$85 Windows RT Licence, can they make it optional? (dual-booting free Android)

Posted by Charbax – June 17, 2012

Theo Valich reports on VR-Zone.com that sources at Taiwanese PC/Tablet manufacturers are complaining that Microsoft wants to charge an enormous $85 licence for Windows 8 RT on ARM. $85 can be nearly double the price of a completely smooth Android tablet hardware, and Microsoft wants to charge that $85 for the software licence?

I don't mind Microsoft charging whatever they want for their proprietary software. The most important thing we need to demand from Microsoft and to demand from the industry is for these devices to be made available with Windows RT as only an option, something that the consumers must have the choice to not buy and to not use. Consumers should have the choice to pay $85 less and have the same hardware boot Android or Ubuntu for free. Consumers should basically buy an Android device and have the choice to "install" Windows 8 RT as an optional multi-boot function. Basically, Microsoft can put Windows RT up as a $85 paid app in the Google Play store.

If Microsoft does not like the idea of RT "simply" being an app on Android, they need to provide that choice in some type of multi-boot screen of some type. Let consumers type in their credit card infos and send the $85 to Microsoft if they want to have the option to boot into Windows RT and get the Microsoft Office, Metro and whatever else comes with that. Perhaps some keyboard shortcut or an OS switch hardware button should thus allow users to instantly switch to Android, to Ubuntu and to any other open or closed OS of their choice.

Forcing users to pay the $85 Windows RT licence should be unacceptable. It has been common practice on x86 for far too long and it needs to stop now with ARM. I actually think Microsoft can only gain market share on this new class of hardware if they accept and go with the multi-boot strategy. I think many consumers wouldn't mind having Windows RT as a multi-boot option on their hardware but I think few consumers would actually demand being locked into only having Windows RT. Obviously, if Microsoft makes Windows RT a $30 option it becomes more popular, and if Microsoft makes Windows RT free and open source, then they'dd obviously maximize their chances.

And if people really want the Windows 8 style tile interface and use it on any cheap Android tablet they can already download and use a fake Windows 8 home replacement as I show in this video: