Microsoft helping manufacturers compete with Chromebooks

Don’t get too excited — they are dropping the price on windows 8.1,  but only for manufacturers of low end hardware.   It should still eventually translate into lower prices for end-users.

Microsoft confirmed that they plan to cut the price of Windows 8.1 by as much as 70% for the makers of lower-end hardware.   Their hope is the price cut will allow manufacturers to drop the price of lower-end tables and laptops in order to complete with the likes of Googles Chromebook.   It currently looks like Microsoft plans to allow manufacturers who sell hardware devices that retail for $250.00 and less,  to purchase Windows 8.1 for $15.00 instead of the normal $50.00.   While a $30.00 difference doesn’t sound like a lot — with margins already very low in this low-end area,  every dollar counts.  Whether this translates into savings for consumers or not waits to be seen — thus far this appears to be good old fashioned competition bringing consumers more choices at more price points.

More reading on the subject:

Windows ‘Threshold’ to bring the start menu back ?

Windows 8.1 was a good improvement,  but if this article from Paul Thurrott over at turns out to be true,  it looks like Windows Threshold (maybe eventually Windows 8.2) may re-incorporate some of the start menu features many users have become accustomed to  (including me).  Regardless of your view on Metro vs. Desktop vs. Start Menu vs. ‘Its just a BIG start menu stop complaining’ — options are good  (SO make them optional features and allow users to change their interface to the way they want without having to resort to 3rd party apps or crazy hacks).

Microsoft and Europol Working to Disrupt ZeroAccess Botnet

Europol and Microsoft are cooperating in an attempt to cut off the command and control center servers for one of the longest standing and most prolific Click-Fraud Botnets – ZeroAccess.    Since it appeared in 2009,  the associated malware variants have purportedly infected and connected more 2 million PC’s to this network.  Although this won’t clean those infected PC’s,  cutting off the communication between the command and control servers and those PC’s means they will no longer be able to download instructions and should cease wreaking additional havoc.    It remains to be seen how effective this attempt will be,  as thus far the botnet appears to be withstanding the assault against it.

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