Supply chain sources have spilled the goods on licensing fees for Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT.
Unnamed Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers are reporting that Microsoft has released the licensing rates for Windows 8. For each x86-based machine, OEMs will have to shell out $80 to $100 USD for using both Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013. For devices packing an ARM-based chip, OEMs will be required to pay between $50 and $65 USD for using Windows RT and Office 13 on each device.
Supply chain sources are reportedly placing high hopes on the success of Windows 8, naturally wanting to see the new operating system resurrect consumer demand for the traditional notebook. Yet because it's a complete overhaul of the popular platform -- evolving much like it did when moving from Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 -- most notebook players are taking a conservative attitude about the upcoming launch.
Currently Windows 8 isn't expected to help significantly boost PC demand before 2013. That's because the new operating system requires components with additional functions over the traditional notebook -- such as touchscreens -- in order for the platform to work as Microsoft intended. Throw the licensing fee on top of that, and the final consumer price will be projected to a "rather unfriendly level."
But sources expect the demand for Windows 8 products to increase around the middle of 2Q13. By then the notebook supply chain will have shifted production to touchscreen-based models and the manufacturing costs will have dropped. As seen with the Ultrabook sector, first generation devices may initially carry a hefty pricetag, but prices will eventually drop as component prices and manufacturing costs diminish.
Earlier this week Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8 will arrive on the market by the end of October. The RTM version is expected to be released in the first week of August for testing. Earlier reports indicated Microsoft would charge at least $85 per device in licensing fees for Windows RT, but it's possible Microsoft lowered the price so that market prices for ARM-based Windows products don't surpass Apple's iPad pricing.