Buy A Tablet, Get Free Windows 8.1

Taking a page out of the Google playbook, Microsoft lures OEMs with a free version of Windows that defaults to the Bing search engine, helping them build lower-cost Windows devices.

Android is essentially free for device makers that want to build products based on Google's mobile operating system. Incidentally, Android is tightly integrated with several major Google services, including Gmail, Maps and, of course, Google Search.

Now, Microsoft is following suit.

After months of rumors, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant officially took the wraps off Windows 8.1 with Bing. The zero-cost licensing program is Microsoft's way of helping the company's "hardware partners build lower cost Windows devices," according to spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc.

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