Last week we reported about a new Windows 8.1 Update 1 build that got leaked which seemed to be a new SKU from Microsoft. This Windows 8.1 build: 9600.17024.winblue_gdr_s14sku_partner.140214-1700 was named Windows 8.1 with Bing.
With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has started integrating Bing directly into the OS which might raise anti-trust issues in EU. We guess it then that this new SKU might be targeted towards EU where Microsoft might be selling Windows 8.1 with Bing instead of just Windows 8.1 branding.
Today, Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet reported that this Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU might be the way Microsoft will offer OS for free to OEMs.
This new SKU, from what my contacts are saying, is key to Microsoft’s experimentation with monetization. I hear this SKU has only minor differences from the current Windows 8.1 SKUs, but that it may be a kind of placeholder for the future when consumer operating systems are, basically, free. I’m not sure if this SKU will offer OEMs and/or consumers new Bing-related incentives by the time Update 1 is made available this spring.
Microsoft has not yet officially confirmed anything about this new offering, we will have to wait and see to know more about it.