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Microsoft Businesses Handhelds

Is Microsoft's Price Model For the Surface Justifiable? 417

colinneagle writes "A blog post contending that Microsoft's decision to match Apple's iPad pricing on its Surface tablet will hurt its chances in the market has brought out some negative comments from readers who seem to like the Surface tablet. I was kind of surprised by this, as I and other bloggers seem to agree that making the fully keyboard-equipped Surface tablet roughly $120 more expensive than the iPad kind of negates the purpose — to build steam by appealing to those in the market for a cheaper tablet. Also, I've yet to see an argument that justifies pricing the Surface competitively with the iPad, so I figured I would bring the question to Slashdot: Is Microsoft's pricing for the Surface tablet justified?"
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Is Microsoft's Price Model For the Surface Justifiable?

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  • Yes. (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:30PM (#41686507) Homepage

    As we've seen time and time again, people are simply willing to pay more for Microsoft products than Apple products.

    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:39PM (#41686623) Journal

      Sorry, we got mesmerized by the shear coolness of MS-Bob. Dragging the dog into the burning fireplace never gets old. (Please, no Korean cuisine jokes.)

    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Funny)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:42PM (#41686663)

      As we've seen time and time again, people are simply willing to pay more for Microsoft products than Apple products.

      So true! I mean, have you priced MacOS X? Apple wants what, $30 for it? Whereas Microsoft wants Windows 7 for over $100! And people buy it!

      Ditto with Office. I mean, the basic suite is $300 from Microsoft, while Apple's offering is under $100. And what do we have? Microsoft Office is everywhere.

      People have shown that yes, they're willing to pay more for Microsoft products than their obviously inferior cheaper knockoff Apple ones. Windows costs more than OS X, and Office costs more than iWork.

      And don't get me started on this "free software" thing. Software for nothing? There's obviously a reason why they can't charge for it.

      Obviously Microsoft has to price their stuff more than Apple to give it the premium appearance. I mean, who'd want a chintzy iPad when you can get a Surface? It costs more, it's definitely better!

      • So true! I mean, have you priced MacOS X? Apple wants what, $30 for it? Whereas Microsoft wants Windows 7 for over $100! And people buy it!

        Not sure this is always true. I mean, yes, people buy it with a new PC, but how many upgrade? I don't see that many people upgrade their computers, unless they get a free/stolen copy and their bro-in-law's cousin twice removed installs it for them.

        But, just about everyone I know with a Mac upgrades it when the new version comes out.

    • As we've seen time and time again, people are simply willing to pay more for Microsoft products than Apple products.

      Only if its available in Zune brown ....

      Try typing that and keeping a straight face, unpossible.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Microsoft deserves to fail on MERITS, not price manipulation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cheesybagel ( 670288 )
      I think MS is doing great with its pricing model. This way Android can dominate the tablet market like its meant to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:31PM (#41686513)

    Nuff said

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, how do you pretend to compete with a 2048x1536 retina display using 1366x768? It's 1/3rd fo the pixels.

      The New iPad is a comfortable desktop machine in a portable package. The Surface is a Me Too tablet.

      If their pricing was in line to compete with the Nexus 7... Then we'd have a competition....

  • by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:32PM (#41686525)
    Then yes, it's worth an extra buck-twenty. What good is a cheaper device that I can't do my work on? That's just a toy.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:38PM (#41686617)

      I understood this to be the ARM device that _cannot_ run Windows applications (only Metro apps).

    • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:40PM (#41686635)

      No, Surface runs WinRT, the ARM version of Windows 8 which will only Metro apps which don't take advantage of native x86 code.

      • The Surface Pro is supposed to be a full-blown PC, capable of running software that runs on Windows 7, from what I've been reading.
        • by afidel ( 530433 )

          There's been no pricing announcement yet for Pro but it'll be $1k+ based on the pricing for the RT based Surface and it won't be available until at least late Q1 13.

      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

        Microsoft compiled their apps for different architectures before, I don't think it would be *that* hard for them to do it again.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      Then yes, it's worth an extra buck-twenty. What good is a cheaper device that I can't do my work on? That's just a toy.

      well, then it's ~300 bucks more expensive(surface pro which runs your work programs is maybe a thousand bucks+, I'm unsure if the pricing was yet announced.. it wont hit the shelves this year).

    • You can if you have a MacBook Air !!! Never, ever buy Rev Zero on any product or you will pay big time.

    • >>Then yes, it's worth an extra buck-twenty. What good is a cheaper device that I can't do my work on? That's just a toy.

      Yep. I'm looking to replace my laptop, and am mulling getting the x86 version of the Surface. (The RT / ARM version of it doesn't interest me in the slightest.)

      Looking at two equivalent laptops from Sony, the Windows 8 version of a good desktop replacement laptop is $320 cheaper than an identical Win7 machine. But I think Win8 is ridiculous, and a friend of mine who works for MSR to

  • What does it cost them to build per unit, what's the R&D costs and what profit margin do they want?

    The problem with the PC industry is that a lot of OEMs went super cheap, with razor thin margins. Making it up in software bundles and volume. This is not sustainable. Hopefully Microsoft got the message and pricing within their costs.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 )

      The problem with the PC industry is that a lot of OEMs went super cheap, with razor thin margins. Making it up in software bundles and volume. This is not sustainable.

      Considering this has been the model for ~15 years now, volume pricing does seem to be sustainable (especially when it's *still* significantly cheaper to build your own desktop).

  • Justified? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhavleak ( 912889 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:34PM (#41686561)

    "Is it priced smartly?" is probably a better question. What could be 'just' or 'unjust' about Surface pricing?

  • Supply and Demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:35PM (#41686571)

    If there are enough people willing to throw a ton of money at a product then they're doing a good job pricing their products. Nobody asks if Apple products are expensive. They sell like crazy so the price works. If anything, Apple should charge more for their products until they've maximized their profit supply curve (they've probably extrapolated this already).

    All this said, do I think that Microsoft has a hope in hell selling to the niche high en crowd? No, but that being said, I thought the Xbox was a boondoggle as well, and look where that got them.

    • Nobody asks if Apple products are expensive.

      I suppose you're correct. They come out and state they are as a fact, rather than ask it as a question.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:07PM (#41686955)

      Nobody asks if Apple products are expensive.

      Expensive stuff is better than cheap stuff, right? Maybe the price is for the Bling effect?

      Oh, is that a cheap Surface that you have there?

      No, it is more expensive than your iPad!"

      Most folks ordering expensive champagne can't taste the difference between Moet Chandon and Purple Drank, but the champagne must be better, because it is more expensive, right . . . ?

      • No, it is more expensive than your iPad!"

        When I read that, I heard this [].

      • Expensive stuff is better than cheap stuff, right? Maybe the price is for the Bling effect?

        Since we're talking about Microsoft here... shouldn't that be the Bing effect?

  • Reality Bytes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:35PM (#41686573) Journal

    PHB's sometimes need to be bopped over the head with the harsh reality of very poor sales before they admit they are not the center of the universe.

  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhipItGood ( 679579 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:35PM (#41686579)

    They can probably justify it, but I won't pay it. If they beat the iPad by $100 or included the keyboard at the same price, maybe.

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RocketRabbit ( 830691 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:36PM (#41686587)

    The purpose of Surface is not to sell, it's to convince MS's investors that they are keeping up with the rest of the market. I don't think anybody seriously thinks it is a competitor to the iPad, or even to the Droid-based iPad knockoffs out there. It's just this thing, you know?

  • Not in my opinion. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:37PM (#41686591)

    I find the device lacking in the screen department. It is a low res 720P screen with 16:9 AR. It's not a good device to use as a reader or to create any content due to this. If the device clearly outclassed the iPad then it might be worth it to me at 500 with the keyboard. Now it looks like a me too device only with a lower quality overall.

  • -1 Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:37PM (#41686599)

    You're asking Slashdot for a Apple vs Microsoft comparison on a product none of us have used? Well that's surely going to be reasonable and fact based discussion.

    • This.

    • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

      by musikit ( 716987 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:17PM (#41687077)

      I HAVE used it. first comment after getting it was "hey this thing is pretty fast" then as i began to develop for it i notices things. 20gig of the 64 gigs are used for the OS. umm why? the device(s) i have all lose touches, hold on to touches, or at times are generally not responsive to touches. there are 4 buttons on the top or side that seem to do things randomly. i honestly have been using it for a month still dont know what they do. every corner being a non-disable hot corner gets really annoying fast, especially for games, where do you put the buttons? in the middle of the screen where the action is? also there dev panel needs a lot of work, seriously a LOT of work. everytime i need to sign to upload to the store i have to call my manager over since i cant sign directly. he cant give me privledges for signing. wtf. also there are just some things you can NOT do without using the old windows xp/vista/7 interface which on the touch screens is really really freaking annoying, since you dont have the accuracy of a mouse and no right click.

    • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

      by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:26PM (#41687183)

      You're asking Slashdot for a Apple vs Microsoft comparison on a product none of us have used? Well that's surely going to be reasonable and fact based discussion.

      Ahh. Ad hominem. Well actually.. a) We have lots of Microsoft shills on Slashdot; this has the benefit that all the Microsoft positive "talking points" and news will be posted and everyone posting here makes really sure that anti-Microsoft points are clearly justified. b) This is one of the few places where the people writing aren't soon expecting to be making half of their income from Microsoft adverts. c) there are lots of people who can read specifications and work things out.

      For example; there has lots of breathless talk about Microsoft's keyboard covers all over the media. On Slashdot it's been clearly pointed out that the keyboard being pushed has almost no travel and you will have to buy an alternative more expensive one if you want to be able to type reasonably.

      Within five minutes of this article going up, someone had posted the Microsoft story that this will be able to run "Windows" apps. This is the kind of thing which is reported without question elsewhere. Here on Slashdot you will see that actually the apps for this new tablet are a completely new ("Metro"/"Modern interface") type.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:37PM (#41686603)

    Everyone keeps talking about the iPad price as if that's the holiday price. Apple have a special event on the 23rd (i.e. in six days) where they're releasing 24 new variants on the iPad []. At *this* point we'll be able to see how the iPad and Surface offerings stack up against each other

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:42PM (#41686657)

    using the word justified seems to take away from the fact that there was a cost to develop and build it. Wouldn't we have to know those costs before we can say "justified"? How about asking is it worth it instead?

  • I'll buy one as soon as I can get a 7-8 inch tablet running Windows 8 for about $200-250.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:48PM (#41686739) Homepage

    "The price of a thing is what the thing will bring." You can set a price anywhere you want, but it is up to the customers to decide whether they are willing to pay the price.

    So, now, who wants a Surface? How does Surface fit in to the tablet market?

    Apple made the first non-sucky tablet, and they reaped huge first-mover advantage, which is still paying off for them today. Related, they have network effect: everyone made apps for iPad because all the customers bought iPads, and customers bought iPads (in part) because of the rich selection of apps. Additionally, Apple did a great job on the user experience, and the quality is excellent. So you put all this together and Apple can command a premium price.

    Along comes Android. Now you can get quite nice tablets for $200, and you can install any application you like. You can use multiple app stores if you like. So Android is both the low-cost solution and the more-free solution.

    Along comes Microsoft. They are very, very late to the party. First mover advantage? Definitely not. Network effect, vast library of apps? No; they need to build a new stable of C# Windows 8 apps, from scratch. More-free? No; they are copying the Apple model, where the customer must go to the official app store. (And Microsoft is also copying the idea of raking a 30% commission on each sale. App developers tolerate this of Apple... will they tolerate it of Microsoft?)

    So... low-cost? Definitely not. The Surface is being priced like an iPad. Customers are willing to pay a premium price for an iPad, but I cannot see any reason why customers would see enough value in a Surface to justify a premium price.

    IMHO, Microsoft's best bet is to make the Surface integrate very smoothly into a Windows network. It should connect smoothly to Windows servers, it should have a good email client that can talk to Exchange servers, that sort of thing. That can carve out a niche in the business market, where incidentally a higher price doesn't hurt so much. But they are so late to the party, that many companies are already standardized on iPad. (And all the C-level executives want iPads and already have them.)

    In short, at this price level, the Surface will be a niche product at best, and very possibly the next Zune.


    • At this point Surface is like the very first iPhone, that was hella expensive till Apple hit its contract sales with AT&T for subsidies to kick in. It's not the price that matters, it's the delivery. If $599 is what the think they need to do the product RIGHT, then they need to do that. But then they have to DELIVER.... Something Microsoft has consistently failed or let down lately.

      Apple's track record before iPhone: OSX improving every release with rave reviews, iPods dominating the space, iTunes pick

  • This is why techies tend to be crap at marketing (that's a complement to techies by the way, I'm a techie).

    The purpose of the Surface isn't just to make a profit on each unit (which at this price it probably is), it's to help position Windows 8/RT/Metro or whatever it's called.

    The market for cheap tablets is thoroughly occupied by Android. Most people I know, even techies, think of Android tablets as "like an iPad, but cheaper, and therefore not as good". The perception (right or wrong) is that if you want the best you buy an iPad, if you want cheap and cheerful you by an Android tablet. There is no competition at the premium end, it's iPad or nothing. The perception is that the only reason you'd buy Android is because you don't have the money for an iPad.

    Pricing the Surface at the same point as the iPad sends out a message to consumers that says "we think the Surface is as good as the iPad". Microsoft clearly want to position Windows 8/RT on tablets as a premium product, it doesn't want to compete with Android, it wants to compete with Apple and iOS.

    That won't stop other manufacturers from making cheaper tablets, but Microsoft are setting the bar high. If someone else (e.g. Acer) make a cheap WinRT tablet it will be seen as an affordable version of a premium product, not a "cheap" product.

    • by mdfst13 ( 664665 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:54PM (#41687411)

      Another issue is that Microsoft wants to sell software not tablets. If they sell the premium, expensive tablet, that leaves plenty of room for their customers (who are computer builders) to sell cheaper versions or even their own premium versions. If they sold their tablets as cheaply as possible, it would be much harder to sell software to their normal customers. That might push their customers to Android, which is exactly what they want to avoid.

      Apple is a consumer company. They sell direct to ordinary people. Microsoft is not (at least not primarily). They sell to businesses. It may make sense for Microsoft to enter the consumer market here, as Apple has been the only ones selling their own solution for both the software and the hardware. This allows Microsoft to compete with both Apple and Android. It would not make sense for Microsoft to only sell integrated solutions, as their main strength is selling to builders (the Android space).

  • The iPhone, whizzy as it was, had a massive initial price tag. I blanched at it and stuck with a less whizzy phone. I'm not sorry I did. Now I have the money to buy any smart phone I choose, but I'll still not spring for one more expensive than I want. Same goes for pads - Android rules the roost for the budget minded and will ultimately dictate the market through shear numbers -- same way cloned DOS PCs dictated the way of the present desktop. Microsoft, again, do not know their own history and how th

  • Advantage Surface (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jamesl ( 106902 )

    iPad 16GB no keyboard -- $499
    Surface 32GB no keyboard -- $499
    Advantage Surface

    iPad 32GB no keyboard -- $599
    Surface 32GB with touch keyboard -- $599
    Advantage Surface

    iPad 64GB no keyboard -- $699
    Surface 64GB with touch keyboard -- $699

    And the released Surface includes Office 2013RT.
    Advantage Surface

    • Umm, no (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      iPad 16GB no keyboard - $399. Surface does not have retina display.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      It's not an iPad. I want and iPad. (Originated from [])

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 )

      Errr... right.

      Except we should actually review what a tablet is used for. Mostly viewing things; documents; emails; films; etc. in situations where you don't have a table to put a computer on.

      iPad - 652 grams
      Surface - 676 grams
      Nexus 7 - 340 grams
      Advantage - Nexus 7 - Loser Surface

      iPad - 2592 x 1944 pixels
      Surface - 1280 x 720 pixels
      Nexus 7 - 1280x800 pixels
      Advantage iPad - Loser Surface

      iPad - 10 inches (approx - 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm)
      Surface - 10.60 inches
      Nexus 7 - 7 inches
      Advantage Ne

    • Re:Advantage Surface (Score:5, Informative)

      by DanFelixPierce ( 2663805 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @07:19PM (#41687661)

      Considering that the pre-installed software on the Surface uses 12GB of space, Advantage : iPad,

  • by chicago_scott ( 458445 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:56PM (#41686849) Journal

    Microsoft is acting like they number one in the mobile market, but the fact is they're not even in the game yet or even a player in the sub-mobile markets and they're making some huge mistakes. I've been a .NET developer for 16 years and I'm seriously pulling for them, but the last 6 months have been full of Microsoft making ridiculous decisions. I almost think that Google and Apple paid top executives at Microsoft to screw up this Windows Phone 8 launch as badly as humanly possible.

    Microsoft refuses to release the beta or alpha of the Windows Phone 8 SDK to developers unless they pay a $99 fee and even then the SDK is released on a lottery basis. Come on, seriously? MS needs people to write software for for WP8 NOW, not later. So at the very least if they're going to act like they're relevant and charge developers $99 for the privilege to write software for their currently-non-existant device with 0% market share they should at least give those developers the SDK... which leads to my next complaint:

    $99 to develop for a device with 0% market share? Microsoft, are you joking? You should be begging developers to write software for WP8 and maybe een giving them a full copy of VS 2012, bot charging them $99. Big mistake.

    The Nokia Lumia 900 is a heavy brick. Cool specs and everything, but it's a brick.

    And lastly...

    Nokia gave AT&T exclusive rights to provide cellular service to the Lumia 900. Is this a joke? Every other mobile maker is going away from exclusivity. Maybe MS could get away with this is WP8 and the Lumia 900 were some world-changing revolutionary device, but come on. WP8 is cool, it's got some great stuff, but it's not anywhere near the same as when Apple released the iPHone in 1997 and gave AT&T exclusivity.

    Microsoft has some great stuff going for it: an awesome Visual Studio IDE that blows away XCode and Eclipse and they have a huge foothold in the business market. Tons of businesses have invested heavily is MS infrastructure and developer talent and would be much more likely to do mobile dev projects if Microsoft could get their mobile strategy even 1/2 right.

    But as a developer with a passion for mobile dev I'm obviously pretty discouraged about their mobile strategy in the immediate future right now.

  • Microsoft can not run down prices and survive at the bottom in the tablet space. So they are "adding" features to make their tablets closer to the laptop/desktop feature set or should we say usability model. They will advertise their system runs an office application suite or parts of it and have desktop like capabilities. Apple can't really say this. Therefore you see why Microsoft is pricing their system up so high IMO.

    will it fly? I doubt it but they are a great marketing company so we'll see.

  • Steve Ballmer simply multiplied the price by the bazillion units the powerpoint slide says will ship and wow, it just makes Microsoft's market cap way bigger than Apple's. So obviously the price is justified.

  • by perlchild ( 582235 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:00PM (#41686883)

    The people saying the surface has to undercut the ipad are missing the point... Microsoft's strategy is to anchor a higher price for windows rt tablets...
    So the oems can undercut the price without being over their own costs...(Which they would pressure microsoft about...)

  • When I look at the surface, I see a tablet with the screen and SoC of a $400 tablet (iPad 2 or Asus Transformer Prime), bundled with software (Office instead of iWork) that costs $30 in Apple's app store. So in my mind, it should cost $430. That said, people must be ordering it, because the basic version is sold out [] and new orders are shipping later. Of course, Microsoft could just have thrown up that statement to attract attention. Even if they have sold many, we don't know how many. We're just going
  • Overpriced... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:27PM (#41687189) Homepage

    Companies produced Android tablets which competed with the ipad on price, they didn't sell...
    Windows RT is mostly in the same boat, it is a new entrant to the tablet market but is known in other market segments and has relatively few tablet specific apps.

    MS are hoping that the windows brand will sell tablets and encourage developers to make apps, however it may just do the opposite... people tolerate windows on the desktop largely because its already ubiquitous, but they are unlikely to put up with it on a tablet when the ipad is the benchmark.

    I also suspect that the windows brand will backfire in other ways, users will buy it expecting to run their existing software and then be disappointed when they can't...

  • Once again, Microsoft snatches defeat from the jaws of victory - sort of defeat in demouth all over again

  • I've tried several Office packages on Android. they work well and have mostly the right features (I'm addicted to stylesheets and outlines, ymmv), but their import/export filters are not up to par.

    If Office RT supplies 1- the features 2- the stability like the others, and adds 3- perfect import/export, then most professionals on Office will gladly pay the same or a bit more than for any other tablet.

    Consumers not hooked on Office probably won't though, and probably shouldn't. Android has most everything nee

    • by Tapewolf ( 1639955 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @06:51PM (#41687381)

      If Office RT supplies 1- the features 2- the stability like the others, and adds 3- perfect import/export, then most professionals on Office will gladly pay the same or a bit more than for any other tablet.

      Consumers not hooked on Office probably won't though, and probably shouldn't. Android has most everything needed for content consumption, at half the price.

      Interestingly, the version of office shipping on this thing is for home use only and must not be used in a commercial setting. (Why the F is it called 'office' if you can't use it there...?)

      Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview and the final version are not for use in commercial, nonprofit, or revenue generating activities. Commercial license options available (sold separately).

      See also: [] - see item 2 in the small print at the bottom. It seems to require a Business or Pro version of Office, pushing the TCO way past the iPad.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @07:43PM (#41687839)

    compared to the ipad: same price with the same no keyboard.
    compared to the ipad: how much is support for peripherals worth to you?
    compared to the ipad: being able to take files on and off of the device with a typical usb stick.
    compared to the ipad: being able to run any program or game from the last 30 years of windows
    compared to the ipad: directx
    compared to the ipad: actually being a traditional node on any network
    compared to the ipad: a keyboard. wow.
    compared to the ipad: dockable to additional ports/memory/battery
    compared to the ipad: anyone can program anything without restrictions
    compared to the ipad: available with a proper core i5 ivy bridge that's faster than a ten-year-old desktop (the ipad isn't)

  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @06:00AM (#41690741)

    The Surface with keyboard is $599. And you need the keyboard because the office suite has not been fully updated for touch like the iPad office suite.

    iPad starts at $399, and in less than one week, we expect a new model at $299.

    There is nothing in the Surface lineup to match the screen on the iPad with Retina Display. So Microsoft is competing with the $299/$399 iPads, not the $499 iPad.

    And iPad has about 500,000 apps, 250,000 of which are full-size, and over 100,000 hardware accessories. And the whole iTunes media ecosystem. Microsoft has 4000 apps for Surface RT, and their music store is relaunching again, for the 4th or 5th time this century.

    And Apple has like 35 years of making consumer computers. On October 27th, Microsoft will have one (1) day of experience making consumer computers.

    But wait, Surface RT has a cut-down version of the mouse-driven Microsoft Office. For $45, you can put Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand on your iPad, and that is going to enable you to produce a 2 minute marketing video for YouTube, which is a 21st century task, not just make a Word document, which is a 1985 task. And even with that $45 of software, that only makes an iPad Air into a $344 device, and iPad 2 would be $444.

    So Surface has a lot of disadvantages against Apple.

    And then back to the pricing, what does $599 buy you?

    - $599 at Microsoft — 1 Surface RT with touch cover

    - $599 at Apple — 1 iPad Air, 1 iPhone (or iPod touch,) 1 iPod shuffle, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and almost enough left over to get cases for everything

    - $599 at Apple — 2 iPad Airs and a dollar change

    - $599 at Apple — iPad with Retina Display, Wireless Keyboard, Keynote, Pages, Numbers

      and Surface is only at all 5 Microsoft Stores. The Apple gear is at hundreds of Apple Stores and other stores.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.