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Microsoft Education Portables

Microsoft To Start Dumping Surface RT To Schools For $199 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the use-them-to-play-oregon-trail dept.
onyxruby writes "In a move that will remind many of Apple in the '80s, Microsoft is going to start dumping Surface RT computers to educational institutions. In an effort to try to gain mindshare for their struggling Surface RT platform, Microsoft is giving away 10,000 Surface RTs to teachers through the International Society for Technology in Education. They're also preparing to offer $199 Surface RTs to K12 and higher education institutions. The strategy of flooding the educational market was quite successful for Apple. Unfortunately for Microsoft, today's computers require management and the Surface RT presents significant management challenges in terms of the inability to join the computer to a domain or available management tools."
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Microsoft To Start Dumping Surface RT To Schools For $199

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  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @04:43PM (#44043117)

    How would this remind people of Apple in the 80s? The Apple II was not a dud product being price dumped to clear inventory.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @04:45PM (#44043147)

      Surface RT is not a dud, it is a great product and millions have been sold.

      -Steve

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      How would this remind people of Apple in the 80s? The Apple II was not a dud product being price dumped to clear inventory.

      The RT is a stinker. Dump the Pro and maybe we'll talk. <_<

      I remember the Apple ][ computers showing up in school and thinking it was going to be real cool, until I found I had to get my own dubious copy of Integer Basic to boot from so I could have some fun with them :D

      • by murdocj (543661)

        Wait a second. I had an Apple ][, and it came with Integer Basic on the ROM. You had to run floating point Basic off a cassette tape (it was a while before I got a floppy disk) but Integer Basic was built in.

        Ah, the Red Book... ALL of the monitor code to read. Small enough that you could actually understand what was going on. Those were the days.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          Wait a second. I had an Apple ][, and it came with Integer Basic on the ROM. You had to run floating point Basic off a cassette tape (it was a while before I got a floppy disk) but Integer Basic was built in.

          Ah, the Red Book... ALL of the monitor code to read. Small enough that you could actually understand what was going on. Those were the days.

          They had the lab ones monkeyed up, so you needed a boot disk so you could launch Integer Basic. I think it was supposed to be some sort of educational software, but not many people used them for it, most we like me and brought in a boot disk to get around it and start in on coding.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:31PM (#44044229)

      WindowsRT reminds me of the PCjr. IBM wanted to sell a cheaper version of the PC and so they made a crippled version so it wouldn't compete with the high priced units. It withered and died. Now MS seems to be repeating the idea. Very Ironic. They took IBM's monopoly away from them and now they repeat IBM's early mistakes with hardware. I love it.

  • pick up a bunch of Surface tablets, and put Linux or Android on them

    • pick up a bunch of Surface tablets, and put Linux or Android on them

      "Secure boot" is mandatory on Windows RT(ARM) devices. I think that x86 Win8 devices are required to support it; but OEMs can do whatever key-fill they like, and can, at their option, support turning it off or end-user added keys.

      I'm not saying that they didn't make a mistake somewhere, more than a few locked bootloaders have gone down; but it isn't going to be trivial.

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        Is it actually required to not allow the Secure Boot configuration and keys to be changed, or just to have it enabled by default?

      • Re:perfect (Score:5, Informative)

        by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @04:54PM (#44043261)

        Unfortunately, Surface RT requires that secure boot must not be possible to disable. The only way to get Linux on these things is to install an additional key or an approved boot loader, and that can be very complicated.

      • Re:perfect (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MrDoh! (71235) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @04:56PM (#44043285) Homepage Journal
        Sounds like something schoolkids could figure out pretty quick.
        • There is a jailbreak that allows running arbitrary Windows desktop-based programs on a Surface RT - if you recompile for ARM. It even allows kernel-mode drivers. Microsoft still hasn't fixed it, because it's not a security hole in the traditional sense--it requires Administrator privileges.

          Because it is possible to make a jailbreak that automatically runs soon after startup, and it is possible to use the jailbreak to load a kernel driver, it is possible to boot up another OS by doing the equivalent of a k

  • Better $199.00 from a school than $0.00 from the dumpster.

  • If Microsoft was smart about it they'd give Maddog [slashdot.org] a call and see if he would like some thin clients for his new high rise servers.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:04PM (#44043353)

    What they did was confuse the hell out of people. At first Microsoft was touting a tablet that could run Windows Apps called the surface. What they meant was the Surface pro. Instead the device that got released first was the RT and it still had the name "windows". Most people looking at them, and I know of one business that bought a couple, did so thinking they could run existing windows programs. They got 'em home and learned they couldn't.

    At least Apple makes it clear that while underneath the hood, both MacOS and iOS share many of the same parts, they are entirely different OS's designed for different purposes. Microsoft failed to do that with the Surface.

    The next problem is that the Surface Pro is $1000. At that price what is the incentive to buy it? You can buy a convertible ultra book for just a few dollars more.

  • by default luser (529332) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:12PM (#44043441) Journal

    It comes with Office, so it's a business computer that can also play the tablet game, right?

    Except that there's no Outlook. Try getting business done without that.

    And you can't join a domain. That goes hand-in-hand with the above.

    And most critical to anyone who just wants to get work done: it's not x86-compatible, and you're limited to Windows Store apps.

    Who the hell came up with this horrible hodgepodge of an OS? And who expected anyone to pay a premium price for it? They'll be lucky if they can get these things to move even for $200!

    • by Lluc (703772) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:30PM (#44043635)

      Except that there's no Outlook. Try getting business done without that.

      Actually, the latest version of Office RT (2013) does include Outlook.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        And thus the RT can be made to suck even more!

      • Actually, the latest version of Office RT (2013) does include Outlook.

        Yes, the latest version, which doesn't have a formal release date yet, [slashgear.com] which will be "coming out soon", does include Outlook. That's certainly good to know.

        If you're one of the lucky teachers or one of the students however, like those in the article, don't count on getting Outlook without being forced to pay full retail for Outlook separately, or pay full retail for Office RT (2013), or pay for full retail for an Office 365 subscription instead. After all even on the more expensive Surface Pro, the Office H

  • Haven't we seen this movie ending before?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:12PM (#44043453)

    I was recently running a poll, and I found out that at least 20% of our department faculty own a Surface tablet of one sort or another - and that was before this move was announced. 20% of our faculty, and that's assuming none of the non-responders own a Surface.

    I was seriously shocked. Android and iOS tablets are apparently less popular than Surface among our EE faculty. We've got some pretty close ties to Microsoft, but that is still surprising.

    • If they're running Win8 then I can kind of understand it. WinRT not so much...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:14PM (#44043477)

    I'm probably one of the few on here who have used an RT. Picked one up for $99 + keyboard at TechEd, and used it all week at the conference to take notes/surf/do work. Honestly, for your basic user who wants surfing/word docs, it's perfectly fine.

    Also - I have an iPad that I love, but I couldn't dream of doing the work I was doing on the surface. The desktop mode is very nice, plus it just seems more workable when I can VPN in just like my PC at home. When comparing iPad to Surface for doing actual work, it's not event close, the Surface wins by a landslide.

    • by Lluc (703772) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:33PM (#44043661)
      Yeah I'm amazed by the amount of Surface RT hate in this thread. I wonder how much of it is typed on an iPad :)

      I think that a $200 tablet for web browsing, email, and remote desktop would be pretty useful despite the limited app store. Maybe it's time to send my Touchpad to ebay and try one of these out...
  • MS should create an emulation layer that allows RT to natively run Android apps. That will solve the chicken and egg issue of limited app availability and make their platform a more compelling offering.

  • Isn't attempting to flood a market with a device being charged at sub-standard pricing to subvert a competitor, like, illegal?
    I thought this was covered by anti-dumping laws.

    • No, that only applies if the manufacturer in question is trying to gain a competitive advantage. Given Balmer's mishandling of Microsoft over the past decade, it's hard to argue that Microsoft is competing with anyone other than themselves.

  • They should sell the RT for $99, just like the HP tablet, and build a user base. I would buy a Surface RT if it was $99, and I don't even like tablets.

  • I dunno (Score:4, Funny)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:41AM (#44048113)
    I think the schools should be paid more than $199 per RT.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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