Is Microsoft issuing 70% Windows price cuts?

Microsoft are set to slash the price of Windows 8.1 by 70% for makers of low-cost computers and tablets, according to growing speculation across the industry.

Referencing people familiar with the program, Bloomberg claims Redmond hopes the move will counter competition from Google’s Chromebooks.

“Manufacturers will be charged $15 to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250, instead of the usual fee of $50, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public,” the website reports.

“The discount will apply to any products that meet the price limit, with no restrictions on the size or type of device, the people said.”

Also citing stronger competition from rivals Apple, Bloomberg’s report comes over a week after Microsoft revealed sales of 200 million plus for Windows 8 licences, as Redmond’s latest operating system seemingly gathers market pace.

After passing the 100 million milestone six months after launch, the OS has taken a year to double its sales figures, progress the software giant was evidently pleased about last week.

“We’ve surpassed 200 million licenses now on Windows 8, which is pretty stunning,” said Microsoft’s Tami Reller, speaking at a Goldman Sachs technology conference.

And with the software giant publicly praising the figures, Bloomberg reports that “by offering incentives for PC makers to sell cheaper models, Microsoft may be able to increase its share of the growing $80 billion tablet market and stave off Chromebooks, notebooks that run Google’s operating system.”

According to the article, Redmond is also “seeking to speed up development and introduction of new devices.”

“It won’t require products that use the cheaper licensing to complete logo certification, a process that verifies hardware compatibility, one of the people said.

“Devices aren’t required to be touch-screen compatible, they said.”

According to the story, Julia Kelly-Echeverio, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, declined to comment when approached.

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