Almost a year and a half ago, I stated (in Japanese) that it is plainly obvious that Chromebooks will follow the fate of Netbooks.
I outlined how Microsoft would respond if they ever perceived Chromebooks to be a threat.
したがって今回は、もしMicrosoftが反撃を開始するとすれば、Acerなどの低スペックモデルに割安でWindows 8を供給し、そしてSkyDriveの無料使用分を追加する形で反撃することが十分に予想されます。Google Docsの対抗製品であるWindows 365の無料使用分を付ける可能性もあります。
This time, if Microsoft decides to fight back, they would start providing Windows 8 cheaply to low-spec models like the Acer. They would also add free SkyDrive capacity. It is also likely that they would include free Office 365 to compete with Google Docs.
That seems to be exactly what Microsoft has started to do with Windows Bing. Computer makers will start announcing PCs shortly so we should see how these will be priced. I expect prices to be very similar to Chromebook prices.
So far so good.
We can now sit back and wait for the next chapter:
“Interest in Chromebooks wane.”
It is interesting to note that since Microsoft now has a cloud-based subscription revenue model in Office 365, it will be more willing to reduce the cost of Windows. According to this report, Windows 8.1 usually costs $50 per license but Microsoft is offering it for $15 on low-cost devices.
Office 365 Personal is $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Add the fact that all these low cost PCs will come with Bing as their default search engine, hence generating ad revenue for Microsoft, and you can see that this strategy makes sense for Microsoft even without a threat from Chromebooks.