Re: Microsoft to give away Windows 8.1 for free?
It makes a lot of sense for them to release a non-crippled basic version of the OS.
Think of what's going on in places like China and Russia. Third world country (at least as far as most citizens are concerned) who can't afford a windows license.
They're using cast-off computers that we in the USA threw away, somebody loaded them on a boat and shipped them to somewhere for "recycling."
Microsoft tried to release something awhile back that was cheap, but could not be made to use English. I think that backfired, because English is used pervasively for business and probably some sciences. So Linux and other free operating systems have been gaining some traction over there.
A free operating system gives them market share. There's no guarantee that the next one will be free, and there's still application sales.
FWIW the current latest-greatest Mac OS X is free. Or free of charge anyway. That could tip things toward Apple here in the USA, which could be another incentive.
Help stamp out MBR partition tables. Use GPT instead!