Microsoft Cuts Windows 8 Price, Offers Free Office

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has slashed the price of Windows 8 and Windows RT licenses for tablet computers in an effort to drive up interest in its latest operating system.

The firm has also revealed plans to include free Microsoft Office software packages with new tablet devices running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT.

Microsoft OEM division vice president Nic Parker made the announcement at the Computex trade show taking place in Taiwan.

Licensing Costs for Manufacturers Slashed

Parker says the discount will apply to devices running Windows RT and Windows 8.1 / Windows Blue, the updated version of Microsoft's Windows 8.

Right now it appears the price cuts will only apply to tablet computers running Microsoft's OS. Manufacturers like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung will get the discount, which should be passed down to the average consumer.

Of course, there's no guarantee the consumer will see a dramatic change in price. However, keeping the price the same would hardly help manufacturers sell Windows RT and Windows 8.1-based tablet devices.

Parker also noted that Microsoft will be throwing in a free license for Office Home & Student 2013 RT with Windows RT-based tablets. That package includes Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Word.

Parker added that Windows RT will soon receive its own version of the Office email client, which could be a big deal for business users. (Source:

Concerns About Windows Store Linger

Industry analyst Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights & Strategy, was hardly blown away by the news.

"I think this is revenue neutral, that the end price to the OEMs is neutral, but they're throwing in Office," Moorhead said.

Slightly more impressed was Direction on Microsoft's Wes Miller, who thinks the Office offer could increase interest in Windows RT-based tablets.

"It's an incentive to those Office-heavy consumer users," Miller noted. (Source:

A lingering problem for Microsoft, however, is the absence of apps in the Windows Store -- the only place where Windows RT users can access applications.

Right now, there are only 80,000 apps in there -- far less than the 700,000-plus apps found in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

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