Pricing seen as key to success of Microsoft's Surface tablets
$600 for a Windows RT tablet could have customers walking away, analysts say
Computerworld - Microsoft needs to hook customers with better pricing if it wants to capture market attention with its new Surface tablets, analysts said Tuesday.
Microsoft said it will roll out the Windows RT version of Surface with prices in line with Windows RT machines from makers such as Asustek Computer. Asus has shown a Windows RT tablet, but has not announced pricing or availability.
The Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface will be priced in line with Intel-powered ultrabooks by other vendors, Microsoft said. Those guidelines could put the Windows RT Surface at more than $600, and the Windows 8 Pro at more than $700, and possibly higher, several analysts said.
But those prices are too high to win favor with buyers who might be intrigued by the innovative Surface tablets with their attachable keyboards that double as covers, analysts said.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said that $600 for a Windows RT Surface tablet would be a "non-starter." Even $500 would probably be too high unless that price includes a cover/keyboard, he said.
"I think the Windows RT version needs to be in the $400 range to compete with older iPads and the new Android devices," he said. The new iPad starts at $499.
Gold said a Windows 8 Pro Surface will probably cost $600 to $700.
Tom Mainelli, an analyst at IDC, said he assumed that the cover/keyboards will be sold separately, which could raise the costs substantially, possibly by $100 or more.
"All Microsoft said was that they will be competitive to comparable products, and I assume the covers will be separate," he said. "They spent a lot of time on the covers, so what will a $600 [Windows RT] tablet and cover cost? That will change [a buyer's] liability a lot."
If the Surface Type Cover, the one with keys that have an up and down motion, costs $150 on top of the price of the Windows RT, that "could make it a tough sell all of a sudden," Mainelli said in a separate interview.
The other new cover/keyboard is called a Touch Cover, with keys inside of a 3-mm-thick pad in multiple colors and a cloth-like feel. The Touch Cover's keys don't move up and down much when pressed, but there is still some movement compared to the lack of movement you get when touching a capacitive touchscreen keyboard, based on a quick Computerworld hands-on experience.
Both covers work for both Surface tablets and are the same height and width, although the Type Cover is thicker and has more symbols printed on its top key row for application shortcuts.
One advantage for Microsoft, as the hardware innovator in Surface tablets, is that it won't have to pay the software license fees for Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro that Microsoft charges OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
That OS license to OEMs has been pegged at $85, at least for the Windows RT license, according to reports, which might cut out most of the cost Microsoft could charge for a cover/keyboard.
"Microsoft realized it came to market late and couldn't afford to miss [making a great product] out of the gate," Mainelli said. "They want to create a product that's competitive to Apple's iPad. They clearly believe [the way] to do that is to make it soup to nuts."
- Microsoft support tells Surface Pro 2 owners firmware fix will ship Jan. 14
- As customers fume, Microsoft promises Surface Pro 2 firmware fix ASAP
- Analyst credits Surface sell-out to Microsoft swinging conservative
- Best Buy does what Microsoft won't: Takes Surface tablets in trade
- Deja vu all over again: Microsoft warns of Surface 2 sell-out
- Microsoft steers same strategic course in Surface do-over
- Dumping a Surface? eBay averages double the return of a buyback vendor
- Microsoft's Surface to be under revenue microscope
- Microsoft's most loyal users ask for Surface trade-in program
- Microsoft takes second swing at tablets with new Surface 2 lineup
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Omnichannel: From Buzzword to Strategy Customers demand a seamless experience across channels, especially mobile. Read this whitepaper for a research-based framework for using omnichannel for higher customer engagement.
- The 5 Big Lies About Going Mobile You've heard about the power of mobile to change your business. But have you realized your mobile potential? It's about much more than...
- Developing a Winning Mobile Strategy: Playing Offense vs Defense Don't lose time and money with a "throw an app against a wall to see if sticks" approach to mobile. You need a...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more