In what is clearly an extremely (and pleasantly) surprising move, Microsoft has made its popular desktop operating system free for devices with smaller screens than 9-inches. In its ongoing annual developer conference, BUILD, Microsoft took to the stage to announce Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1 and MS Office for touch screen devices, but a free Windows was completely surprising!


It’s no surprise that Microsoft is struggling to sell its tablet devices in a world which is dominated by Android and iOS. Recently, the Office productivity suite which was an exclusive to Windows running tablets, was launched for iPad. Making the operating system available for free will definitely cut down the manufacturer’s cost and also bring down the cost of Windows powered tablet.

Why did Microsoft make Windows free?

Windows-powered tablets are on a weird spot right now. On one hand, it competes with cheaply available Android tablets, and on another it has to tackle with Chromebook, which again is super cheap from the price standpoint. The company is aware of it. It recently slashed down Windows 8.1’s licensing fees by 70%. Moreover, the company also made Windows Phone OS licensing free for many Indian mobile partners including Karbonn Mobiles, Lava, Xolo and Micromax. Making the OS free for smaller screen devices will definitely help the OS boost its sale.

Windows for Internet of Things.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to bring Windows to several internet of things devices, including robots, talking bears and coffee mugs. its naming convention does hint at a connection between the two. Only time will tell how the Redmond giant is planning to approach and pan out these things.

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Microsoft really needed to do something about its tablets. In a world dominated by Android, it has hardly received any respectable traction. Microsoft needed to gear up and do something about it, and for the last couple of months that is exactly what it is doing. It will be interesting to see how all this turns out.
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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.