Re: Cheaper hardware ?
You have to realize they will continue the same way they do today : racketeering + blackmail.
Racketeering: you will have pay minimum "2 years subscription" with each new PC. Whether you decide to use Microshaft crapware or not is irrelevant to them since you already paid.
Blackmail: the PC maker will receive a "commission" which is a portion of your "2 years minimu subscription" so that he pre-installs Microshaft CrapWare on the machine. If the PC maker wants to sell "naked" machines, or machines with an other O.S., fine... but then no "commission" on pre-installed machines.
A "2 years minimum contract" at 15,99€ plus a "cheap" 200€ for the machine, that is almost 600€, the price of an average PC.
Business as usual. Some things will never change!
What could wreak the havoc in their plan though are 2 things:
- "home" users don't need a PC anymore. They use smartphones (and tablets) and are happy with that. No Redmond there. Other evil at work, but at least Google has the decency not to charge for their behaviour.
- (less likely) the remaining "power" home users might very well decide to give Linux a try, and that could raise the demand for "naked" PCs making the "blackmail" less relevant and the evil plan could fail.
- (even less likely and scary) they could decide to build a "Redmond-Linux distribution", let's call it Winux, because it is economically irrelevant to support an outdated O.S. (WX) when you can just grab the free Linux, and charge for support of that to home users. That is the last E of EEE strategy... and has begun with WSL. They are also publicly ditching their internet engine for Blink which is open source. That is the state of their irrelevance in I.T.