Microsoft introduces cheaper version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Microsoft has announced a version of Windows 8.1 that is intended for use on low-cost devices. This Windows 8.1 with Bing version will only be available to hardware manufacturers and will get Internet Explorer with the Bing search engine set up.

The Windows 8.1 variant was announced by Microsoft on its website and, according to the company, is intended to help manufacturers build cheaper Windows 8.1 devices. With Windows 8.1 with Bing, manufacturers are required to set Microsoft’s search engine as the default within Internet Explorer, something that is already regularly done by companies themselves. Microsoft probably hopes that it will get more users from its search service. However, end users can choose to change the default search engine; the company is likely doing this to avoid antitrust cases.

According to Microsoft, some users of Windows 8.1 with Bing get a one-year subscription to Office 365 for free. The subscriptions are mainly offered to buyers of a Windows 8.1 tablet, but Microsoft has not yet disclosed many details about the offer. Furthermore, it seems that Microsoft has not changed anything in terms of functionality compared to the existing version of Windows 8.1.

Microsoft has not disclosed how much cheaper the Bing version of Windows 8.1 is compared to the conventional variant. Rumors have come out earlier that Microsoft would lower the license costs for Windows 8.1 from $50 to $15 for manufacturers who sell their devices for less than $250. According to Microsoft, several low-cost Windows 8.1 devices will be announced at the upcoming Computex trade show in Taiwan, which will be held on June 3 and 4.

Windows 8.1 with Bing has been rumored before. It incorrectly stated that it would be offered cheaply to existing Windows 7 users; for the time being, it seems that consumers will not be given the option to purchase the Bing version of Windows. Microsoft previously started offering Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 for free to makers of devices with a screen size of 9″ or smaller.

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