Microsoft slashes Windows 8 licenses by 70% to combat Chromebooks

microsoft slashes windows 8 licenses 70 combat chromebooks laptop

Detailed by Bloomberg this week, Microsoft has struck a new deal with desktop, laptop and tablet manufacturers that sell products retailing for less than $250. While these companies previously had to pay $50 for a license to use Windows 8.1 on a device, the new cost has been reduced to just $15. The type of device using the operating system won’t make any difference, only that the device is sold under the $250 price point. On the consumer end, prices are unlikely to change significantly, but this move should lead to a greater number of lower-end devices that offers the Windows 8 interface rather than Chrome OS.

In addition to the pricing change, Microsoft has also removed some of the device restrictions. For instance, manufacturers won’t be required to include touchscreens on devices that utilize Windows 8 and won’t need to complete logo certification in order to launch the device. Logo certification is a process that examines the hardware to determine compatibility with the operating system. 

The abandonment of requiring touchscreens is just another sign that Microsoft will shift away from booting directly into the Metro user interface in the planned update to Windows 8.1. Targeting an April 2014 release window, the update to Windows 8.1 is expected to allow non-touch Windows 8 devices to boot directly to the desktop, definitely ideal when using a mouse. However, there are a number of third party applications that allow users to booth directly to the desktop. For instance, Stardock’s Start8 can accomplish this feat in addition to bringing back the start menu design from Windows 7.

Since Windows 8 launched, the adoption rate of the operating system has been significantly slower than Windows 7, hence the move to discount the OS for manufacturers. However, one downside to the cheaper rate is the lack of Microsoft support on the marketing side as well as the loss of other incentives that were packaged in at the higher rate.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

(Update: deal expired) The Essential Phone is on sale for a bargain price of $224

The Essential Phone (PH-1) was one of the best-reviewed phones of 2017, and it comes from Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android itself. It has a striking design with a bezel-less display and the price is now down to $500.

These 30 apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 Series starts at $500 and features real-time ray tracing

Nvidia revealed its new GeForce RTX 2000 Series of add-in desktop graphics cards for gamers during its pre-show Gamescom press event. The new family is based on Nvidia’s new “Turing” architecture focusing on real-time ray tracing.

Nvidia GeForce RTX GPUs are coming to Alienware and Predator gaming desktops

Dell and Acer have both announced support for Nvidia's new GeForce RTX 2000 graphics cards in refreshed gaming desktops, including Predator Orion series systems and Alienware desktops.

Nvidia’s new GPUs look amazing, but that doesn’t mean you should buy one

Nvidia's GeForce 2080 is a powerful graphics card that supports ray tracing to deliver real-time cinematic renderings of shadows, light, and reflection in games, but unless you were already planning on upgrading, you'll probably want to…
Emerging Tech

Scarily realistic ‘deep video portraits’ could take fake news to the next level

Researchers have developed a new A.I. system which is able to produce scarily realistic "deep fake" videos -- right down to details like a person's eyebrows or eyes as they speak.

Save $40 on a laptop backpack that has its own USB charging port

Is there anything more convenient than being able to charge your phone with your backpack? This laptop bag has a USB port that lets you do just that. With a $40 discount, you can get it for just $30 on Amazon right now

A MacBook Air with Retina display and Mac Mini “Pro” could arrive this fall

Apple is reportedly working on upgrade to the Mac Mini and the MacBook Air, with a planned hardware refresh later this year. The Mac Mini could get some "pro" components, while a Retina display could end up on the MacBook Air.

Asus gets ‘tough’ on gamers using two TUF Gaming FX laptops built for abuse

If you’re looking for a “tough” gaming laptop that won’t set your wallet on fire, Asus introduced two new solutions under its TUF Gaming FX banner. The FX505 dons a 15.6-inch screen while the FX705 sports a 17.3-inch screen.

Microsoft thwarts new Russian cyberattack on U.S. senators and think tanks

To protect democracy and free and fair elections, Microsoft had stopped a spearphishing-style cyberattack that is tied to a group with strong links to the Russian military. The company took control of six fake domains.

Nvidia's new GPUs are all about ray tracing. Here's why that matters

Nvidia's new GTX 2000 series graphics cards bring Ray Tracing technology to modern real-time 3D graphics, including games, for the first time. But what is ray tracing, and what does it mean for your games?

GTX 1080 graphics card prices plunge following Nvidia’s RTX announcement

Unless you need the new ray tracing capabilities of the new Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU -- a feature that will only be available on a limited number of games to start -- you can score a great deal on the GTX 1080 series graphics card.