Windows 8.1 Might Be Getting A Free Version [Report]


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Windows 8 wasn't the renaissance Microsoft hoped it would be. Sure, the total number of Windows 8 users steadily increases every month, but it has no chance of toppling Windows 7 at this point. One reason for that is that consumers don't want to pay $100 or more to upgrade. Microsoft might soon be remedying this.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft is currently looking into a free version of Windows 8.1 called Windows 8.1 with Bing. It's reportedly part of a grand experiment as Microsoft sees the writing on the wall - operating systems will one day be free. The company will have to adapt to this reality before it happens, and that's where Windows 8.1 with Bing comes in.

So, what is Windows 8.1 with Bing? Well, nobody is exactly sure at this point, but they have some ideas. One theory is that it's an experiment into a free version of Windows 8 that would only come with Bing services. All the other applications you usually get with Windows, like Skype, OneDrive and Office, would all be available as paid-for add-ons. In other words, Windows 8 would be free while applications can be added on through separate purchases as needed.

If this turned out to be true, it could be a major turn around for Microsoft. There are PC users out there, especially PC gamers, who want the benefits of Windows 8, but don't want to pay for it. This would allow them to get the operating system while being able to pick and choose which applications they want. It's actually kind of brilliant and something that a lot of people could get behind.

Still, it's important to note that this is all preliminary and Microsoft is said to only be experimenting with the idea at the moment. It could come to the conclusion that a free version of Windows 8.1 isn't worth its time. It would be unfortunate if it came to that conclusion, however, as Windows is currently on the defensive against a number of free alternatives, including Mac OS X, Chrome OS and Android.

Image via Windows Blog