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 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

John Callaham