It's the Microsoft tax.
Microsoft has historically been rather hush hush when it comes to it's share in the sale of a new PC that includes an OEM copy of Windows, but one general manager of Corporate Strategy at Microsoft revealed some interesting figures.
While none of this information is official, and we're sure that Windows licensing costs vary from one OEM to the next depending on negotiate deals, it seems that Microsoft takes about $50 per PC that costs around $1000.
"If you think of the $1,000 PC, which has kind of been the benchmark for the last decade or so, then we've always charged about $50 for the copy of Windows for that PC," Songhurst revealed at the Jefferies Annual Technology Conference, as reported by Ars Technica.
"So that's five percent. So if you think about charging $100, $200 or if you think about a super high-end PC, you know the Sony Vaios or anything that's there for around the $1000 mark, or the Alienware PCs that are even higher, if we can get that constant percentage then we should be indifferent to the number five points in the market," Songhurst continued.
Clearly, taking a $50 cut from a $300 netbook is something that most OEMs would probably find to be disadvantageous, which would make one think that alternative operating systems such as Ubuntu would have the upper hand. But Microsoft seems to think that it would be happy if it could score five percent from every new PC sale, particularly with the increased range of PC prices with the advent of netbooks and $300 laptops at Wal-Mart.