Microsoft is already offering free Windows licenses to OEMs building tablets with display smaller than 9 inches, but it appears that the company has recently expanded its offering in order to include more devices.
Digitimes is reporting via “sources from the upstream supply chain” that Microsoft is now planning to offer its modern operating system at absolutely no cost to manufacturers whose products will hit the market with a price below $250 (180 euros), thus trying to boost the adoption of Windows in the mobile business.
Although entry-level tablets running Windows might not be the best way to bring more people on-board, Microsoft knows very well that affordable devices are selling like hot cakes, especially in emerging markets where Android is clearly holding the leading position.
At the same time, tablets with screens smaller than 9 inches are also seeing increased competition from smartphones and phablets, which are both getting bigger displays and competing prices, with Android the operating system of choice for most manufacturers.
That's exactly what Microsoft is trying to do with this new campaign, as Windows has never been considered a powerful Android replacement, but with zero licensing costs, more OEMs would finally start projects running Redmond's operating system.
According to the same report, the first results can already be seen on the Chinese market, as several vendors who were originally working on Android tablets switched to Windows when hearing about Microsoft's new licensing fees.
The percentage of companies who were developing Android-based tablets dropped from 70 percent to 50 percent amid news that Windows is becoming free of charge for sub-$250 devices, Digitimes adds.
Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella recently said in a letter to employees last week that Windows is going to be tweaked in such a way that it would be installed on more devices, which would obviously boost its adoption and help the company compete against Android.
“Our Windows device OS and first-party hardware will set the bar for productivity experiences. Windows will deliver the most rich and consistent user experience for digital work and life scenarios on screens of all sizes – from phones, tablets and laptops to TVs and giant 82 inch PPI boards. We will invest so that Windows is the most secure, manageable and capable OS for the needs of a modern workforce and IT,” Satya Nadella said in the letter, explaining that Windows is well positioned to be installed on many more devices of various form factors and sizes.