Pressured by Chromebooks, Microsoft will reduce Windows licensing costs on 14-inch and smaller notebooks
DigiTimes reports that according to Taiwanese supply chain companies, Microsoft is set to reduce the licensing fees for notebooks launched in 2017—with screens measuring 14-inches or less. The move comes about to help combat the rising popularity of Chromebooks, which is probably why Microsoft's price adjustment doesn't include all screen sizes: a 15 or 17-inch Chromebook is extremely unlikely.
Chromebooks have been the dark horse in notebook sales the past two years. As notebook shipments declined, notebooks running Google's productivity-focused OS were able to buck the trend with their low prices. Despite the 5.1 percent negative growth on-year from 2015, Chromebooks managed to expand their market share. Analysts estimated that Chromebooks saw 30-40 percent annual growth by the time 2016 drew to a close.
The exact Windows-licensing price for 2017 is currently unknown, it is only clear that the volume licensing fees will be less than 2016's. Given that Google allows device makers to use Android and Chrome OS for free, Chromebooks will still maintain their leg-up on price, however.