WindowsandBingRecent reports and information leaks have shown that Microsoft may be considering a new method of operating system distribution.  A week ago, the well-known Windows leaker WZor revealed the existence of a new Windows SKU, now called Windows 8.1 with Bing.  The new version of Windows is believed to be designed as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows users.

Early reports on Windows 8.1 with Bing show that it will likely be a lightweight version of the full-fledged OS with a focus on bundled apps.  In a page taken from the mobile marketplace, users will be able to pick and choose the apps they want to upgrade and pay for, instead of one large upfront cost.  While the new operating system will be available for all systems, it appears to be targeted primarily at devices priced under $250 in an effort to compete with Google’s Chromebook OS.

Microsoft’s move into “free” software is a development direction that many people have expected for a long time.  Apple and Google have already made the move towards free operating systems and in order for Windows to stay competitive, it will need to evolve with the marketplace.  It is unclear how much momentum Microsoft will throw behind it’s free OS effort, but with the right direction, it could open new markets and potential for a company that has grown stagnant in recent years.  Even if the OS is released in tandem with more traditional offerings, it will still work to entice the bottom-end of the market and hopefully encourage users to upgrade from the more outdated versions of Windows.  Either way, you can expect to hear a lot more about Windows 8.1 with Bing at this year’s Build developer conference in April.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Webmaster and Lead Designer