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Microsoft may cut licensing costs to help Windows compete on smaller devices

Microsoft may cut licensing costs to help Windows compete on smaller devices

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Microsoft is reportedly cutting the price it offers Windows to its OEMs in an effort to push new form factors later this year.The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft has been offering price breaks on its Windows 8 and Office software to "help spur the development of small, touch-enabled laptop computers." The Verge has previously revealed that Windows Blue, the codename for the next version of Windows, is targeted at 7-inch and 8-inch devices. It appears that the software giant wants its OEMs to focus on these devices and it's making it budget friendly to do so.

Windows Blue is designed to be a low-cost version of Windows that will be more of an update to Windows 8, rather than a whole new version of Windows. Microsoft is taking an approach that links Blue with some new hardware that will debut later this year, with a number of software and UI improvements in the works. Asus CEO, Jerry Shen, spoke to The Wall Street Journal and hinted that Microsoft's planned changes will "help give momentum to the notebook and netbook and Eee PC [Asus's netbook line] area." Shen believes this will help Asus "with a better selling price than before" in the third or fourth quarter this year.

Microsoft is currently preparing a public preview version of Windows Blue that's expected to debut in the coming months. The software maker recently passed the initial Milestone 1 phase of development and The Verge understands that Bing will play a big part in Windows Blue search improvements. Internet Explorer 11, the latest version of Microsoft's browser software, will also debut in Windows Blue later this year.