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Microsoft “helps” hardware partners build lower cost Windows devices

26 May 2014

Microsoft has revealed that many new lower-cost Windows devices will come with Windows 8.1 with Bing, designed to make Windows devices cheaper to build for hardware partners.

Announced on Friday, the new version of Windows 8.1 is only available to hardware manufacturers.

“Microsoft was built on the foundation of partner opportunity and our goal remains mutual success for us and our partners,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft Blog.

“This means a continued commitment to helping ensure our hardware partners are able to build innovative, differentiated and competitive devices on the Windows platform.

“The end result is that more people—across consumer and commercial—will have access to an even broader selection of new devices with all the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 provides, and get Office too, all at a really affordable price.

“Additionally, as reach expands, the opportunity for developers and their apps also increases.

“We’re excited for our partners and the new devices that will be in market soon, and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners deliver innovative and high quality devices based on the Windows experience.”

As Microsoft moves forward, LeBlanc says many of these lower cost devices will come with a new edition of Windows called Windows 8.1 with Bing.

"This new edition will be only be available preloaded on devices from our hardware partners," wrote LeBlanc. "Some of these devices, in particular tablets, will also come with Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365."

Over the past year, LeBlanc says the company has done a lot of work to scale Windows to an even greater number of customers with more partners and new devices at a broader range of price points.

In 2013, the tech giant began to ease its approach to device certification and reduced some hardware component requirements in a bid to drive further device differentiation and price competitiveness.

And most recently with the Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft is enabling its hardware partners to build lower cost devices with 1GB of memory and 16GB of storage.

We also announced that Windows will be available for 0 dollars to our hardware partners for Windows Phones and tablets smaller than 9-inches in screen size.