Microsoft Set To Partner To Deliver Cheap Win 10 Sub 13″ Notebooks In Q4 Up Against Surging Chromebooks
They are also working with PC manufacturers Lenovo and Acer to deliver sub $300 notebooks that will have Win 10 and compete head on with Googles Chromebook in the education market.
Notebook manufacturers who deliver notebooks over 14″ will not be given a discount on the Win 10 OS license fee despite consumers being offered an upgrade of Win 10 for free.
Several manufacturers including executives from Acer and ASUS have said that Microsoft is concerned about the growth of Chromebooks and that by reducing the cost of Windows 10 on sub 14″ notebook they hope that PC manufacturers will push Win 10 over the Chrome OS.
According to Digitimes Microsoft is reducing the discounts on Windows licensing rates for many notebook makers, specifically for Windows 10, according to notebook manufacturing sources attending Computex.
Microsoft is also set to allow apps developed for iOS and Android to run and be sold in their new app store and on Windows 10.
This move comes after Microsoft began offering discounts on Windows with Bing licensing last year in a bid to help partners better compete with Google Chromebooks.
These discounts were set at different rates based on the selling price of the notebook, with the lowest licensing charge being no charge (free), according to the Digitimes sources.
However, with the upcoming Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft has adjusted its licensing scheme, with discounts being offered based on hardware specifications instead of sales price and with the lowest charge increasing from zero to US$15, the sources indicated.
At Computex, Microsoft has announced that it will deliver shortly Windows 10 running on smartphones, tablets, notebooks, gaming, all-in-one and IoT devices, with the demos at the show focusing on five major scenarios (Home/ Entertainment, Productivity, Education, Retail, Security/ Manageability) what is not known is when this capability will be delivered to market.
The company has already announced that it is partnering with hardware players including Samsung Electronics, Dell and Pegatron Technology to pre-install Office programs on Android devices.
There are also questions in the supply chain as to whether Microsoft feels it really needs to be aggressive in the PC space as it is set to reap large rewards from selling subscription services to Windows 10 users who want to upgrade applications that run on the new OS.
Sources at Computex claim that Microsoft is set to become less PC focused and more cloud services and application focused.
They said that Microsoft’s future business will be more about cloud computing services, especially Azure-based Big Data analysis, which will see them compete head on with compete with Google.
Microsoft executives that I spoke to at Computex said that Microsoft does not wish to continue the same price-cutting strategy it maintained in 2014 to defend against Chromebook penetration in the market. What they want to do is deliver software services and help PC manufacturers deliver cheaper notebooks that compete head on in the education and sub 13″ market where Chrome is making headway.
Microsoft said that they will partner with Acer, Lenovo and Inventec to offer Windows 10 notebooks priced in the US$169-249.
This comes after Microsoft has already made plans to cooperate with Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) to launch an inexpensive 11.6-inch notebook priced at US$179 for the education market. Microsoft now plans to also partner with Acer and Lenovo to release these inexpensive Windows 10 notebooks between mid-August and the end of the fourth quarter.
Details of the inexpensive Windows 10 strategy include an 11.6-inch notebook (US$169) and a 14-inch clamshell-type notebook (US$199) from Acer and a 14-inch convertible Yoga notebook (US$249) from Lenovo. These devices will be manufactured by Inventec, and will be situated in the market to compete against Chromebooks.
The three notebooks are expected to bring pricing of the Windows 10-based notebooks to a new low.
Moreover, Instead of being built around Intel Bay Trail-T CR processors, which are broadly used in entry-level devices, these machines will use higher-end Broadwell processors, showing Microsoft’s aggressiveness in support of the project.
When asked if the Microsoft project will be able to stem the growth of Chromebook shipments, Digitimes Research indicated that the program will best show that Microsoft has the ability to offer inexpensive notebooks,.
Digitimes Research did note though that the project will greatly benefit Inventec. The ODM has recently seen its relationships with notebook vendors dwindle down to Hewlett Packard (HP) being its only major customer.
This project will re-establish Inventec’s ODM partnership with Acer after three years.
Digitimes Research estimates that the two notebook models from Acer will increase Inventec’s notebook shipments by over 500,000 units in the second half of the year, but the inexpensive Windows 10-based Yoga notebook will only have limited shipment contribution to Inventec in 2015, as volume shipments may not begin until midway through the fourth quarter.