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Windows 8.1 with Bing is free for OEMs despite initial $10 charge

Microsoft technically charges OEMs $10 for each copy of Windows 8.1 with Bing for installation on new tablets under nine inches. However, newly revealed OEM pricing documents show that Microsoft is currently offering those same OEMs a $10 "configuration discount" for Windows 8.1 with Bing, effectively making it free.

Microsoft first announced Windows 8.1 with Bing in 2014, which is almost completely the same version of the OS that the company sells to OEMs as well as the general public. The only difference is that Bing is set as the default search engine for Windows 8.1, along with MSN.com as the default website. Owners of tablets that have Windows 8.1 with Bing installed are free to change the default once they buy and activate their new device. The OEM price is the same for the Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365 Personal SKU, which gives customers a free year of Office 365 Personal, normally priced at $69.99.

Windows 8.1 with Bing for tablets larger than nine inches are priced at $25 for OEMs, according to documents published by Microsoft on its Partner Center site and revealed today by ZDNet. Those tablets also get the same $10 "configuration discount", which reduces the cost down to $15. That's also the same price for those tablets that have the Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365 Personal SKU installed.

The big question: Will Microsoft offer a similar deal for OEMs for the launch of Windows 10 later this year? The company is not likely to reveal its pricing plans for the OS until sometime closer to its final launch date.

Source: ZDNet

48 Comments
  • What's is the surprise? Microsoft said that on BUILD. Devices with Windows and Windows phone under 9" is free.
  • It's actually $10, that's why. If it were free, there wouldn't be a $10 charge that is conveniently wiped as an initial discount.
  • Well, so MSFT lied on Build?
  • Not so much lied, as blurred the real price of it...which is $10 for the SKU.
  • Yup, I guess it's the reason why they said it was "$0" and not free.
  • I don't think so. Look at the image from the ZDnet article: http://zdnet4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2015/01/19/a1fc9b61-8a08-4116-a7f2-... It looks like they lied through their teeth and windows with bing is indeed not free, but 10 bucks.  
  • Look at the Net Inovice row. MS did not lie. Re-read the first paragraph statement "Microsoft is currently offering those same OEMs a $10 "configuration discount" for Windows 8.1 with Bing, effectively making it free".
  • I spend $10 on a visit to subway, so this basically free compared to that OEMs paid in the past to license windows..... I'm sure they're not complaining
  • Well not exactly from an accounting point of view. Its hard to put a value on a loss or cost of doing buisness number if it never shows up on the books. By doing it this way there is no question it was sold and discounted. I would think it would also offer them some shielding regarding anti competitive practices. In the end it is free which was what Microsoft said it would be.      
  • They did.  It is good for Windows tablets and it is the only reason a bunch of cheap Windows tablets now exists 9 months later.
  • It is a simple wright off. Put a cost then promo the cost as an income tax deduction.. Wow dig a little deeper much?
  • I think it's just a slow news day... as we wait for the Windows 10 announcements on Wednesday.
  • Wish I could buy it anywhere near that when I build a computer.
  • I paid 30 for win 8 pro when it first came out during their holiday
  • £ or $? Damn good I reckon. Around 5 years ago I got given Office by a friend that bought 5 licenses for £15. It was a MS deal as his company bought so many licenses, MS offered the staff the deal. Bargain.
  • I did too... But for an upgrade. They did that for full copies?
  • I believe the upgrade was $30. I recall purchasing the 32-bit upgrade and found the link to download the 64-bit version and install/activate with the key I purchased. Had it been a full installation it was a bit more.
  • I was hoping for a 10$ discount in the current tablets at MS store hehe but they are still at the same price. While 10$ would have been nice, it's no biggie. I won't stop buying it 'cause of that.
  • Bing rewards...
  • US only...
  • Exactly :(
  • Sorry, I'm a noob. Does this mean I can take my Android tablet and install Windows 8.1 on it?
  • No
  • No.
  • No I'M a noob! But as they've already stated, that is not what this means. This is saying that the cost to the OEMs that was reported as "free" in the past (for tablets/devices under 9 in. I believe) is actually $10 which is discounted to $0 by Microsoft. It is an informative, but not very important article to most of us. Unless we catch the manufacturers charging more than they should based on the "license fee".
  • No. And you don't have to sorry about being new to these stuffs :) have a good day.
  • If the OEM of your device support it, yes. Like some Chinese OEM who offer a single tablet with OS by preferences (which basically defaulted to Android and accept switch request to Windows 8.1 with Bing, Chinese version though).
    Other than that, no.
  • That's even better , this is one of the solutions that Microsoft needs to kill Android tablets ; )
  • I'm just wondering if my new ASUS VivoTab 8 will get Win10...even for a fee.
  • Why wouldn't it?  
  • There could be hardware limitations. For example "Will run on atom processors... but will run slow" Not saying it will happen, and since MS is concerned with optimizing code I think it is inlikelly, but yeah... there could be hardware limitations.
  • Right, so that's why Microsoft said Windows was "$0" and not free for devices under 9 inches, back at BUILD 2014.
  • Considering this, then why is it that OEMs still charge $50-$100 more for Windows tablets than the same tablets running Android? Eg: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2, Dell Venue 8 3000(Android) vs the Venue 8 Pro 3000 (Windows). I always thought it had to do with licensing fees for Windows vs non-existing fees for Android, but considering there are no fees, I have no idea why wouldn't they charge the same for either model.
  • Half the memory and storage on teh Android device maybe?
  • @Hawkigrad, seems like you are right. While RAM on both are the same, minimum storage is different. 16GB minimum storage for Android versions vs 32 GB minimum storage on the Windows counterparts. Everything else is the same in terms of hardware. I thought they also had the same storage, but storage sizes are different.
  • Very interesting question if all else is equal.
  • Them same OEMs are probably trying to recoup the fee they they got to pay to release a android device every oem has to pay a royalty fee to Microsoft for using android because of inferring patients. So I say this is there way to not only recoup some of that loss and since Microsoft is the one making them pay it they probably bump there price up out of spite even though if they are going to pass this fee of to consumers it should be on the android end.
  • Excellent point! And if market share governs everything they do as they claim, then they should be charging more for Android based devices in no time...(not likely... It's everyone's baby at the moment).
  • Ms never said it was free, they said it was zero dollars on devices under 9 inches. Windows with Bing was a different deal. Lowest cost version of Windows for devices under $249. So now it seems that deal has also reached zero dollars.
  • I'm impressed with Microsoft's strategy to get more and more Windows tablets out into the wild, but I'm wondering how these price drops for OEMs are going to affect the price of Windows 10 retail and upgrades for consumers.
  • When I first switched to WP in Oct 2012, I didn't think I could live without Google searches.  But I kept the default search engines to Bing on my phone, and now on my 8.0/8.1 tablets (in the built-in search charm), and even tried switching to Bing on my desktops.  I realized very quickly that Bing search is every bit as good as Google, for everything I'm looking for... So I think this strategy is good for MS.  Because if people are buying these tablets and don't bother switching default search provider (most will have no idea how), I don't think anyone will notice any decrease in their search performance.  Should get more people on Bing. 
  • It's even better at things like tracking a package... It automatically gives tracking results from the correct carrier. Google suggests to search FedEx USPS it whatever. Bing seems to recognize the carriers tracking numbers and shows the most relevant info instead. I've tried it a few times and Bing always gets that right at least. People just don't like it because its not popular. Not because it doesn't work.
  • I would like to switch. However Bing is nothing in Europe. And since I study various forms of enterprise intelligence I can't use Bing. As it can't give me the best results.
  • It is "nothing" in Europe? Can you please elaborate? This is not a challenge but an inquiry. I don't have any idea what you mean.
    Also what do you mean by various forms of enterprise intelligence? Why(or how) doesn't Bing work for this particular area of interest?
  • I wonder where windows phone market share would be if it started off free........
  • Sometimes i use bing search, the only thing i noticed is when i type"orbit downloader" there no results for website So that i can click to download the program. And also the search results it seems not updated. I feel 1990 results.
  • 50 to 80 percent of people don't know about computers they don't change there search engine.. They just type on Google chrome don't care what search engine they are using
  • Only 8" android tablet will survive the onslaught that is Windows on tablets, even iPads in the office will grow thin.