Engadget: Surface RT Tablet Might Cost Just $199

Blockbuster rumor from Tim Stevens at Engadget:

According to an inside source, a session was held at Microsoft’s recent TechReady15 conference in which all the launch details were laid out. If things go according to the plan detailed then, the Surface for Windows RT tablet will be launching October 26th — no surprise there — at a compelling price of $199.

That MSRP, almost certainly lower than Microsoft’s own cost, would line it up against the Nexus 7 and even the Kindle Fire.

If true, it’s an aggressive, almost incredibly bold move by Microsoft. They’d not only be losing billions of dollars to juice sales, they’d be throwing their OEM partners under a bus. Microsoft might be willing to lose money on each sale to grow the platform, but OEM PC makers need to sell tablets for a profit.

If false, this is a perfect example of Microsoft mismanaging expectations. By not giving a price at the introduction, they opened themselves up to something like this. Now, if it actually ships with an utterly reasonable price of, say, $399, everyone who believed this $199 rumor is going to see it as being twice as expensive as they expected. Under-promise and over-deliver — Microsoft should have given a price at the introduction and then tried to beat that price when the Surface actually shipped later in the year. Compare and contrast with the iPad, which, two months ahead of its introduction, was leaked to The Wall Street Journal as being expected to cost “under $1,000”. That expectation made the actual starting price of $499 seem not merely acceptable, but downright remarkable.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012