After months of wait, and several leaked screenshots, Microsoft have finally confirmed the rumors about a new version of its operating system. Windows 8.1 with Bing is now official.

We first heard about this SKU a while back, with the idea being helping OEMs build and bring to market lower costs devices. This required them to set Bing as the default search engine within Internet Explorer, though the user would retain the ability to change it back to anything they preferred.

But since IE already comes with Bing as the default search choice, it is not exactly sure if this warranted the creation of a new version of Windows.

Maybe some other things are also in by default, for example the Bing Bar or something like that.

In any case, the official announcement confirms that OEMs are already working on devices that are powered by this operating system, and we should see new hardware unveiled over the next few weeks.

It also provides Redmond’s reasoning behind a low-cost version of Windows 8.1:

“The end result is that more people—across consumer and commercial—will have access to an even broader selection of new devices with all the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 provides, and get Office too, all at a really affordable price. Additionally, as reach expands, the opportunity for developers and their apps also increases.”

All valid reasons, and then some!

For those of you wondering whether there are any visual or feature changes in Windows 8.1 with Bing, rest assured that this version of the operating system will look exactly like Windows 8.1, so nothing changes for the end user.

Except the lower price of entry of hardware powered by the operating system.

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  • Ray C

    Maybe they should start making deals like Google does. You can’t buy or download anything these days without it trying to make you install Google Toolbar and set Google as your search engine

    • Lars

      Fair point. Google has those kinds of offers everywhere. I think it would be smart for Bing to try the same thing. I like that line of thinking.

  • Steve Fulton

    This is good news in my eyes. Bing should be packaged with 8.1 because it makes too much sense for it not be. Logical step for the company.

  • mitch

    what I would like to say that is very strange my school in Australia already has this windows 8.1 version on almost every pc in there. And the version has been on for about two weeks? DO schools got it early?