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Judging from a pair of recent reports, incoming Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is going to have his hands full as the Windows maker tries to compete in the desktop and tablet market and may have to fend off a rival for Ford's affections.
Bloomberg reported Saturday that Microsoft may be planning to slash the price of licensing Windows 8.1 by as much as 70 percent in an effort to fend off the rise of Google Chrome and continued defections to the Mac.
According to the usual "people familiar with the program," Microsoft could be looking to license Windows 8.1 for as little as $15 on devices retailing for $250 or less, a steep discount from the $50 OEMs currently fork over -- with "no restrictions on the size or type of device."
The news doesn't come as much of a surprise, given the increasingly slower adoption rate between Windows 7 and Windows 8. Microsoft has also had a tough time making a dent in the tablet market, which is dominated by Apple's iPad and devices running Google's Android operating system.
Microsoft may also find itself left out in the cold with Ford, who currently partners with Redmond for its in-car Ford Touch system powered by Sync. In a separate Bloomberg report on Monday, Ford is said to be courting the BlackBerry-owned QNX to power future touchscreen-enabled dashboards.
According to people briefed on the matter, the switch to QNX "will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system." Microsoft-powered Ford vehicles currently number more than seven million, which can use voice activation to place calls, play music and get turn-by-turn navigation.
A Ford spokeswoman declined to comment on the rumor, which would certainly be a boon for BlackBerry, whose QNX operating system currently powers the company's BlackBerry 10-based handsets that have performed poorly thus far.
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