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Windows 8 could be made free by Microsoft

Windows 8 with bing EULA

While Microsoft makes the transition from a Ballmer-ified company into a new one under the guide of Satya Nadella, one of the things that are being investigated is monetisation of Windows. With Windows 8 and 8.1 achieving slower growth rates than Windows 7 or XP in the first year on the market, the company needs to find a way to push up the volume of users and draw them away from older platforms like XP and Vista.

One of the ideas on the table is to make Windows 8, the regular edition, free to use and download so long as you agree to adverts being displayed to you in Modern UI apps and to be forced to use Bing for internet searches in Modern UI apps. 

The development of a free edition of Windows 8 was leaked by and it displayed a portion of a new End-user licence agreement (EULA). The EULA talks about the fair use of “Windows 8 with Bing” and it appears that not only is Microsoft ready to experiment with this kind of revenue generation through advertising, but it’s also going to make this freely available to the public because the EULA is re-organised into a more concise set of questions and answers that users may have upon installing the software.

Windows 8 with bing desktop

This isn’t a bad thing by any means. Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella has previously headed up Microsoft’s Business Solutions division, has been the Corporate Vice President of the Search and Advertising Platform Group (yes, he had a hand in Bing) and until his appointment as CEO was President of the Server and Tools division of the company. Nadella, possibly more than anyone else, knows how much money they could make from a free, Bing-ified version of Windows.

In fact, that would be just like the situation with Google Chrome OS. Chrome OS is partly ad-supported through the built-in browser and Google makes a good amount of profit on it. Windows 8 with Bing would be similar, but more user-friendly and familiar more people.

I hope that Microsoft is beginning to see the real threat to their market share. It isn’t Apple, it’s Google. Google has always been a threat to their search functions, their advertising revenue, mobile market share, streaming services and affordable computing and Ballmer may have believed that Apple was the one they should have been targeting.

Making Windows 8 free would be a big step towards fighting off the advances of Chrome OS and it would also give users who were thinking about Linux or piracy a second, legitimate option. If I could install other browsers, use my own search engines and ignore Modern UI completely, I’d be perfectly happy with this arrangement.

Source: Wzascok Journal

Discuss this in the forums: Linky

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    If it is 100% completely free with all the features then I will install it, but this close to Windows 9 I won’t spend money on it. Who am I kidding. I wouldn’t spend money on it even if Win9 was like 20 years away xD

  • Mikhil

    I was keen…then Bing, not so anymore. 7 is still my platform of choice and will be for a while to come still.

    • XCal1bur

      yeah 7 is my choice as well. I wish they will make it more readily available again, in all its forms.

      • BinaryMind

        Yup. Another 7 user here. No need to upgrade at all.

  • Chris Kemp

    They should investigate making Windows 8 not suck :D Also, they really need to let Bing die; they’ve sunk enough into that moneypit already. Think the sunk cost fallacy has claimed another victim :D

    • Wesley Fick

      You’d be surprised, Bing, Office 365, Onedrive and their other online services are actually making decent profits. That was all Nadella’s work.

      • Chris Kemp

        Perhaps now that Ballmer’s off it it can actually do something; although I expect it’s because the initial enormous capital investment is done, so it may not be TOO expensive to maintain. Still… ugh. I’ve actually tried using it a couple of times, and I can’t pinpoint why it’s so terrible, but every time I run screaming back to Google after two searches.

  • Cameron Kane

    Well… Windows nine is supposedly going to be windows 8 with the windows 7 design. All we can do is hope :-/

    • Wesley Fick

      Windows 8.1 is actually good enough to make it a reasonable upgrade from 7 because you can now treat the Start screen as an app launcher. 9 will be steering more developments to the desktop users, but I doubt they’d bring the Start menu back. Modern UI can work, they just need to put more effort into it.

  • Wyzak

    I have a legal copy of windows 8 but I have no reason to upgrade to it, making it free won’t change that. But if they actually made it better it would.

    • Wesley Fick

      Well, 8.1 is already much better than 7 in a lot of ways, I don’t think I could ever go back. Wait for 8.1.1 to hit and see how you take to it then. Maybe even install it in a VM to assess if you like the OS or not.

      • Wyzak

        Which ways would that be? What massive issues does Win 7 have that Win 8 solves?

        • Wesley Fick

          There are no massive issues, really. But quite a few things are simplified or improved. USB read/write performance in Windows 8 has improved tremendously on the same hardware for me and there are things like the advanced task manager, the updated Explorer UI, more stable drivers, faster hibernation and sleep switches and faster resume times, lower boot times and better battery life on notebooks (marginally so, but it’s there).

          I also use multiple monitors and this is managed much better in 8/8.1 than Windows 7. I used Hyper-V for testing last year and it works well. I’ve found that I don’t need to use Total Commander to copy files that often because the file copy manager now has pause options built-in to it.

          I could go on with lists and little things that I’ve discovered that improve what was introduced in 7, but 8.1 is good enough for me at this point. Because I treat Modern UI as a launcher for programs and because I use only a handful of Modern UI apps, I’m happy with the way things have turned out.

          • Wyzak

            That sounds like very specific issues. I can’t think of anything that the current task manager can’t do that I’ve wanted to do. I don’t use explorer, I use Total commander and I’m not going to go from something that’s been working perfectly since the days of Norton commander to something that they’ve only now made semi-decent. My Win 7 drivers are perfectly stable, I don’t have the time to try and make my printer and strange peripherals work on Win 8. I don’t need to switch off my PC, so I don’t use hibernation or sleep, my PC reboots maybe once a month if I really feel like it or if Eskom load sheds me.

            In what way is the multiple monitors better in Win 8 than Win 7? I am familiar with Hyper-V, I’ve used it on servers but I prefer to use virtualbox.

            Still sounds like a ton of nice-to-haves and nothing that I actually need. Does the browser support pause/resume, does it automatically retry on failures? Does explorer still just stop working when you copy something and there is an error on one of the files? No skip-all or overwrite-all like in TC? Does it have a proper FTP client?


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