Some say there is no free lunch in this world, and you have to pay one way or another. And while this statement holds weight, market dynamics and the competition is forcing Microsoft to look beyond its traditional business model.

The traditional business model of selling Windows licenses to end users or OEMs.

Not too long ago reports and screenshots of Windows 8.1 Update 1 with Bing surfaced, which was rather perplexing since Microsoft has already made Bing Smart Search a core part of the Windows 8.1 experience. But now some new details have popped up.

According to the ever reliable Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, this mysterious version of Windows 8.1 is actually a bold new experiment for Redmond.

While this version has little in terms of differences from the other flavors of the operating system, it could be a way for the company to offer Bing related incentive to OEMs or end users. In other words, if this works out, Microsoft could make Windows free in the future.

Yes, you read that right — a full version of Windows given away for free and monetized by Bing ads and other such incentives. Who would have predicted this a decade back?

Anyway, take all this with a heap of salt.

This is just an experiment for now, and could be changed, revised, or completely dismissed. Fact is that not all users are keen of having to deal with ads and promotional offers right inside their operating system, and would rather pay for the license.

If you are one of these then take to the comment box to let your thoughts be known! Do so even if you are not, and would like to see Microsoft take this route.

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  • Ray C

    I guess we will see

    • Fahad Ali


  • Lee Keels

    Well, you know that will get the ads hacked right out of it, so bring it!

    • Fahad Ali

      Maybe Microsoft will limit some features in the free version requiring micro transactions to unlock them, a tier based approach.

      However it pans out, it should be awfully interesting.

  • Rodney Longoria

    I don’t mind dealing with ads so much if they are used in the proper places. In Skype (desktop version) for instance, ads show up in the space at the top and it is easy enough for me to ignore. If I do a search of any kind and ads pop in, so what? I see those on all the search engines now as it is. Now, if the ads were a “pushed” notification when I open up Notepad or some other app … then I’d have a problem! Otherwise, for free, I can deal with it.

  • Aaditya Menon

    If such a version comes out , then I think we may see ads floating around the desktop , the start screen and many other places.

    Or they might just install Bing apps on W8.1 and disable the option to unnstall them . Or It might be bing rewards being exchanged for a Windows 8.1 License…