March 6th, 2013, 18:52 PM
Microsoft may slash Windows licensing costs to jump-start cheap, touchscreen laptops
Windows 8 has landed with more of a thud than a bang, to hear many retailers and manufacturers tell it. The root of the problem is up for debate, but a new report suggests that Microsoft is taking one of the possible culprits—the lack of low-cost, touchscreen Windows 8 devices—head-on, offering manufacturers steep discounts on Windows 8 and Microsoft Office licenses destined for small, finger-friendly laptops and hybrids.
Licensing fees for Windows 8 and Office could be as low as $30 for devices with touchscreens under 10.8 inches, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing “people familiar with the situation.” Previously, the same bundle would have cost $120. Larger touchscreen devices can also get a discount license, but without Office, the Journal claims.
Microsoft didn't confirm or deny the discount. A spokesman merely told the Journal that “Microsoft will “continue to work with partners to ensure that Windows is available across a diverse range of devices.”
Windows 8's interface was overhauled to work best with touchscreen devices, but touch capabilities add significant cost to the price of a display. When combined with the cost of a Windows license, it's no surprise that low-price touchscreen laptops have been scarcely seen, though a few models can be found for south of $500.