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Handhelds Microsoft Technology

Microsoft Surface Pricing Goes Toe-to-Toe With Apple iPad 521

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-high-prices-drive-adoption dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft has finally revealed the pricing of its upcoming Surface tablet to a small group of journalists, including Time's Harry McCracken, who wrote in an Oct. 16 posting that the device's 32GB version will retail for $499 (or $599 with the flexible keyboard cover) and the 64GB one for $699 (cover included). Preorders will apparently begin by midday Oct. 16. Microsoft unveiled Surface over the summer but kept the pricing a secret until now. That information vacuum led some to hope against hope that Microsoft would attempt something radical and price Surface extraordinarily low—$199, perhaps—in an attempt to undercut Apple's iPad. While that didn't happen, Surface at least matches its biggest rival's low- and high-end price points. The WiFi-only, 16GB version of the iPad retails for $499, while the WiFi-only, 64GB version costs $699 (iPads with a cellular connection cost a bit more)." A related article at BGR explains why the Surface is Microsoft's latest attempt to re-invent itself.
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Microsoft Surface Pricing Goes Toe-to-Toe With Apple iPad

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  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:54PM (#41671517) Homepage

    You're right, when it comes to the consumer market. But Microsoft is still firmly entrenched in business. I predict large corporations will eat up Microsoft's new tablet.

  • Re:Merry Christmas! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:59PM (#41671609) Journal
    Google Galaxy Nexus $250 16GB.
  • by jimmyfrank (1106681) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:06PM (#41671703)
    I agree, unless Apple starts making a C# clone along with a super kickass IDE and all the other goodies that go along with the .NET stack.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:09PM (#41671775)

    targeting the existing 1.3 billion Windows users.

    I wonder how many Windows users will mistakenly buy a Surface tablet expecting it to run their "Windows" application/gaming software.

  • Re:FAIL ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:10PM (#41671793) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft doesn't like price wars. I suspect Gates and Ballmer feel it's beneath them. Plus they're used to decades of charging monopoly prices on Windows and Office.

    I walked into a Microsoft Store the other day and looked around. Everything there was priced the same or higher than at Fry's or Target.... even though the place was mostly empty and it seemed like they badly need more traffic in the store.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:12PM (#41671845)
    Microsoft will get the most traction with Windows 8 on laptops and desktops with touch screen displays augmenting a normal keyboard. After using tablets for a while, I've recently felt the urge in some circumstances to reach up from the keyboard to swipe or pinch the display while using my laptop and desktop. Apple may have to play catch up, if touch displays become common outside the tablet format.
  • by Flipao (903929) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:20PM (#41671945)

    You're right, when it comes to the consumer market. But Microsoft is still firmly entrenched in business. I predict large corporations will eat up Microsoft's new tablet.

    Yeah. Microsoft is like RIM. Entrenched in business. They have nothing to worry about from Apple.

    Right now MS Office compatibility, lack of mouse support and USB host file access on an iPad are the only things stopping me from taking away the laptops from our sales force, so for now they're getting both a laptop and an iPad. They're all leaving their laptops at home and using them at the end of the day.

    Apple have every chance to kill Microsoft if they so choose, they just don't know it yet.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:23PM (#41671983)

    This Christmas I was hoping to get a Nexus 7 for my son and the Surface for my wife. At around $200 each, they'd be pricey but possible gifts. Now, cross off the Surface - may check in with the Kindle Fire 2 instead.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:25PM (#41672009)

    Note that it does have an microSD card slot. With that in mind, the point of the 64 Gb version eludes me completely.

    Since this is a walled garden system, you might not be able to install software on the microSD storage.

  • Re:Merry Christmas! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:44PM (#41672265) Homepage

    Ours is collecting dust (iPad). The smaller tablets are more than adequate. They are functionally equivalent while being much more mobile. The eBook vendors were all onto something when they chose that size for their devices.

  • Re:FAIL ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:01PM (#41672509)

    If they are keeping the Tegra3 and 2GB of memory, which I've read of before, the MS tablets have some advantages over the iPad3.

    The Surface will only have a 1280x720 display [pcworld.com], compared to the iPad's 2048x1536 – and the Surface actually has a *larger* screen. That's a huge difference, apparent at first glance – anyone with 20/20 eyesight can see the massive advantage of the iPad 3 over a low-DPI tablet. In contrast, the processor and RAM advantages of the Surface are buried in a spec sheet and will not even be noticed by most prospective buyers (who, remember, aren't all geeks and in many cases wouldn't know what Tegra 3 even meant.) Besides, who knows if some of that extra capacity is necessary just to run WinRT? There's no telling if it is as streamlined as Android and iOS – they may have had to throw hardware at it just to get it up to par.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:04PM (#41672531) Journal

    Perhaps this post was post-dated from 2008 or 2009. iOS (and Android) devices are all over the place in the enterprise market. We do a lot of government contract work, and we had a big two day seminar that was about half bureaucrats and half contractors like myself. I'd say about 2/3s of the contractors had iPhones and Androids, and about half the government workers were on iPhones, which also tells me that Blackberry's penetration is slowly winding down. Plenty of Windows notebooks, but also many Macbooks, and the only tablets I saw were iPads.

    The only chance Microsoft has is trying to grab on to the fading Blackberry market, but so far as I can tell iOS and Android are both making pretty deep inroads in the enterprise market. What's more, it's not as if Windows 8 RT actually offers any substantial benefits so far as enterprise integration. iOS's email and calendaring works pretty well integrating with Exchange, and Androids is almost as good. Since enterprise is not going to have any particularly ability to integrate Windows 8 smart devices into AD networks, where exactly is the enterprise advantage here?

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:13PM (#41672643)

    For the same reasons, this also could make a great bussiness machine. You can have a desktop and you can take it too meetings like a laptop, but you can also walk the floor with it and interact with in your hands like a clipboard. It's travel friendly. And it's got all the verstaile behaviour of a tablet like orientation sensing, touch, etc... And you can lock it in the drawer if it has confidential info.

    I think at least half the people in my company could replace their desktops with this.

    The only disadvantages are:
        1) will it be an unsupported zune left in the dust of android and ipad.

        2) will MS fumble the ball on the goal line as usual. It's has to work well.

    if it can beat those inertial barriers it actually is a great idea.

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:14PM (#41672661)

    I had high hopes for the Surface...if only to keep Apple and Google and Amazon honest. But the $499 price is a complete non-starter. First of all, if you want the cover/keyboard you have to fork over an additional $100. Seems a little steep to me. $50 is more like it. Secondly, when you buy one of the other tablets you're buying into a vast ecosystem of apps. Microsoft? They have relatively little to offer. Sure they have Office but this is supposed to be a consumer tablet, not a corporate tablet.

    Unless you are just a huge Microsoft fan to begin with I don't see any compelling reason to buy one of these. You can get an iPad with vastly more apps to choose from. You can buy an Android tablet for much the same reason, and cheaper to boot. You can buy an Amazon tablet for half the price and, if you have a Prime membership, access to tons of movies TV and books.

    I was hoping that MS would price it at $399, including keyboard/cover. That would give them a fighting chance against the other guys. Even if they have to sell it at a loss at least they can get them in peoples hands and give developers an audience to write for. As it stands now, this will be Touchpad II.

  • by atlasdropperofworlds (888683) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:19PM (#41672719)
    More like they tolerate it. There are some niches, like airline pilots, who actually gain a real, tangible benefit from a compact, touchscreen computer, because it replaces their flight manuals. At the moment, the iPad is fitting that bill. In the future, we should expect (and hope) that there are alternatives.
  • by hazydave (96747) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:26PM (#41672797)

    If Microsoft is really transitioning away from making all its money on Windows licensing (and the follow-ons), why not release it to the largest market for mobile devices? Ballmer just said that Microsoft's a Devices and Services company, so it's possible stand-alone software isn't seen as such a big deal anymore, despite it currently being almost all of the income.

    Microsoft has a long term question to answer here. If they're phenomenally successful with the Surface itself, iOS and Android will matter less, but so will OEM sales of the OS... in fact, they may get to a point where that stops altogether. And that could be their choice, or it could be like the HD-DVD market that MS did with Toshiba, where the hardware pricing didn't leave any room for other companies to sell hardware. Microsoft is matching Apple and the Android folks here, but other Windows RT companies are at a $75-$100 disadvantage.

    And if they're not successful with Surface, will they even be successful with Windows on mobile devices? Keep in mind, Lotus and WordPerfect were once the reigning kinds of Office Automation. They lost that largely by being late to the WIMP party, and allowing Microosoft to claim that ground. I don't really know for a fact that Microsoft is doing Office for either iOS or Android (yeah, seen the rumors), but by claiming those platforms, they're ensuring that Office remains viable in that market. Leaving 97% of the mobile market (and 16% of all consumer personal computing, but growing FAST) without Office is a great way to make people stop caring about it.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:30PM (#41673541) Homepage

    1) /. ers are paranoid about paid shills. I've been here well over a decade and and a rather frequent poster and well I still get accused of being a paid shill because I think Microsoft is going the right thing with Windows 8.

    2) That being said there are accounts that never post. And then post some sort of bland non technical pro Microsoft message. I've seen ACs identify them look at their history and they are right.

    I've asked the people who make these sorts of posts, but they never respond. So maybe I'm catching the paranoia but I do think there are some rather odd paid pro Microsoft posters.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:42PM (#41673689) Homepage

    Like it or not, for all it's faults, the iPad is the best enterprise tablet (in that enterprises actually use it).

    I think the iPad is a terrible enterprise tablet. Ultimately as an enterprise vendor because the people buying the devices are not the people using the devices you have a conflict of interest. You inevitably have to ask the question who are customers, the end users or the people who purchase the devices. Microsoft's focus on the consumer dropped off drastically once they were able to be an enterprise OS and replace: IBM, Unisys and DEC. They choose bosses over workers, made a ton of money doing it but ultimately created a situation where most people's day to experience with Microsoft's OS and software is negative. People think Microsoft is a less capable system than it is because they use a less capable version.

    Apple conversely has as far as enterprise so far mostly sided with users over IT management. They have been reluctant to add IT features that make the devices easier to manage, that is easier to disable consumer oriented features. Apple wants to be high margin unique vendor and they know enterprise while currently desperate for a phone and tablet solutions provider will quickly demand multiple suppliers to give them pricing leverage. So their consumer orientation is unlikely to change unless market conditions change substantially.

    Someone is going to have to own the enterprise space. RIM and Microsoft are far better choices than Apple but both at least today have inferior product eco-systems.

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