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Microsoft Windows 8 Operating System Forum

    
Report: Microsoft Experimenting With Free Windows 8.1 With Bing
engine




msg:4650117
 6:30 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well, if true, it'll certainly shake things up.

I think the problem with Win 8 on a desktop is that it's horrible. It's fine for a tablet and phone.

Will free make a difference? It'll probably help, but if they are buying a desktop with Win 8.1 there are going to be more users alienated, imho.


Microsoft is currently experimenting with a free version of Windows 8.1 that could boost the number of people using the operating system. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is building "Windows 8.1 with Bing," a version that will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. While early versions of the software have leaked online, we understand that Windows 8.1 with Bing is an experimental project that aims to bring a low-cost version of Windows to consumers. ZDNet first reported some Windows 8.1 with Bing details earlier this week.Report: Microsoft Experimenting With Free Windows 8.1 With Bing [theverge.com]


Earlier story
Microsoft Said to Cut Windows Price 70% to Counter Rivals [webmasterworld.com]

 

bill




msg:4650194
 12:50 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I imposed Windows 8 on myself much earlier than most, so I've learned to work around the Metro problem, and I personally don't get a lot of the outcry against the OS. As long as you stay away from that Metro Start screen it's not a bad OS on the desktop side of things. However, it's the Start screen and the Metro side of things that is driving people nuts...thus the need for previously unthinkable steps like this.

graeme_p




msg:4650309
 11:50 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I do not think this is about increasing the number of people using Windows 8. What do MS gain from switching people from Windows 7 to Windows 8?

I think its about strengthening Bing and MS cloud services. Service subscriptions are more profitable than selling software (which is why Adobe etc. are so keen on it as well).

It is also probably connected to the new CEOs background - he was previously "Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise".

drhowarddrfine




msg:4650349
 4:16 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Microsoft loses a half a billion dollars on Bing every quarter, last I checked, meaning no one uses it, which I'm sure you all already know. This may be an attempt to replicate what Google's services have already been doing for years.

Along with cutting Windows by 70%, this is sending up all kinds of red flags to me.

tangor




msg:4650368
 5:52 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Those who do use Bing like it much better. :)

Anything "free" is going to get attention. Anything free from M$ will really get attention.

I do my WORK on Win7, still have XP Pro in house, too. But I find some things to like about Win8 after shutting down the bling etc. for the desktop. On a phone... it's actually not bad at all.

Samizdata




msg:4650384
 7:55 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anything free from M$ will really get attention.

Indeed. The problem with the quoted article, though, is that - apart from the headline and first sentence - it consistently talks about "a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users".

A low-cost upgrade may well be attractive, but it isn't the same as a free one.

...

goodoldweb




msg:4650443
 10:44 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have win8 installed on a couple of systems. I used "classic shell" which removes all the bling and turn the UI to a win7 like. No problems whatsoever after installing that extension.

Love win8... bring on the free version. It will really change things around for Microsoft. (i hope!)

incrediBILL




msg:4650452
 12:07 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think the problem with Win 8 on a desktop is that it's horrible. It's fine for a tablet and phone.


This concept of desktop vs tablet is one people have to get past as the only difference is a keyboard and whether or not the screen has touch or not. My tablet has a keyboard, if I set it in front of a big shiny black box and told you it was my desktop screen the only way you would know I'm a damn liar is my desktop doesn't use screens smaller than 24" minimum. :)


Win 8's primary interface doesn't work as well without a touch screen and that's why I predict future "desktop" machines will start coming with touch screens by default as they come down in price which will make the desktop THIS vs tablet THAT argument obsolete as Win 8 will work fine all around.

What really blows is a Win 8 laptop without a touch screen, those should be illegal to sell.

So IMO that's where it all goes south because Win 8 doesn't provide a non-touch mode which would just default to the old Win 7 looking desktop.

drhowarddrfine




msg:4650460
 12:49 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Those who do use Bing like it much better.
I heard one of those guys just died and the other got into water colors in a big way. In any case, Microsoft still loses a half billion every quarter on Bing. Compare that to Google, which makes billions and billions each quarter, well, there is no comparison.
incrediBILL




msg:4650466
 1:49 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Now that I've had time to chew on this a bit, I don't even think this is aimed at getting new customers but trying to keep the old ones from bailing to Mac or Ubuntu. More importantly, the little amount of Win 8 upgrade money is trivial compared to what's left on the table in potential Office upgrades or Bing ad revenues. If they don't get Win 8 they can't consider any of the other upgrades so MS is stupid between a rock and a metro place if they don't get more installations.

MS basically released "New Coke" (Win 8) but was smart enough to maintain a couple of "Coke Classic" (Win 7) inside to address the needs of both customers.

Whether this duality wins in the end remains to be seen but I'm loving how stable Win 8 appears to be over the prior incarnations which is where it really counts.

henry0




msg:4650522
 1:58 pm on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

My range goes from a Linux machine to 7 and 8.1 (my wife's)
I will probably go for it, since my 7 has no touch screen capability it should be OK, I like touch screen on my Droid, but not on a desktop or 17 inch desk laptop.

Samizdata




msg:4650524
 2:30 pm on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't even think this is aimed at getting new customers but trying to keep the old ones from bailing to Mac or Ubuntu

Apple has been offering their latest OS free for several months now (Ubuntu rather longer, of course).

But I doubt that Microsoft is worried too much about bailing in either case.

Being perceived as a dinosaur may have more to do with it.

...

SEOMike




msg:4650773
 6:07 pm on Mar 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Win 8's primary interface doesn't work as well without a touch screen and that's why I predict future "desktop" machines will start coming with touch screens by default

I have two 27" monitors that are more than arms-length away. There is no way I'll be "upgrading" to an OS that requires me to sit closer and get my greasy fingerprints all over them. Multi-touch devices don't offer the fine control of my mouse, so I would have to switch back and forth between a mouse and a touch pad. I'm not likely to do that either.

MS needs to get over it and release a version called Windows.Work and let us business owners carry on. I can't imagine a parts store or mechanic's shop ever using a multi-touch device as an interface. They keep their keyboards encased in thick plastic and their mouses are greasy messes. MS might lose their grip on businesses if they make simple input devices obsolete.

engine




msg:4650779
 6:34 pm on Mar 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

The long term win is going to come from added value apps and services. Getting over the hurdle of having to give the os away for a song is a fundamental shift for MS, but perhaps it's needed.

I've been trying to get the wife to use her new Win 8 desktop machine, but she absolutely hates the massive change in interface. It's not just win 8, but the apps. She hates IE on there, even if she's not using the metro-style interface. Why? It's just too different, and she's so used to her Win XP which she's very happy with. It does everything she wants/needs to do. I gave her the machine! Even 'free' Win 8 hasn't worked with her, yet.

I know she's not alone because her friends and work colleagues have agreed on the matter: They dislike it.

Technically, I like it.

I won't be using touch on a desktop for any extended period, it's too difficult and impractical.

I'd like to think that Microsoft are working hard to get over this challenge that new users face.

henry0




msg:4650783
 6:59 pm on Mar 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Win 8's primary interface doesn't work as well without a touch screen and that's why I predict future "desktop" machines will start coming with touch screens by default


Could you elaborate? Thanks!

graeme_p




msg:4650939
 8:26 am on Mar 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is no way I'll be "upgrading" to an OS that requires me to sit closer and get my greasy fingerprints all over them.


In the long run you will either have to upgrade, or switch to another OS. Only a minority will switch.

I know she's not alone because her friends and work colleagues have agreed on the matter: They dislike it.


How many of them have switched to another OS as a result?

engine




msg:4650944
 8:39 am on Mar 4, 2014 (gmt 0)


How many of them have switched to another OS as a result?


None. They are still using XP or Win 7 (mostly XP). Once someone's built up a resistance it's difficult to get them to change.

superclown2




msg:4651038
 3:16 pm on Mar 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

In the long run you will either have to upgrade, or switch to another OS.


I don't have to do anything, I have choices. If M$ don't fulfil my requirements someone else will.

Can you imagine fitting a screen protector to a 24 inch monitor with all the dust and airbubbles? I think I'd rather get a job. And don't get me started on greasy fingermarks when I'm doing high level graphics work.

Nope, a desktop isn't the same as a tablet, let alone a smartphone. And having spent 15 years learning how to work with a mouse quickly and efficiently I for one have no intention of downgrading from 7 to 8.

IanKelley




msg:4651697
 10:06 am on Mar 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I personally don't get a lot of the outcry against the OS

Me either, the first things I did after I installed Windows 8 was set it up to boot straight to desktop and created my own sleep/shutdown shortcuts. At that point it became identical to Windows 7 except that it cold boots slightly faster.

Now with 8.1 the same options are available to the less technically inclined. Where's the problem?

More on topic, does anyone know how Windows 8.1 "With Bing" is any different from the normal edition (which bundles all manner of MS cloud bloatware including Bing and IE)? It sounds to me like it's just an excuse to say Bing.

dcheney




msg:4651708
 10:27 am on Mar 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I acquired a new Win 8.1 desktop about a month ago - had to replace a desktop that was reaching its end of life.

It is not my primary machine, but I do use it for about an hour a day.

My reaction is that it is the worst piece of cr*p I've seen in a very very long time.

I still don't have a clue what is installed on the computer - since their is no list of programs. The first week I had to shut it down by using the power switch because I couldn't find where they had hidden shutdown options. I have been in metro all of 2 minutes - just long enough to make sure I never see it again.

And its not like I'm new to computers, I was working on IBM PCs when they still had cassette ports!

At this point, when folks ask me what computer to buy, I have to tell them to only consider non-Win 8 computers (either win 7, mac, or linux).

bill




msg:4651910
 6:42 am on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I still don't have a clue what is installed on the computer - since their is no list of programs. The first week I had to shut it down by using the power switch because I couldn't find where they had hidden shutdown options. I have been in metro all of 2 minutes - just long enough to make sure I never see it again.

  • Hint: enable Boot to Desktop [howtogeek.com]

    On my machines it doesn't say "Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in". Instead it says, "When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start". The effect is the same. You won't see the Start screen unless you hit the Windows key.

    Also I suggest selecting the "Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start"

  • dcheney




    msg:4651941
     10:29 am on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

    I found the first one quickly :-)

    I don't like the Show the Apps because it is back in Metro - I just want a nice list like the old days of Win7 :-) [but at least I can see what's on the machine!]

    Samizdata




    msg:4651967
     1:53 pm on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

    I don't like the Show the Apps because it is back in Metro

    Have to agree, I found no redeeming features in Metro whatsoever.

    But there are many third-party freebies that can make Windows 8 usable, all you have to do is navigate to your favourite search engine and enter something like "disable Metro". I did it in the first hour and chose Classic Shell.

    If Microsoft had offered a similar option they wouldn't be having such a hard time with Windows 8.

    ...

    mcneely




    msg:4652410
     5:30 am on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

    Windows is on my short-list these days - Microsoft is on notice.

    I absolutely loathe Windows 8 (8.1) - so much so in fact that I've put it on the shelf right along side of Windows ME and Vista. Windows ME stayed on my machine for a week - Vista stayed on my machine for 3 days - Windows 8 stayed on my machine for 4 hours.

    If I want touch, I'll get one of those extremely underpowered tablets or something -

    Microsoft needs to quit making "toys", and go back to making tools.

    If the touch screen keyboard was such a wonderful thing, then we wouldn't be seeing the explosion in usb add-on keyboards for some of this crap .. people on the plane setting up their 13 inch flat panel plugged into their presumably superior tablet and so it goes.

    This whole foray into apps and toys will hopefully end soon, because if it doesn't, the so-called Microsoft dinosaur will definitely become extinct, replaced by the real players like Ubuntu (open source Linux) or very possibly, Mac.

    I've got very few machines that still sport the Windows OS - and upon after seeing the direction that Microsoft thinks it wants to go, these machines will probably end up with a Linux based OS.

    graeme_p




    msg:4652428
     7:48 am on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

    You may switch, but MS's core market, businesses and people who want the same OS at home as they use at work, will not.
    I increasingly see people buying tablets as PC substitutes for home use so losing some of those users do not matter.

    So MS loses 0.1% of its desktop users, mostly in declining or low growth segments, but strengthens its position in the fast growing tablet market. Sounds like a good decision to me! Provided it does strengthen its position in the tablet market.

    I have used Linux for over a decade, and it is clear to me that most people have no interest in switching from Windows. They found it hard enough to learn to use Windows and are terrified of having to learn something new. Those that can be persuaded to switch go to MacOS for home use or, sometimes, small business use.

    Samizdata




    msg:4652452
     12:16 pm on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

    terrified of having to learn something new

    Terrified, no.

    Annoyed, irritated, disgusted, exasperated, indignant, resentful, unhappy and unwilling to pay Microsoft for the dubious "privilege" would be more accurate terms.

    None of the businesses I deal with are using Windows 8 as they don't consider the massive disruption worthwhile.

    ...

    mcneely




    msg:4652515
     7:24 pm on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

    Whether these people are terrified or not, it doesn't matter. More and more these days we're seeing machines shipped with Linux (ubuntu) pre-installed .. not too unlike *Windows pre-installed - Once people figure it out, it will only be a matter of time before they find their comfort in an OS that doesn't 'force' them into spending a ton of money for proprietary software ... Right now, Microsoft is playing on the ignorance and the presumed discomfort of the public in order to make the sale .. one day tho', it's hoped that people wise up to the fact that they can have their cake, and eat it too, via the various Linux builds that exist out there.

    graeme_p




    msg:4652697
     1:08 pm on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

    @Dsmizdata, what OS are they using? They are probably staying with Windows 7, so MS still gets licence fees - at least on new machines. At some point they will have to upgrade (even if they defer it until Windows 7 extended support ends in 2020).

    @mcneely, I hope so, but I very much doubt most people will switch. Machines with Linux pre-installed are a TINY proportion of global sales and it will take a lot of growth before it becomes a threat to MS.

    mcneely




    msg:4652731
     2:49 pm on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

    a TINY proportion of global sales


    Sort of sounds like Firefox going up against Internet Explorer in a familiar way doesn't it? I recall people telling me that Firefox didn't stand a chance when it came to going up against the behemoth Microsoft.

    Of course this is the internet - We've had our Search Engine wars and our Browser wars, so I don't see any upcoming Operating System wars being too totally far fetched in the larger scheme of things.

    Even Google has positioned itself in the market as it might relate to Operating Systems so it's quite possible that anything can happen.

    Microsoft is absolutely on notice these days, and tho' it might be a few years yet, I'm confident that open source will end up winning the day.

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