Windows 8 / Office bundle costs OEMs $30 after Microsoft slashes prices

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Deep price cuts for Windows 8 are being given to Microsoft's OEM partners who manufacturer touchscreen-enabled computers and devices, or at least that is according to anonymous sources trusted by the Wall Street Journal. The report indicates that a $120 copy of Windows 8 may cost OEMs as little as $30 while Microsoft's price reduction remains in effect -- that's a remarkably generous 75 percent discount.

It's worth noting the Journal's sources made no distinction between the desktop and RT versions of Windows 8 and Office.

A Microsoft spokesman didn't confirm the rumor, but told the WSJ that the software maker continually aims to "work with partners to ensure that Windows is available across a diverse range of devices."

The purported price breaks began in "late February" for devices equipped with touch-sensitive displays, particularly those measuring 10.8 inches or less. For these pint-sized devices -- a line-up of mostly tablets and convertibles -- the $30 price tag includes not only Windows 8, but also bundles Microsoft Office at no additional cost.

For touchscreen-equipped devices measuring larger than 10.8 inches, the 75 percent discount offered to OEMs is still given sans the free license for Microsoft Office.

A report by Digitimes published yesterday supports rumors regarding substantial OEM discounts for Windows 8 and Office products; however, its own sources suggest the discounts are not yet in effect. Additionally, Digitimes indicates prices for Windows Pro plus Office 2013 will be only $20, rather than $30.

Could this be part of that Windows 8 "re-launch" we heard about in January? These discounts may help boost the proliferation of Windows 8 and Office 2013 by lowering the overall prices of devices. Although Microsoft's price cuts won't affect end-user pricing for Windows 8 and Office 2013 directly, sources suggest touch-sensitive devices could drop by nearly $100 this fall.

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