Microsoft says Windows will be free on phones, small tablets

SAN FRANCISCO, April 2 Wed Apr 2, 2014 1:54pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 2 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday it would give away its Windows operating system to makers of smartphones and small tablets as it seeks to grab a toehold in those fast-growing markets.

Microsoft's move, announced at its annual developers conference in San Francisco, is an attempt to broaden the user base of mobile versions of Windows, in the hope that more customers will end up using Microsoft's cloud-based services such as Skype and Office.

It comes a week after new Chief Executive Satya Nadella unveiled new versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel applications for Apple Inc's iPad. The move showed Microsoft is now more interested in gaining market share for its cloud-based services on any platform or device, rather than its traditional approach of putting Windows at the center of everything it does. (Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by David Gregorio)

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