Microsoft mulling free version of Windows 8.1: Report

CALIFORNIA: As Microsoft plans to wind up Windows 8.1 operating system next month, the company plans to announce a free version of Windows in a bid to persuade customers to upgrade to latest versions.

A new version, called Windows 8.1 with Bing, could be given away at a developers' conference in April, claimed media reports.

The firm is also rumoured to be considering dropping the price of its Windows Phone mobile operating system or even giving it away for free.

According to media reports, "Microsoft is currently experimenting with a free version of Windows 8.1 that could boost the number of people using the operating system."

The company is building 'Windows 8.1 with Bing' - a version that would have key Microsoft apps and services.

Microsoft has already made major changes to Windows 8 in a bid to make it more appealing to consumers. It hopes the new system would make it easier for touchscreen users and gives same experience across Windows PCs, phones and tablets.

"Let's make it easier to start applications in the way we are used to," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying in The Verge.

The firm would bring back the Start button, which lets you boot straight to the desktop, added media reports.

Ballmer also said the firm was not abandoning the Start Menu, adding that it was slowly beginning to attract app developers to Windows 8.

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