Microsoft announced at the Build conference that it's making Windows available to hardware makers for free for smartphones and tablets with a display of under 9-inch! On top of that, the software giant will also offer a one-year subscription to Office 365 as an extra incentive to buy Windows-based mobile devices.
It appears a lot has changed at Microsoft since the ousting of Steve Ballmer. Not only did the company completely backtrack on the Start Menu but now we also see the arrival of free versions of Windows, something that was very hard to imagine in the past.
As Microsoft VP of Operating Systems Terry Myerson explains in this blog post, Windows will also be free for "Internet of Things" devices. A version of the OS was demoed on Intel's tiny Quark processor, though there's no word on when it will be released.
It's hard to get excited about Windows on IoT devices, mostly wearables and connected home appliances aren't very exciting. However, eliminating the cost of a Windows license for smartphones and smaller tablets is a pretty big deal.