Surface 'Mini': ARM, Atom or both?
And Windows 8's support for traditional Windows desktop software is a questionable selling point on a smaller tablet, Singh added. "Windows 8 makes very little sense on 7-in. tablets as legacy applications proved difficult enough to use on a 10-in. touchscreen," he said.
Nor would Office be much help on compact screens, Singh said, although both he and Gottheil acknowledged a minor segment of the purchasing pool might be interested in the suite. "At that point, Microsoft will be stuck marketing 7-in. Windows RT tablets to enterprise customers, and that's a tough sell," Singh said. "Office doesn't seem to be a huge draw in the consumer segment."
Microsoft is so bullish on Office's partnership with its current Surface tablets that it has reportedly scheduled the suite for release on Apple's iOS and Google's Android for October 2014, 18 months from now and much later than many expected.
Bob O'Donnell, an IDC vice president, has also downplayed the idea of Office on smaller screens. In an interview Wednesday, he said his view had not changed since January, when he pointed out the rapid expansion of 7-in. tablet sales, arguing that they were unsuitable for Office, and said as a result Microsoft had a narrowing timetable to promote the suite on tablets.
In October 2013, however, Microsoft will allegedly ship updates to Office RT, the version bundled with Windows RT devices, to make them work better in an all-touch environment.
Last month, when the Windows 8/RT screen resolution rule was relaxed, experts suggested that Microsoft might price a 7-in. Surface tablet anywhere between $199 and $399, the wide range indicative of their uncertainty about the company's strategy and aggressiveness.
Today, Singh picked $299 as the likeliest price for a Windows RT-based 7-in. Surface, the higher-than-Android-price reflecting the embedded cost of the operating system's license.
"No matter how far Microsoft drops the licensing cost for Windows RT, the overall cost structure, and hence prices (~$299), will still remain considerably higher than those for Android tablets (probably moving towards ~$150 this year, excluding white-label products)," he said.
There has been talk that Microsoft has cut the prices it charges OEMs for some licenses, including Windows 8 and Office 2013, but Windows RT has not been mentioned in those reports.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.
- Samsung to offer 3 new tablets starting Feb. 13
- Tablets remain tops in American gift-buying plans
- 'Phablets' are eating into the tablet market, IDC says
- Apple springs Retina iPad Mini on customers
- The puzzling Lumia 2520 tablet: Will it disappear when Microsoft buys Nokia?
- Dell launches four new tablets -- all on Intel chips
- Few use tablets to replace laptops
- New Kindle Fire HDX's tech support button could push IT to yell 'Mayday!'
- Kindle Fire HDX tablets show big push for business users
- Microsoft kicks off iPad buyback deal in latest effort to juice Surface sales
Read more about Tablets in Computerworld's Tablets Topic Center.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- Pragmatic Endpoint Management: Empowering an SMB Workforce in the Age of Mobility Lacking the time for proper training and education, SMB administrators often resort to taking shortcuts to keep their environment running.This paper discusses the...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- 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... All Tablets White Papers | Webcasts