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.

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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.

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By CNBC Staff