A few weeks back, a new Windows SKU appeared on the web that was aptly called, “Windows 8.1 with Bing”. The name raised a lot of questions about how the platform was going to be marketed and if it would be a free version of Windows 8.
According to the leaked documentation, Windows 8.1 with Bing is a new Windows edition that is targeted at low-cost devices. The SKU will set Bing as the default search engine and OEMs will not be able to override this choice.
It seems quite clear, the low-cost SKU will require OEMs to pivot around Bing and the Microsoft suite of services in an attempt to boost Bing’s market share. This SKU likely plays into Microsoft’s move to offer Windows 8 at a lower price point to help move more licenses and proliferate Windows 8 across the ecosystem.
We have copied the text below from the documentation below:
Windows 8.1 with Bing
Windows 8.1 with Bing is a new Windows edition that helps OEMs add Windows to low-cost devices while driving end user usage of Microsoft Services such as Bing and OneDrive. Windows 8.1 with Bing is similar to other editions of Windows and should be imaged, updated, and deployed the same as any other Windows edition.
Windows 8.1 with Bing helps OEMs add Windows to low-cost devices while driving end user usage of Microsoft Services such as Bing and OneDrive.
This edition of Windows sets Bing as the default search engine within Internet Explorer. Users will be able to manually change default search settings and install additional browsers of their choice.
Windows 8.1 with Bing is based on the feature set available in Windows 8.1 Core and incudes all of the latest updates, including Windows 8.1 Update. Windows 8.1 with Bing is available for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.
What’s new for OEMs?
Windows 8.1 with Bing is similar to other editions of Windows and should be imaged, updated, and deployed the same as any other Windows edition. However, OEMs will not be able to change the default search engine with the SearchScopes unattend setting, Registry key, or 3rd party installation tools. When a user starts Internet Explorer, Bing is automatically set to the default Search Engine and will override any OEM-configured search provider. No other Internet Explorer defaults are changed.
Imaging & deployment testing
Customize and deploy Windows 8.1 with Bing just as you would any other Windows image. Add your unattend settings, apps, drives, and other items to your image. Deploy the image to a reference PC and validate that your apps and services function as expected.