Microsoft is cutting the cost for OEM’s to license a copy of Windows 8.1 by around 70% – from $50 to $15 per copy. Will the consumer see a price reduction in devices? Maybe not. But, the OEM will see a larger profit margin and will have more incentive to create new devices. Eventually, there will be some lower cost tablets or similar cost yet higher quality tablets.
Another gotcha – they are only for machines that are to cost below a $250 threshold. So, these would be extremely low cost to begin with. This is to help against the competition of Chromebooks and the like.
PC makers have struggled in the face of dwindling sales, and so have had to slash the retail cost of their computers, and that has eaten into profits. The push towards including costly touch-friendly screens in new PCs hasn’t helped either. Sure, PC makers could scrap the touch element, but doing so is risky — Windows 8.x is built with touch in mind, and the days when OEMs can offer Windows 7 instead are drawing to a close. End of sales for PCs with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate preinstalled has been set at October 31, 2014.