In the run-up to Christmas Microsoft mounted what was, frankly, a coarse and therefore self-defeating campaign - declaring the Chromebook a valueless “brick”. Some brick. Although we don’t have reliable figures on Chromebook sales, Microsoft probably does and on this evidence it looks increasingly like the despised Chromebooks must have been a Christmas hit… otherwise why bother?
Most galling, an increasing roll of Windows licencees are taking the Google shilling - HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, Acer and Toshiba.. all building Chromebooks.
By slashing the licence fee from around $50 to just $15 for Windows 8.1, Microsoft clearly hopes to make the Windows route attractive again at the low end of the market by building back a bit of margin for the vendors - or at least as attractive from a vendor point of view as the free Chrome OS.