Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft is set to cut Windows licensing costs from $50 to $15 on devices retailing for less than $250. We may be about to see even cheaper Windows laptops.
The move appears to be designed to fend off the challenge from Google’s Chromebook which has taken a significant chunk out of Windows’ market share in the last 12 months, particularly in education.
Google’s Chromebook licensing structure has forced OEM manufacturers to product a range of extremely low cost laptops, something which Microsoft has struggled to compete with.
Last year, for example, HP released a two variants of the same laptop hardware, one running Windows and one marketed as a Chromebook. While the specification of the two machines was almost identical, the Chromebook was priced significantly lower than the Windows alternative, primarily as a result of Microsoft’s higher licensing costs.
Whether Microsoft price adjustments will make any difference to Windows 8 sales remains to be seen, but this seems like a good step in the right direction for the company, and can only be good for school budgets. How this will affect Microsoft Schools Agreement licensing isn’t certain.