Microsoft lowers the price of Windows to compete with ChromeOS and Android

At present, it’s tricky to make Windows PCs that cost as little as basic Android tablets and Chromebooks. While Microsoft charges vendors $50 to use Windows, Google often gives its software away. The crew in Redmond may have found a way to narrow the price gap, though. Bloomberg claims that Microsoft is cutting Windows 8.1’s license fee to $15 for any device that sells for less than $250, letting builders offer very cheap Windows PCs without destroying their profits.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is cutting the price of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent for makers of low-cost computers and tablets as they try to fend off cheaper rivals likeGoogle Inc. (GOOG)’s Chromebooks, people familiar with the program said. Manufacturers will be charged $15 to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250, instead of the usual fee of $50, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. The discount will apply to any products that meet the price limit, with no restrictions on the size or type of device, the people said.

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