“Microsoft Corp. has recently been offering price breaks on its Windows 8 and Office software to help spur the development of small, touch-enabled laptop computers, people familiar with the situation said,” Eva Dou and Spencer E. Ante report for The Wall Street Journal. “The Microsoft discounts are particularly tailored for portables with small displays that would likely appear this fall, these people said.”

“Such discounts could help reduce the price and increase the appeal of laptop computers running Windows 8, which was released last fall and offers a new touch-based computer interface,” Dou and Ante report. “Analysts say sales have been slow, hobbled in part by the lack of devices equipped with the kind of touch-based displays that are common on tablets.”

Dou and Ante report, “Windows 8, a major technology departure from earlier Microsoft operating systems, is regarded as a high-stakes response to one of the biggest threats the company has faced in years—the shift in spending toward touch-based smartphones and PCs whose software is largely dictated by Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Sales of tablets, led by Apple’s iPad, have been a particular problem for Microsoft and PC makers that use its software, having all but killed off a class of small, inexpensive laptops called netbooks that were popular several years ago… In late February, Microsoft offered PC makers the deal of Windows 8 plus Office for $30 for touch-screen devices under 10.8 inches, according to one person familiar with the situation. This compares with around $120 previously.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, so Microsoft did figure out a Plan B: Panic.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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