Ina Fried

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Microsoft to Offer Discounted Windows and Office for Small Tablets, While Windows RT Gets Outlook

Microsoft is making two big changes that could boost the appeal of smaller Windows tablets.

First, it is adding a version of its Outlook email and calendar app to Windows RT — the version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM-based chips from Qualcomm and Nvidia. Prior devices, such as Surface RT, came with only Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, along with a custom email and calendar program.

“We’re always listening to our customers and one piece of feedback was that people want the power of Outlook on all their Windows PCs and tablets,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Second, Microsoft is cutting some sort of deal with computer makers that want to bundle Windows 8 and Office Home and Student onto a seven- or eight-inch tablet. Microsoft isn’t going into detail on what it is charging PC manufacturers, but it is clearly low enough to enable some pretty inexpensive tablets.

The first of these tablets to be announced, Acer’s Iconia W3, has a $379 sticker price. That’s pretty darn cheap for a machine that includes full-blown Windows and Office.

Microsoft isn’t saying which other computer makers may also be working on small tablets, but with the PC market struggling, it seems reasonable to think we will see a number of such tablets in short order.

And while Microsoft’s bundle program appears limited to small tablets, one could conceivably hook up the tiny tablet to a monitor and keyboard and use it as a home PC.

Microsoft is announcing the new Windows options at a speech at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work