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Microsoft may slash Windows 8 pricing to attract more manufacturers

CNETAnalysis: Apparently not pleased with sales of its existing Windows 8 laptops, Microsoft is reportedly offering discounts on the operating system to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The idea behind the discounts is to create more demand and incentive for OEMs to develop smaller touchscreen devices featuring Windows 8 for later this year. Previously, a bundle of Windows 8 plus Office was being sold by Microsoft for $120 (UK£80, AU$116), but the discounts that began in February, according to a Wall Street Journal source, saw that price slashed to just $30 (UK£20, AU$19) for devices 10.8 inches or smaller. Devices larger than 10.8-inches got a similar $30 discount, though just for Windows 8 by itself. Windows pains Sources speaking with the Journal revealed the price slashes, though Microsoft itself evaded a straight answer when questioned. “As we’ve said before, Windows 8 was built to scale across all sizes of PCs and tablets – large and small,” a spokesperson told the Journal. “We continue to work with partners to ensure that Windows is available across a diverse range of devices.” In the past, Microsoft hasn’t been as willing to shift its strategy by lowering the licensing fees for equipment makers, but the rise of Google’s cheaper Chromebooks and Android tablets may have caused the Softies to adjust their game plan. Microsoft’s new focus appears to be on reaching the smaller touchscreen market just as the back-to-school season starts, and more consumer-friendly pricing would certainly help Windows 8′s sales at that crucial time of year. The desire for Microsoft’s own Surface tablets weren’t all that impressive the last time we checked, indicating the company’s shift away from traditional PCs hasn’t gone as planned. Perhaps some of those slow sales could be attributed to how hard it’s been to get a hold of a Surface Pro . ! However, the lack of retail movement has been ongoing since the Surface RT launched last year. Microsoft may be attempting to rejigger its consumer strategy with this discount, though we won’t know for sure until we start seeing more Windows 8 devices hit the market.

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