I told you there is no free lunch in this world! The community went wild a few days back when it emerged that Microsoft might be readying a free version of Windows, titled Windows 8.1 with Bing.

Take this news with the recent report that the company wants to make low cost and affordable devices a reality, add two and two together, and we just might be able to smell what Microsoft is cooking.

Or we just might go with these leaked internal documents that claim that Windows 8.1 with Bing is just a version that Redmond is developing for devices that are at the lower end of the tier. This is for OEMs that create affordable hardware and would come with Bing as the default search engine.

Here is what the documents say:

“Windows 8.1 with Bing is a new Windows edition that helps OEMs add Windows to low-cost devices while driving end user usage of Microsoft Services such as Bing and OneDrive. Windows 8.1 with Bing is similar to other editions of Windows and should be imaged, updated, and deployed the same as any other Windows edition.”

While users will be able to change the default search engine configuration, hardware partners will be locked in and not allowed to select their preferred search service, other than Bing.

Now why would anyone want to do that, I wonder?

“OEMs will not be able to change the default search engine with the SearchScopes unattend setting, Registry key, or 3rd party installation tools. When a user starts Internet Explorer, Bing is automatically set to the default Search Engine and will override any OEM-configured search provider. No other Internet Explorer defaults are changed.”

Microsoft better have a significant price cut prepared for this — heaven knows we need some really affordable Windows powered devices for people that are on the fence and want a taste of what Windows 8 really brings to the table.

File these as rumors for now, but there just might be some truth behind this.

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  1. If it’s just for low cost devices that’s fine. Heck, they already cut licensing fees.

  2. They cut the price of the version and of course they want it back from ads. If you like freedom, pay more money.

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