There are no free lunches in life right? Think again! Seattle based tech-Giant Microsoft (MSFT) is looking to do just that! The company is poised to introduce a low cost version of Windows 8.1 with Bing. Packed with Microsoft applications and services, sources say this version could be made available to users free of cost. The gamble could pay off if the company manages to create enough hype among customers, especially after the much anticipated Windows 8 failed to impress.
More for less!
Keep in mind, however, that even if the Windows 8.1 with Bing is made available for free, the underlying strategy could be to increase its user base, monetize key services built into Windows 8 such as Bing, OneDrive, Xbox Music and Video and thereby increasing its revenues.
Eating into Android and iOS’ Market share
It may seem a little far fetched and a tad hard to digest, but according to a recent Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker update by IDC, Windows Phone operating system is going to be the fastest growing smartphone operating system in 2014. Given the fact that Google (GOOG) Android and Apple (AAPL) iOS together enjoy about 94% of the market share, Windows OS can only improve from here. And, if the rumours about making the Windows Phone OS free turns out to be true, I would say that it can go a long way in turning its fortune.
Yet another Smart Move
Microsoft might also be toying with the idea of combining Windows RT and Windows Phone into one operating system for all ARM-based devices. Microsoft devices and studios group leader Julie Larson-Green hinted at a possible integration at the Global Technology Summit and rightly so! iOS and Google also use the same platform for smartphones and tablets. It only makes sense that Microsoft integrates the two into a single UI and App market if it plans to continue taking giant strides towards market supremacy.
Finally, Back to the Start!
Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer, during his conversation with The Verge, said -“lets make it easier to start applications in a way we are used to”. The Start Button, though out of vogue till recently, lets you boot straight to the desktop. Amid major changes to Windows 8, primarily keeping the user in mind, sticking on to the Start Menu might have done the trick for Balmer as it seems to have attracted app developers to Windows 8. I must admit, these are some refreshing changes, meaningful integration and some bold decisions from Microsoft, and much needed too, I would be tempted to add. Remains to be seen how successful it proves to be.