..."I told you so" is impossible to keep within my lips or my mind for that matter.
following reading this article -> http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-22/microsoft-said-to-cut-windows-price-70-to-counter-rivals.html , I immediately looked at Microsoft and said "Told'ya" just like I immediately look'd at my tech friends and repeated that over and over and over again.
I use to say "boy do I hate to be right all the time"... but in this case, I don't!
This was an important step from Microsoft. Following the Windows 8.1 update without the metro as default for desktops (since statistics show most desktop users don't like it and find no use for it... no wonder!) as I've already theorized about here.
If you think about Microsoft Operating Systems, they did had a quality jump with NT3.51 and NT4, that was good enough to pay for. I mean, comparing to Unix and Linux (and respective software) systems back then, Windows NT3.51 and NT4 did represent an increase in productivity.
Now from that point on, instead of having better and more stable kernels, they actually managed to go the opposite way (with a couple of exceptions), while every one else was going better.
Today's Windows8 is a benchmark. It's Kernel is excellent and actually very well built. And just like they managed to kill the product Windows Vista with a poor GUI implementation, they managed to do exactly the same with the Metro in Windows8...but don't get fooled by the goofy "metro", it is a brilliant piece of operating system.
Invariably, the kernel supporting the software (which will help you have a stable, performer system to help you reach ROI), is now better than ever...and it's fair to pay for a good thing that allows you to work and generate income. However, the other available systems out-there, such as Linux, have evolved beyond Windows8 current state of Kernel evolution...and they are free.
So this will than have to consider other stuff beyond the simple kernel.
Now GUI wise, Windows have been better than any Linux, ever since it's debut, up till the moment they decided to consider every user would use a desktop productivity platform as they use the pad for reading news and playing games.
Linux did suffer from that same trend with the "unity desktop" but its project branching characteristics managed to save it from doom and maintain a couple of good alternatives like the MATE project.
This meant that Windows was loosing the edge it had on the GUI and not picking up the edge it lost on kernel fast enough to be competitive. So its fair to assume that windows had been living on the "software support from it's partners" cushion (ok ok and the fan boys). But the important thing is that considering price vs productivity, it was no longer the obvious choice, and that is an extremely dangerous gamble from a software company that ...survives... by selling software.
Now, having lost the mobile device train (consequence pushing...forcing really... lower quality Windows CE to the market), this protected market is now getting a taste on Apple and Android products, and as such, their based on Operating Systems. This is undermining Microsoft's cushion as most software is being ported to these platforms, and also the market will be used to "the choice beyond Microsoft Windows bubble".
To make things worse, the recent windows8 Metro interface is targeted for tablets and smartphones, so there was an urgent need to make them available beyond the one brand Microsoft forced into this (Nokia).
It seams to me that Microsoft is taking a careful look at statistics. This decision of lowering windows8 price for low-cost devices is critical, just like deciding that windows 8.1 upgrade should boot without METRO by default while on a productivity environment, is a crucial move.
This generates a better and faster ROI of anyone using their Operating Systems (manufacturers, clients... the works), and evens the cost vs functionality(productivity) scale.
There is also an internal pressure, as office product line is going online and device independent, removing Microsoft's internal cushion to Windows O.S.
It's clear to me that Microsoft is finally moving towards a better way of doing business, shifting from a set of policies that would protect mediocrity into a set that will promote quality and competitiveness. Thumbs up!