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Microsoft Experimenting With Free Version Of Windows 8.1

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http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/28/5456374/windows-8-1-with-bing-experiment

Microsoft is currently experimenting with a free version of Windows 8.1 that could boost the number of people using the operating system. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is building "Windows 8.1 with Bing," a version that will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. While early versions of the software have leaked online, we understand that Windows 8.1 with Bing is an experimental project that aims to bring a low-cost version of Windows to consumers. ZDNet first reported some Windows 8.1 with Bing details earlier this week.

We’re told that Microsoft is aiming to position Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. Any upgrade offers will be focused on boosting the number of people using Windows 8.1. This Bing-powered version of Windows 8.1 may also be offered to PC makers as part of recent license cuts for devices under $250. It’s not clear how committed Microsoft is to these plans, but the experiment is part of a number of initiatives designed to push and monetize Microsoft’s cloud services and apps. Microsoft is increasingly betting on Bing as a platform it can monetize in the future. Microsoft is also considering low-cost or free versions of Windows Phone, and the company is working towards merging its Windows RT and Windows Phone software into a single version designed for ARM-based chipsets.

I'm surprised it's took them this long to realise, PC sales are collapsing and if they want to keep users a free version of home use seems the way forward.

So if Win8.1 was free would you upgrade?

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http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/28/5456374/windows-8-1-with-bing-experiment

I'm surprised it's took them this long to realise, PC sales are collapsing and if they want to keep users a free version of home use seems the way forward.

So if Win8.1 was free would you upgrade?

From XP - like a shot. From 7 - no chance. As you say, it's taken them long enough to realise that their cash cow risks turning into a dog - and it's time to look at other sources of revenue. Microsoft's problem is that the competition is now Google's Android, Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iOS - which all look like considerably better value and more tuned to customer's needs.

It'll take a long time for Microsoft to die, but they do need to change.

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From XP - like a shot. From 7 - no chance. As you say, it's taken them long enough to realise that their cash cow risks turning into a dog - and it's time to look at other sources of revenue. Microsoft's problem is that the competition is now Google's Android, Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iOS - which all look like considerably better value and more tuned to customer's needs.

It'll take a long time for Microsoft to die, but they do need to change.

+1 - and Tizen is coming.

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So if Win8.1 was free would you upgrade?

Maybe. Having endured the misery of Windows 8 I'm seriously thinking of taking up the offer posted in the window of a local computer shop for their cheap service - "Upgrade your brand new Windows 8 computer to Windows 7"

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I fear that it'll be a version of Windows with extra crap, that you can't uninstall.

I can see M$ screwing this up with popup's every 10 seconds offering you crap to buy in your local area or even better scrolling ads on the top of the screen...

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XP support ends in April, and I suspect that this will result in a very major, front page of the Daily Wail issue. I don't know how many XP PCs are still online and in regular use, but I would guess that the figure must be at least in the tens of millions. Because Vista was so unpopular, many PCs that were sold with OEM Vista came with an offer to "downgrade" to XP, which many customers took. I'm guessing that the last new computers with XP, therefore, were sold in 2009 or '10. I further suspect that soon after these machines stop being security patched in April, malware targeted at them will be unleashed and the result will be a major problem. Either Microsoft will have to do a volte face and start offering at least limited security updates, or some other solution will have to be found. I suspect that rumours of a free edition of 8.1 are partly to prepare the ground for that, but once you factor in hardware drivers, backing up data etc., only a tiny proportion of existing XP users are likely to be willing to attempt to upgrade their machines to a different operating system themselves, I guess. And those that have the necessary technical knowledge are probably sticking with XP deliberately and for a reason.

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Same here , an origional XPspec comp will be a bit long in the tooth unless consistently upgraded, it would struggle with 8.1 , I went from vista, its an improvement , just, with some annoyances (no "back"!)

Had to put in a new graphics card and power supply on my vista machine, .

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I can see M$ screwing this up with popup's every 10 seconds offering you crap to buy in your local area or even better scrolling ads on the top of the screen...

You can bank on that being the plan.

I'm still running a couple of low spec machines on XP. It looks like that much needed nudge into finally coming to grips with Ubuntu is about to make contact with my posterior.

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I'm surprised it's took them this long to realise, PC sales are collapsing and if they want to keep users a free version of home use seems the way forward.

But, uh, one of the main reasons for the collapse in PC sales is... Windows 8.

If Microsoft want to keep users, they should be giving away free copies of Windows 7. No-one in their right mind wants a free copy of Windows 8.

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Yes, I'll update when they release a Windows 9 that does away with the 'Metro' interface and touch-centric stuff and re-instates a proper start button. I also prefer the look of W7 compared to the 'desktop' view of W8, I think W8 is ugly on that side.

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But, uh, one of the main reasons for the collapse in PC sales is... Windows 8.

If Microsoft want to keep users, they should be giving away free copies of Windows 7. No-one in their right mind wants a free copy of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is a big part of it, and you couldn't pay me to install it, but another fairly significant reason are all the people who only use computers for trivial things that have moved to phones and tablets.

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Windows 8 is a big part of it, and you couldn't pay me to install it, but another fairly significant reason are all the people who only use computers for trivial things that have moved to phones and tablets.

I really think this is it. I notice it on the train. When I see a family on a day out, more and more of them use tablets rather than laptops or netbooks - and usually they have one each now too. Plus an increasing number of business folk appear to be doing the same - although often with an additional keyboard. That's also true of quite a few of my colleagues if their job consists of emailing and writing stuff.

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I know so many people who went to something else (mostly Apple) as a result of the Win8 disaster. They are never coming back.

Personally, I'm running mostly Win7 and I see no reason to change. I have a single XP PC (because of some useful heritage software) but it's not on the internet side of my network.

I dont know anyone who changed to Apple...specially office users....My colleague is much busier dealing with Apple networking issues than he is with Windows issues...and that is with the minority by a large amount being apple.

8 was bound to be naff...it followed the good/naff sequence.

Saying that, I use W8 on a properly equipped laptop and it is fine....

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Saying that, I use W8 on a properly equipped laptop and it is fine....

Have to say once you ignore the crappy metro interface and install the classic shell Win8 is fine. The stupidity of M$ not allowing users the choice about how to use Win8 is the reason why it's failed.

I have to admit with a touch screen reading is a lot easier on a laptop with no need scroll with a mouse or touch pad. However the vast majority of users don't have touch on the desktop and it was software suicide to base the entire OS around the metro feel...

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XP support ends in April, and I suspect that this will result in a very major, front page of the Daily Wail issue. I don't know how many XP PCs are still online and in regular use, but I would guess that the figure must be at least in the tens of millions. Because Vista was so unpopular, many PCs that were sold with OEM Vista came with an offer to "downgrade" to XP, which many customers took. I'm guessing that the last new computers with XP, therefore, were sold in 2009 or '10. I further suspect that soon after these machines stop being security patched in April, malware targeted at them will be unleashed and the result will be a major problem. Either Microsoft will have to do a volte face and start offering at least limited security updates, or some other solution will have to be found. I suspect that rumours of a free edition of 8.1 are partly to prepare the ground for that, but once you factor in hardware drivers, backing up data etc., only a tiny proportion of existing XP users are likely to be willing to attempt to upgrade their machines to a different operating system themselves, I guess. And those that have the necessary technical knowledge are probably sticking with XP deliberately and for a reason.

Yes XP works so why the hell change it?

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Have to say once you ignore the crappy metro interface and install the classic shell Win8 is fine. The stupidity of M$ not allowing users the choice about how to use Win8 is the reason why it's failed.

That's a case though of installing third party things to essentially move yourself back to Windows 7 or earlier (I use Classic Shell on 7 to get around some of the crap on that). In other words still no actual point in getting Windows 8, other than faster boot times.

I have to admit with a touch screen reading is a lot easier on a laptop with no need scroll with a mouse or touch pad. However the vast majority of users don't have touch on the desktop and it was software suicide to base the entire OS around the metro feel...

It sounds better than a touchpad but better than a mouse? Not convinced, even for a laptop.

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In other words still no actual point in getting Windows 8, other than faster boot times.

Windows 8 doesn't boot faster, it just closes your applications and hibernates when you tell it to shut down. Do the same on Windows 7 and it should boot just as fast; though my Windows 7 desktop, with a fresh, crapware-free install, spends more time in the BIOS than it does getting from the BIOS to the logon screen.

Personally, I thought recently about buying a new laptop because the touchpad on the five year old one has been behaving erratically. But then I look at what's on offer, and anything decent forces me to pay for a touchscreen I don't want, half of them are 'convertibles' which means they're a crappy tablet and a crappy laptop, and some of them will have 'Secure Boot' that prevents me from installing Linux.

So I'll stick with the old one and a USB mouse for now.

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