Microsoft to expand free Windows license availability

Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft announced in April that it  would drop Windows license fees for mobile devices like tablets with displays measuring less than 9 inches. The move was widely seen as a move to increase adoption of Windows devices in the smaller screen space and where Android dominated due to the fact that Google does not charge any licensing for its use. Now comes word that Microsoft could further broaden the reach of free Windows licenses.

The hit-and-miss Digitimes reports that Microsoft will drop license fees on tablets that sell for less than US$250. It cites its usually nebulous “sources from the upstream supply chain” for the claim.

Even at reduced rates of US$10 to US$15 per copy, a Windows license fee can account for a not negligible portion of the cost of a US$250 tablet and could spell the difference between profit and loss. Doing away with this cost will help manufacturers bring Windows-powered tablets to parity in terms of cost with those powered by other operating systems.

Intel has similarly dropped its prices to attract more manufacturers to its processors.

The move comes as sales of smaller tablets are increasingly being cannibalized by those of smartphones with larger displays. In fact, while Microsoft has yet to confirm the move, the report adds that Microsoft’s decision has swayed manufacturers to plan for more Windows tablets for Q3. Originally, some 70% of Intel-powered tablets falling in the US$250 or below category were to have used Android but that number has now dropped to 50%.

Source : Digitimes