indicator of it.  its just one year subs of office 365

That's not what it says at all. It's simply stating that many PCs and tablets currently, and in the future, come with some Office subscription OR license. It's not a requirement or standard yet, possibly because they want Office for Windows 8 (Modern UI) to be the standard, and not Office for Desktop.

i don't think so... this is just an option MSFT is giving other OEMs for them to be able to get to lower price points.

I don't think you (almost) finish a product, and then say "heck, we should've built this device around an entirely different processor with a completely different architecture and different requirements."

This is basically Microsoft telling manufacturers that if they want a cheaper Windows, they have to stop preloading all their crap in Windows. This is a win for consumers.

i think you are right. MSFT lowers the licensing cost, becuase they know exactly what is preinstalled...

It might lower the price of said mini to sell like hotcakes, but Surface seems positioned as a premium only brand thus far

Or not; MS is still building the hardware so software probably doesn't drive up the price in-house; oh well, one can only hope for a cheaper surface device

No excuse now for anyone to choose a chrome(crap)book, full OS for comparable price should be a no-brainer.

Assuming that OEMs will pass the savings to consumers....
Not to mention that you cannot install this OS, free, on your old desktop running XP that is getting dust in the closet.

You cannot do that with on 97% of android without voiding the warranty and a computer, so whatever.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

So this is just tablets with a guarantee of office? A lot of the small 8 inch tablets already include office or office 365. 

I have never seen a manufacturer put a different search engine on IE.  I have seen Lenovo add Maxthon to some of its computer lineup though. 

I often set up new computers for family and friends (they buy them and I remove the OEM rubbish). I quite often see Chrome or Firefox installed as default.

Hopefully Office for Windows 8 will fix this whole Office with Windows confusion. When I bought my ASUS VivoBook, I was given a retail package of Office 365, and my Dell Venue 8 Pro came with an Office 2013 license.

They should do what Apple does, and give you a license with the first new Windows product you purchase, so your Microsoft account is eligible for Office for Windows 8. I like Office 365, but I think it's weird to have people buy a product and then force a subscription upon them.

Sounds odd - and this is going to make all the bloggers say "this adds to the windows 8 confusion,,,"

A redundant package imo, since it appears to be just w8.1 with MS services packaged in as standard. They already have windows 8.1 and 8.1 pro to either of which the consumer or OEMs can install the ms services I.e office 365 if they wish to do so. MS should have just simply offered their services package as an optional and discounted / free add-on to OEMs instead of releasing this obscure and head scratching version called "windows 8.1 with Bing".

I think this is more a EU specific case, where MS is obliged by law to offer a choice to consumers whether they want or not IE (and Bing) to be installed as theirs default browser. With Windows with Bing, I think they won't have to do so, because they can buy  Windows without Bing. It's a clever strategy because OEMs will, most likely, sell Windows w/ Bing because it'll be cheaper.

That's what everyone thought when it was first mentioned, but now it seems users can still change the default anyway. So it's more a restriction for the OEM.

I'm just not sure if this is to make Windows more widely available on cheap devices or to try and push Bing. Maybe both. Though I think, if it's for the later, it will fail as people will do what people outside the US to: replace Bing with Google.

I couldn't find the price of NVIDIA's Tegra 3, but at $32 the Intel Atom Z3740D is a pretty x86 inexpensive CPU. I don't think ARM has a place in the tablet market with Silvermont's bright future.

many of which will also include Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365. You won't be able to buy the software separately, but OEMs will have access to help in making lower cost devices available.

Software needs to be changed in this line... it should say you won't be able to buy the OS separately... they way it is written now makes it almost sound like you won't be able to buy office separately...


"Windows 8.1 with Bing will only be available preloaded on new PCs and tablets — many of which will also include Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365."

Not really, as the seperation acts like:
"Windows 8.1 with Bing will only be available preloaded on new PCs and tablets (many of which will also include Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365)."

Just me speculating that this might be that the OS is locked to 8.1 and will not be upgradable to Pro.
Also the EU circumvention seems legit

This will replace WinRT I'm sure.  RT has been a flop which was always going to be the case.   When the Surface came out I was interested but and this is a big 'but'.... it's expensive.  For £112 I bought a Windows 7 tablet on eBay and simply installed Win 8.   It's an Acer Iconia W510 which has a keyboard dock and thus has become my main laptop with the added benefits of a tablet.   

If this new OS does replace RT and I can get a £200-250 full Win8.1 experience on a quality tablet such as the Nexus then I'm sold.

It's strange how no one likes Windows RT, when they can't stop complainining about the desktop! I think the issue with RT was the horrible Tegra 3 it debuted on, because the Tegra 4 is actually more powerful than Bay Trail-T. If you're not going to use desktop applications, and you're not missing Java, I don't think WinRT is that bad, but with the current state of the Desktop on tablets, I think you kinda feel the need to have an Intel processor and not ARM. If they moved more programs and services to the Modern UI, WindowsRT would be more attractive.

I still want it dead, because.. How much more awesome is full Windows? Right?!

it has bing as the default search engine and OEMs cannot change it. basically everything else is the same. they can install other crapware as long as it doesn't set google or anything else as the default.


Maybe I've never noticed the search engine, but I don't recall using ANYTHING else than Bing as default on an OEM device. My new DV8P uses Google, and I never installed Google as a search engine, so I guess you could be right, but it could be cloud syncing magic :D I guess Windows 8.1 with Bing could provoke people to use it.

google routinely pays OEMs to do this. bundle chrome. heck, I've even seen them with the dead google desktop search product.

I still do not understand this third windows 8 OS thing.It feels/sounds messy in the grand scheme of things. So now they do want a part of the low cost market and figure out this non-configurable bing feature, yet when it comes to the surface pro, the prices of all the models are off the charts??! Confusing.

My tablet totally turned me off of Windows 8.1. What a piece of crap. Asus, supposed to be a good tablet. It got great reviews, so I don't know if it's just the tablet or Windows 8.1. At this point I really don't care, I'm just fed up. On the other hand I enjoyed windows phone 8, and am looking forward to trying 8.1 someday. In the mean time I switched back to android and I forgot how far ahead android really is. But windows phone has come along way so cudos to Windows phone.

What about reducing windows and office size? My asus t100 with 32gb had barely 10gb free. Either microsoft needs to reduce size or require 64gb as minimum size.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

the windows 8.1 OEM images are much smaller than the 8.0. They know this and are addressing it. However you assume windows itself takes 22GB in your example which is totally not the case. part of the problem is the recovery partition since OEMs don't want to ship you DVDs any more due to the fact a lot of computers don' thave one.

I get about 16GB with Office after removing my recovery partition. It's not too bad, and a lot cheaper to purchase a microSDHC Class 10 card than paying $100 for 20-25GB more space.

Will it require a license? Will it be possible to free up the restore space, and then later downloading Windows 8.1 with Bing for your device?

I like this prospect! I have been waiting for an e-reader with all the benefits of my Xbox live subscriptions on them! I was waiting for a nook color minus the android app store, guess this will suffice!

Btw, you guys are making a huge deal about office, you do a lot of sparkline analysis on your surface pro or venue 8 pros currently? I get your passion about the productivity suites, but come on...lets get real!

Not everyone has to do charting to make office productive. I'm spending a few days away from the office and with my wedge keyboard and my venue 8 pro, I am able to stay on top of things and with Word and Excel, I've been able to request some quotes while I've been out too. There are many real life scenarios that make having Office a bonus.

Not a replacement, but a perfectly functional alternative for light work. Looking at the i5 SP3 for the replacement. My point was having Office on even the smaller tablets is a benefit.

I am a big fan of the venue 8 Pro, but would still be a fan of a smaller device, without it, to keep the cost down. Office Online is a really good substitute.

Here is an update from Microsoft vis PC World. Update: And Microsoft has confirmed that. Here's what a representative had to say about Windows 8.1 with Bing:

"The Windows 8.1 with Bing referenced on the Windows Blog is the edition that is licensed in connection with the recently announced royalty-free option for small tablets. Microsoft will license this edition for other OEM form factors as well. OEMs will each determine which types of devices they want to bring to market with this edition of Windows.". http://www.pcworld.com/article/2158665/microsoft-announces-windows-8-1-w...

I learned about this from Microsoft a couple months ago, now trying to recall the details. Basically its more of a program for their partners, they incentivise their partners to bundle windows (as opposed to not bundling any OS which is common in asia). The end goal is to increase the attach rate of windows.

I have a surface rt, dell xps 12, and a venue 11, so i get the benefit of the devices and Office, but this form factor isn't intended for enterprise use...therefore Office shouldn't be expected, or included. I can use the native mail app, and word online just as easy as I can use office productivity suites.

No doubt, Windows 8 is Microsoft Latest OS, But I think, Windows 7 is using as a business purpose. I also install windows 7 Professional at my own PC, For which, I got a license Activation product key from: ODosta Store

Working Well, That's why I recommend it for you.