Earlier today, Microsoft unveiled a new operating system called Windows 8.1 with Bing.
Windows 8.1 with Bing is a lower-cost Windows operating system that is cheaper for manufacturers to buy and, theoretically, cheaper for customers to buy.
The new OS is exactly the same as Windows 8.1 with the most recent patches installed. However, there’s one major difference and you’ve probably already guessed it: Windows 8.1 with Bing sets Bing as the default search engine in Internet Explorer.
Users can edit the default search engine in Internet Explorer, but OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) will not be able to change the default search engine.
Does that seem like a minor difference? You bet it is. Nevertheless, Microsoft is getting excited about it and announced that the first ‘Windows 8.1 with Bing PCs’ will be announced at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan, which takes place in June.
Customers won’t be able to directly purchase Windows 8.1 with Bing, so don’t get your hopes up about finding a cheaper version of Windows.
Windows explained why it was releasing the Bing version in an eloquent blog post:
“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.”
I’m pretty surprised Microsoft used “awesomeness” in an official quote. Is Microsoft trying to appeal to the under 50 crowd? No way!
In any case, this move by Microsoft is designed to increase the number of Windows 8 devices on the market while also making them cheaper. The tradeoff – not being able to change Bing until after it’s in the hands of consumers – is not a big deal for either OEMs or consumers.
Ultimately, Microsoft has released few details about the new OS and nobody even knows what the pricing will be. Microsoft hasn’t publically advertised the OS and it’s catering solely to OEMs.