Experts are unanimous that Microsoft Surface RT $199 price can beat anything. Meanwhile its release date is still unclear
Possible pricing of Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is the talk of town. Everyone rumors about the price Microsoft may sell its much-awaited Windows RT-based tablet PC. With the device set to come late October 2012, the entire tech world is talking about it. Previously, we heard that Microsoft might sell Surface RT for a price around $500. That is, it will be competing with Apple iPad in pricing. But now it is being said that the device may come for a price around $200.
It means that Surface RT will lock horns with the small tablets like Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire for market entry. Of course, selling the Nvidia quad core-powered Surface RT for a price of $199 will mark a big loss for the Redmond software giant. But it is the only way Microsoft can easily foray into the highly competitive tablet market, analysts think. “We’d be astonished to see a $199 price point,” says Rhoda Alexander of IHS iSuppli. “It would be giving away money and losing money at the same time.”
Mr. Alexander means that although pricing the gadget lower, Microsoft may not virtually have any loss in business. The company can find money or compensate the Surface RT losses through other ways. One of the best means the software giant can earn bucks is through licensing the software to other third party makers. Many third party firms have reportedly started working to launch their editions of Windows RT tablets.
Bad news for third party manufacturers
A $199 pricing of Surface RT will be threatening for the third party vendors, however. In such a case, companies like Samsung, HP, Lenovo and Dell might also have to produce Windows RT tablet that worth around $200. The companies will find it tough to sell their products that are priced around $500. Most of the companies might be designing high quality products that should be valued as much as Apple iPad.
“If Microsoft decided to go for the jugular and do the loss-leader to sell software, it would really screw with the Microsoft partners,” says Roger Kay, chief analyst at Endpoint Technologies. “There are already a lot of efforts underway and money has been spent [by partners] on getting products to come to market with Windows 8. If they mess with their partners like that they may lose them entirely,” he said.
According to Alexander, Microsoft partners will be developing Windows RT tablets and convertibles with the price range resting at $500. The IHS iSuppli analyst thinks that majority of products from third party developers are hoped to be well over $199. “We expect to see something iPad-esque. In the range of $500…something in that ballpark,” Alexander said.
Lenovo dings Microsoft Surface
In the meantime, Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing attacked Microsoft’s Surface strategy at its first fiscal quarter 2013 earnings call. Mr. Yuanqing said that he didn’t expect Microsoft in the hardware battle of Windows 8. Talking to reporters, he assured Lenovo could outshine all tech makers including Microsoft in Windows 8 tablet and PCs as well.
“Although we don’t like Microsoft providing hardware, for us, it just adds one more competitor,” said the Lenovo CEO. “[Microsoft is] just one of our many competitors. We are still confident that we are providing much better hardware than our competitors including Microsoft,” he added. “They are strong in software, but [we] don’t believe they can provide the best hardware in the world. Lenovo can.”
However, the Lenovo head said that his company was not at all worried about Microsoft’s Surface. The Chinese tech maker is optimistically looking for the launch of its Windows 8 machines. He expressed hope that it could bring about high quality products in both tablet and PC segments for Windows 8. Apart from Lenovo, Samsung, HP and Dell are also seriously working with their Windows 8 tablet and PC projects. The devices may start to rule the tech market by the end of the year.