Rubin saw a sliver of a silver lining in the price cut for the Redmond, Wash. technology firm. "Microsoft may even see some benefit from the cut as it contemplates smaller versions of Surface or future Lumia devices, [because] it has charged itself a license fee to remain fair to OEMs," said Rubin.
The below-$250 cutoff for the discount would seem to favor smaller tablets, those in the 7-inch or 8-inch category. Some analysts and pundits have claimed that Microsoft will enter the diminutive tablet market with a scaled-down Surface this year.
"We love the small form factors, too, and we will make sure that Windows is amazing in those categories, too," Reller said during a Q&A Feb. 13 at a conference hosted by financial firm Goldman Sachs.
Microsoft recently claimed that it had sold 200 million Windows 8 and 8.1 licenses since the original's debut in October 2012, a milestone that Computerworld calculated overstated the number of systems currently running the operating system by between 16 million and 31 million.
According to Web analytics firm Net Applications, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 accounted for about 10.6 percent of the operating systems that powered personal computers used online in January. That was less than half the user share of Windows 7 and not much larger than the 9.4 percent controlled by Windows Vista at the same points in their post-launch timelines.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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