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Print 39 comment(s) - last by HomerTNachoChe.. on Feb 26 at 9:59 AM

Microsoft is looking to counter low-cost Chromebooks running Chrome OS

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will slash Windows 8.1 licensing fees by 70 percent for makers of low-cost (priced less than $250) computers and tablets. This means that licenses will now be priced at $15 instead of $50.
 
Microsoft has experienced slowing growth in the operating system market with Windows 8. As we reported earlier this month, sales of Windows 8 thus far have failed to live up to its predecessor, Windows 7.
 
In addition, customer reaction to Windows 8 has been tepid, forcing Microsoft to make changes to how users interact with the operating system via the already released Windows 8.1 and the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 1.

 
On top of its own internal issues that it has to grapple with, Microsoft is also fighting another battle on the low-end of the PC market against Google and computers running Chrome OS. In fact, low-cost Chromebooks running Chrome OS were able to secure 21 percent of the U.S. notebook market during 2013.
 
While a license fee reduction for Windows 8.1 will cover the PC and notebook market, the next step may be to make even more drastic price cuts with Windows RT. The Verge reported in December that Microsoft could make Windows RT free to OEMs in an effort to combat iOS- and Android-based tablets.

Source: Bloomberg



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That's great but...
By Motoman on 2/22/2014 10:11:33 AM , Rating: 4
...it's just going to make a Windows laptop even *more* obviously the better choice over a Chromebook. Because any day of the week, you can always find at least one full-blown Windows laptop for the same or less money than you could get a Chromebook for, with vastly better hardware specs.

Sure...a Chromebook can probably do all that lots of people need. But why pay more for a device that can do so much less in the first place?

Now it's just gonna get worse for Chromebooks. Instead of finding that 15.6" Windows 8.1 laptop with the quad-core processor and 500Gb hard drive for $259.99 at Newegg or Micro Center, it's gonna be $219.99.

A 15.6" Chromebook at $299.99 was already a terrible deal. Frankly, even if it was $199.99, it would still be a terrible deal, considering the paltry amount of money it would take to upgrade to the Windows machine. I don't think a Chromebook makes any sense at all unless you can sell it for maybe $99.99. And I don't see that happening.




RE: That's great but...
By Flunk on 2/22/2014 10:19:45 AM , Rating: 2
I think the big problem ChomeOS has is that it's competing with Android tablets on one end and cheap Windows notebooks on the other.

Both of which are significantly more functional. Why buy a notebook that's less useful that a tablet? I think that tablets will probably end up in the hands of most users who really only want the web and email.


RE: That's great but...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/2014 5:37:51 PM , Rating: 1
You know I have to wonder what the hell is in the drinking water whenever Chromebooks come up on this site.

Both tablets and Chromebooks are Internet focused devices, but that's where the similarities end. Hell the form factors are entirely different. To suggest they are directly competing is some kind of crazy talk.

You can't do anything on a tablet worthwhile, not really. Even composing emails are painfully slow. Anything requiring typing sucks for most people.

Chromebooks are actual laptops that you can get things done on. And even ChromeOS has more offline capability than a tablet.

Chromebooks actually have productivity suites where


RE: That's great but...
By tonyswash on 2/23/2014 11:23:29 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
You can't do anything on a tablet worthwhile, not really. Even composing emails are painfully slow. Anything requiring typing sucks for most people.


An alternative take on what the iPad can and cannot do, and what it's attraction is:

http://stratechery.com/2014/specialist-mac-general...


RE: That's great but...
By HomerTNachoCheese on 2/26/2014 9:59:18 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure why you were voted down. You have a valid point regardless if others do not agree. Your link had good illustrations.

Maybe only the first sentence should have been quoted because typing on anything smaller than a traditional keyboard sucks for most people. If I have to switch from proper typing to index finger/thumb typing I am less productive, especially when it comes to hitting the wrong letters.


RE: That's great but...
By HomerTNachoCheese on 2/26/2014 9:51:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Chromebooks actually have productivity suites where


I was going to follow suit and vote down, but I see you already cut yourself off there before you got too far...


RE: That's great but...
By fteoath64 on 2/22/2014 8:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
Kinda true. But MS is worried by Chromebooks and Android tablets in the low end because this cheap Win8 is targeting the same customer base. Bundling Office home and student edition helps somewhat in the product offering but hardware wise, Win8 tablets/laptops are crippled in performance compared to Android or Chrome-book.
Besides, Windows has a huge "support overhead" that the other platforms lack. It tends to have a high return rate or sold off cheap second-hand and replaced by an iPad or an Android tablet or even a Chrome-book. For most student users, all those devices are similar and can do most tasks needed for low end users.

There is good reason Microsoft needs that price parity in order to be considered. With existing pricing, it is not even in the considered list!.


RE: That's great but...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: That's great but...
By atechfan on 2/22/2014 11:08:56 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 8, approx. 200 million sold. ChromeOS, approx 2 million sold. Yeah, MS is really worried there.

This is all about Anroid 7 and 8 inch devices. That is where Google is a threat to MS. They want to make small Atom based Windows tablets price competetive.


RE: That's great but...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/2014 5:10:26 PM , Rating: 1
Nowhere in my post did I even hint that I believe ChromeOS was a threat to Microsoft...

In fact the only ones behaving as if that was true, are Microsoft! They're running the anti-ChromeOS adds.

I know you guys believe I'm some wacko Google CEO in disguise, but it would be nice if you actually READ my posts before accusing me of stuff.


RE: That's great but...
By Alexvrb on 2/23/2014 8:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
I know you're not a whacko Google CEO, because you don't kiss up to your buddy in the White House. At least not publicly. That's a dead giveaway that you're NOT a Google executive. Other than that though...

:-P


RE: That's great but...
By w8gaming on 2/22/2014 11:14:03 AM , Rating: 2
Problem is this. Comparison in the past:

cheap PC: fast CPU, big HDD, more applications, big RAM
tablet: slow CPU, small storage, less app, small RAM

however,

cheap PC: bad display, heavy, short battery life
tablet: nice display, light, long battery life, very portable

Nowadays, comparison looks like this:

cheap PC: fast CPU, big HDD, more app, bad display, heavy, short battery life, WiFi
cheap W8 tablet: ok CPU, flash storage, more app, nice display, light, long battery life, very portable, WiFi
chromebook: ok CPU, flash storage, less app, nice display, light, long battery life, WiFi
tablet: ok CPU, flash storage, less app, nice display, light, long battery life, very portable, LTE

There are more offering from MS now that competes better feature wise to cater for the mobile minded users. Lowering license fee makes it even more competitive. MS is really going to fight hard for its market share now. It is good that MS no longer thinks they can blindly copy Apple with its premium pricing strategy and expects they can come up on top.


RE: That's great but...
By YearOfTheDingo on 2/22/2014 12:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The problem is that Windows 8 running on a machine without touch-screen feel seriously broken. People are not going to buy something that doesn't seem to work even if it's cheap.


RE: That's great but...
By ppi on 2/22/2014 5:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
People do not buy Windows 8 notebooks, because the notebooks purchased in 2008-2012 era are still perfectly usable devices, and they do not need to be replaced. The only substantial and noticeable upgrade current notebook could have compared to 5 years old one is SSD and Haswell battery life.

Very few non-techie people upgrade OS anyway. And Win8 upgrade is not compelling without touchscreen (except for the fast wake-up).

Basically, anyone who needed and wanted to have notebook has one, and current growth market are the cheap devices. $50 for just OS is just too much for them, so I am glad M$ realized that mistake. More competition is always better for me.


RE: That's great but...
By kmmatney on 2/22/2014 9:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
Well - I bought 2 copies of Windows 8, simply because it was cheaper than buying a single copy of Windows 7. I wish I could get rid of Metro entirely (it still pops up in annoying ways all the time) but it was worth it being so much cheaper.


RE: That's great but...
By superstition on 2/22/2014 4:23:42 PM , Rating: 1
Because chrome is shiny and windows have to be cleaned.


RE: That's great but...
By inighthawki on 2/22/2014 8:59:31 PM , Rating: 2
But windows provide a clear value ;) herr derr


RE: That's great but...
By Alexvrb on 2/23/2014 8:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
You have clearly never owned a car with actual chrome. If you want it to STAY shiny, you have to polish it! :P


Windows 8.1 Pro
By mxnerd on 2/22/2014 11:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
At the same time, MS should cut the full pro version of Windows to $50. $199 is ridiculous.




RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By name99 on 2/22/2014 12:45:44 PM , Rating: 1
Fat chance.
MS is eventually going to be riding the same path to irrelevance as IBM and SUN --- give up on the low-end and extract everything they can from businesses that can afford to pay more and have no choice. (Irrelevance doesn't mean poverty, it just means not interesting to you and me and the consumer market generally.)

Where things will get interesting is see how they try to handle the business low-end. They can afford to charge nothing to consumers because they're lost that battle anyway. But what happens when the schools, and the cash register vendors, and the guys who use a sea of Windows across their cubicle farms, tell them they're going to switch to ChromeBooks unless they get discounts?

Obsessing over the particulars of ChromeBooks is pointless. That's not the issue. The issue is that we now have THREE different but apparently viable models for competition to low-end Windows:

- ChromeBooks (ie laptop form factor, but everything is done through the browser. Wins are low complexity, more difficult for the user to screw up. Permanent audit if you want --- with security implication of that.)

- Genuine tablet (iOS or Android). This gives up the high bandwidth of laptop screen, pointing device, keyboard, but gives you higher mobility and a nicer form factor if you are standing, lying, basically anything but sitting at a desk. Good for many non-traditional uses (package delivery, doctors doing rounds).

- Android stuck in a laptop form factor. Hasn't happened yet (in part because Google wants to push the Chromebook remote server agenda) but it's only a matter of time. Gives you the laptop form factor advantages, plus unlike ChromeBook, you have the easier and more comfortable programming model of a C-like language running locally with only (if necessary) the occasional network calls.

Windows doesn't really have a plan against ANY of these. They have a confusing mishmash of bits and pieces, with no coherency. Half the company is saying "Please use Office in your browser and all our Google Apps like stuff". The other half is saying "Anything other than REAL Office (on a Windows machine, with Macros and 25 years of accumulated 'functionality' is garbage, whether it's Pages on OSX, Office on Win RT, or Google Apps".

Is the future of business everything on the cloud or everything local? Is it tablets or is it laptops?
Obviously the answer is all of the above. JUST as obviously (to everyone except MS) each of the above requires rather different UI metaphors. MS WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS --- so they keep shipping "it's a dessert topping and floor wax, with all the complexity of both and more" --- a worse product at higher cost.

Apple and Google are happy with different (sometimes slightly different, sometimes very different) UIs and realize the problem is to make a variety of different devices all work together seamlessly. ICloud is Apple's answer to this, Google doesn't have a single name, but has a similar answer and a similar goal. I was saying this three YEARS ago and MS still hasn't got the message. They're still stuck on a single UI, everywhere, and they're so obsessed with pushing this that they NEVER push the functionality that matters --- to what extent do different MS devices all work together as a seamless whole?
Just compare --- the first thing that happens when you open a new Mac is it asks if you want to restore your software/data world from your previous Mac, and if so, automatically moves everything over (with a variety of options, using direct hard drive or the network or a Time Machine backup). Likewise when you buy a new iOS device.
Even Windows 8 does nothing like this. It's insane --- buy a new Win8 PC and it does NOTHING to help you move your world from the previous PC. (Of course Apple DOES do this ha ha --- Bootcamp will do the same thing of copying over your world from your previous PC.)

MS appears to have no interest in the fact that you have a computing life outside the one computer you're sitting at right now. And I expect by the time they DO wake up to this fact and all its implications, they'll fsck up the integration across devices every bit as much as they fscked the UI across devices. Instead of starting with "what are useful scenarios for the user" they'll start with "what's the one true Windows way to do this across every device in the universe, and how can we force that on everyone regardless of how little sense it makes". Whether it's upgrading your Win Phone or your Windows Server, MS will give you the same set of options, which will be too complicated for the phone user, and way too simple for the Server user.


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By atechfan on 2/22/2014 3:15:02 PM , Rating: 4
You know why Windows doesn't clone your data and settings from another PC? Because there is third party software that does this and every time MS adds functionality to Windows they get accused of being "anti-competitive".


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By name99 on 2/22/2014 4:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
And THIS is the problem with the entire Windows eco-system. None of you (inside and outside the company) are ever willing to learn anything from anyone.
Not matter what anyone tells you, the response is never: "that's a good point, we should do better", it's always a list of excuses for why the rest of the world is too stupid to understand the perfection of Microsoft.


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By ppi on 2/22/2014 5:46:57 PM , Rating: 1
I would be inclined to agree with you were it not for the fact, that while I always bitch at M$ products (especially in a sense how they are bloated), the second I try to use something else I always run into some combination of:
- Limited functionality
- Crap/illogical UI
- Limited cooperation between apps
that makes me wish to go back to M$.

So far the only exception are web browsers.


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/2014 5:51:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
- Crap/illogical UI


lmao have you SEEN Windows 8!??


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 5:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not matter what anyone tells you, the response is never: "that's a good point, we should do better", it's always a list of excuses for why the rest of the world is too stupid to understand the perfection of Microsoft.


^^^^^^^^^^


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 5:57:10 AM , Rating: 3
Wow, you got that from what I said? The point was that the ludicrous browser and media player anti-trust cases had left MS in a position that they could not include some basic functionality that Apple took for granted for fear of more slapping from the courts. It was not an excuse for MS, but a condemnation of government interference in business.


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 6:09:17 AM , Rating: 1
I seriously doubt Microsoft offering a migration tool would invoke the wrath of Government agencies.

Seemed like a weak excuse to me, that's why he called you on it.


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 2:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to post that you could migrate with Windows 8 and that MS has been more willing to risk government wrath, but I decided to fact check. It turns out that migration has been possible since Vista. I didn't know that, so the complaint that Windows PCs can't migrate is a bogus one. It can be done over USB, over a network, or using a flash stick.


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By superPC on 2/22/2014 5:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
- ChromeBooks (ie laptop form factor, but everything is done through the browser. Wins are low complexity, more difficult for the user to screw up. Permanent audit if you want --- with security implication of that.)

- Genuine tablet (iOS or Android). This gives up the high bandwidth of laptop screen, pointing device, keyboard, but gives you higher mobility and a nicer form factor if you are standing, lying, basically anything but sitting at a desk. Good for many non-traditional uses (package delivery, doctors doing rounds).

- Android stuck in a laptop form factor. Hasn't happened yet (in part because Google wants to push the Chromebook remote server agenda) but it's only a matter of time. Gives you the laptop form factor advantages, plus unlike ChromeBook, you have the easier and more comfortable programming model of a C-like language running locally with only (if necessary) the occasional network calls.


MS has answer for all of the above question and that is windows 8 (or its descendant). It has touch interface, it has desktop, it has internet (heck you can run chrome OS on it).

I know that you and a lot of people here think that MS should tear windows 8 apart. With different interface targeting different devices. Just remember that MS is a software company that makes profit from its software sales.
Google is primarily an advertising company. That’s where most of their profit comes from. They don’t care if they have 3-4 different OS, as long as people use their OS and services they can keep pushing ads to them.

Apple is a hardware company. The more OS and device tied to an OS they have, the better. They can sell more stuff to the same person.

MS is a software company. The more features their OS had, the more people would buy them. Simple as that


RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: Windows 8.1 Pro
By compuser2010 on 2/23/2014 4:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
2000 Professional, XP Professional, and Vista Business were each $300. Vista Ultimate was $400 ($320 after SP1 released).

Not sure they're still available at retail, but 7 Professional was/is $300 and 7 Ultimate was/is $320.


MIcrosoft is nervous
By cscpianoman on 2/22/2014 11:49:43 AM , Rating: 1
The operating system world used to be Microsoft >95% market share, and then the spattering of Apple OS and flavors of Linux. For the past several years there are more and more options and perfectly reasonable alternatives.

1. Apple has created an environment that is easy to use and an app store that is second to none. But, on top of that, if you needed you could run Windows. However, their philosophy is you shouldn't have to.

2. Microsoft really screwed up with Windows 8. Why drop the price like this? Microsoft had fantastic things going for it with Windows 7, but they were their own worst enemies by riding the XP wave for far too long then cutting the OS cycle into every few years. With that decision and the horrible impelementation/marketing of 8, the consumer backlashed.

3. The tablet market is not only eroding PC sales, but hurting the Windows environment. Apple jumped on the bandwagon early and is obviously doing very well. Android is catching up with Android OS and Chromebook. Windows is now mired with less consumer confidence in their product even though some of the product is pretty darn good, ie. windows phone.

To create that all encompassing environment, Microsoft is really going to have to step up the game. Give the consumer choice, drop the price and don't forget to take good care of their business environment.




RE: MIcrosoft is nervous
By someguy743 on 2/22/2014 6:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm using Windows 8.1 right now and I really liked it after I bought "Start 8" and configured it just the way I want. I use Modern UI about 10-20% of the time.

I bought an (old school?) HP Ivy Bridge i7 based desktop PC. Once I added a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD, a 2TB hard drive, a Logitech K800 wireless keyboard and a Logitech MX Performance wireless mouse I couldn't be happier.

Believe me, the Samsung SSD, the wireless mouse and wireless keyboard make all the difference in the world. I also really like Intel WIDI wireless technology that allows me to connect with my Samsung Smart TV. If I want to, I can just take my keyboard and mouse and walk into the living room and do everything on a much bigger screen on the couch.

I think this is what people would really like ... at home anyway. Maybe the office too if the security is good. You just carry your wireless keyboard and wireless mouse around. Hopefully, new battery technologies will make everything even better in the future. I bring a tablet, smartphone or an older laptop with me only when I travel depending on what I plan to be doing.


RE: MIcrosoft is nervous
By drycrust3 on 2/23/2014 3:50:38 AM , Rating: 2
Is the link between the keyboard and the PC encrypted?


Oh, good...
By Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer on 2/22/2014 10:38:23 AM , Rating: 2
Now I'll only be wasting $15 instead of $50 on my next small Linux laptop. ;)




It won't make a difference
By mike66 on 2/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: It won't make a difference
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: It won't make a difference
By w8gaming on 2/22/2014 11:27:41 AM , Rating: 2
The manufacturers in their greed, also will realize why they should be selling Chromebook and Android tablets so cheap and start charging more. That's the real motivation for MS to lower the licensing fee. To promote greed.


pointless
By Shadowmaster625 on 2/24/2014 9:01:48 AM , Rating: 1
The OS is simply terrible. Absolutely terrible, terribly glitchy, buggy, unstable, unintuitive, laggy, etc. The breadth of the failure is astonishing. Everything you do on a windows tablet feels broken. For example there are times when you will close the onscreen keyboard and a window that was maximized before you opened the keyboard will now be stuck in a quasi-maximized state where it thinks it is maximized but there is actually a huge chunk missing from it. So you have to click the maximize button not once but twice in order for it to be fixed. Is that a big deal? Well, in itself not really, but when every single thing you do is riddled with bugs like that, it just makes you want to throw the thing in the trash.




"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














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