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.
Sales of the Google Chromebook rocketed in 2013. 1.76 million units were sold compared to just 0.4 million last year. Chromebooks accounted for 21% of all notebook sales, up from a negligible share in 2012, and 8% of total computer and tablet sales, up from 0.1% in 2012.
Microsoft likely hopes that lowering license fees may encourage manufacturers to release more tablets running Windows and more low-cost notebooks to fight off the increasingly popular Chromebook.