Digitimes Research: Microsoft new Windows 8.1 licensing subsidies to boost notebook ASPs, but may see limited demand

Joanne Chien, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

Microsoft launched its latest Windows licensing fee subsidy program for Windows 8.1 in March which expanded the coverage of notebook models, adjusted subsidies, canceled the previous project's US$249 end-price ceiling, and made eMMC a standard specification for entry-level products, according to Digitimes Research's new report about Microsoft licensing.

Vendors are able to place orders for the program before the end of June and notebooks adopting the operating system under the program can still be sold sell in the channel in the second half of 2015 despite the fact that Windows 10 will become available during that time. Digitimes Research believes the new subsidies should help boost consumer notebook ASPs, which have been weak since early second-half 2014, and prompt entry-level notebooks to adopt an ultra-thin form factor.

Because of factors such as Microsoft already planning to release a new program for Windows 10 in July, brand vendors still have inexpensive notebook inventories accumulated from the fourth quarter of 2014, and specifications of Windows 8.1 notebooks may not be able support new functions in Windows 10, such as face recognition, despite these notebooks' eligibility to be upgraded to Windows 10 for free, Digitimes Research expects notebook vendors to take a conservative attitude about launching new inexpensive products using the Windows 8.1 program and will place their focuses on the Windows 10 one.