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Microsoft to offer Windows free for smaller devices

Microsoft Windows software on a smart phone.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Microsoft Windows software on a smart phone.

Customers may be able to snatch a Microsoft device for less than $200 this year, because device makers are going to get Windows software for the low price of...$0.

This year, Microsoft made its Windows Phone operating system gratis on any device smaller than 9 inches, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. The company is departing from its longstanding practice of charging software licensing fees in order to increase its share of a mobile market currently dominated by Google's already free Android OS. Microsoft grabbed about 4 percent of tablet sales in 2013, according to a figure cited in the article.

Read MoreMicrosoft getting into wearables: Sources

A Microsoft executive who discussed the price drop at a technology expo would not say how long the company plans to stick with the new approach, but did stress that Microsoft has other ways of making money.

Read the full story on WSJ.com.

By CNBC Staff

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