updated 07:28 pm EST, Fri February 28, 2014
Initiative may seek to increase Bing penetration, grow Windows adoption
According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft is allegedly working on a subsidized version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing." With Microsoft solutions included -- such as the eponymous Bing search engine as default -- Microsoft appears to be readying a free or inexpensive version of Windows, perhaps to combat Apple's offering of OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" for free.
The Verge was told that Microsoft is looking to use the new version as an upgrade to (compatible) Windows XP or Windows 7 stalwarts. The effort will be two-fold -- not only will it hopefully increase Windows 8.1 penetration, but also boost Bing usage.
Bing is already fairly tightly integrated into Windows 8.1. A leaked version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing" appeared earlier this week, with no major changes, and nothing specifically pointing towards a monetization effort for the next revision of the software.