As we reported recently, Microsoft is preparing a new version of its desktop OS, Windows 8.1 with Bing. It is being tested by Microsoft’s hardware partners, and perhaps inevitably it has now been leaked online.
Windows 8.1 with Bing is not intended for download – it’s a cheap or possibly free version of Windows that Microsoft will offer preloaded on some devices. It’s designed to make Windows 8 devices cheaper, and encourage consumer take-up of the new operating system.
Aside from having Bing as its default search engine, not much is known about Windows 8.1 with Bing. It will have to allow other search engine choices to comply with competition regulations. The final version may include Office or a subscription to Office 365.
It now seems unlikely that Microsoft will follow Apple’s lead with OS X, in offering future versions of Windows free for existing users.
Downloading an unofficial release of Windows isn’t legal, safe or advisable, and you won’t be able to get support from Microsoft if there are problems. Also bear in mind that things like future updates will probably be impossible.
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