Rumors are circling that Microsoft is working on a new version of Windows 8.1 that the company would release for free in an effort to introduce more people to the company's flagship operating system. The free version is reportedly called "Windows 8.1 with Bing," and will include several key apps from the Redmond software giant that have been limited in functionality in an effort to promote sales of the higher tier versions of the OS.
Microsoft could introduce the free version as an upgrade from current Windows 7 customers, which could significantly boost Windows 8.1's adoption numbers. The free version of Windows 8.1 would also most likely push Microsoft's subscription-based cloud services as a way of generating revenue from the free OS. Many see the free version of Windows 8.1 as a way for Microsoft to combat Google's Chrome OS as well as the growing popularity of Linux-based OS such as Ubuntu. Additional rumors suggest that Microsoft is also using this initiative as a way to push integration of Windows RT and Windows Phone into a single low-cost mobile OS, which could entice more OEMs into releasing Windows-based smartphones.