Okay, Microsoft Surface tablets will likely *not* be priced at $199

Last month the tech world was buzzing with the possibility that Microsoft will aggressively price the Windows RT Surface tablet at $199. While there still are no concrete facts on the pricing of Microsoft’s tablets, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer more or less just crushed the chances of a Surface tablet appearing in the Kindle-Fire-like price range.

When asked about the pricing on Surface tablets in an interview with Seattle Times, Ballmer gave a (very rough) estimate of $300-$800 but also indicated he prefers iPad-like pricing rather than Kindle-Fire-like pricing:

We haven’t announced pricing. I think we have a very competitive product from the features perspective. …

I think most people would tell you that the iPad is not a superexpensive device. … (When) people offer cheaper, they do less. They look less good, they’re chintzier, they’re cheaper.

If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle (Kindle Fire, $199) to do their homework? The answer is no; you never would. It’s just not a good enough product. It doesn’t mean you might not read a book on it….

If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That’s the sweet spot.

As Digital Trends points out, a brand new iPad can be had for anywhere between $400-$800 (depending on which model you want). So Microsoft may still feature Windows RT Surface tablets below that iPad $400 entry price to make the product competitive. However, it seems like the prospects of grabbing a Surface tablet for $199 is getting more dim as the big day arrives.

Keep in mind Ballmer is referring to Windows RT Surface, the ARM-based version of Windows 8. The full-fledged Windows 8 Pro Surface tablet, the one based on Intel processors, is likely going to be more expensive than the iPad.

For what it is worth, however, Microsoft isn’t the only one that will be manufacturing Windows 8 tablets. Microsoft OEM partner Lenovo has already gone on record estimating Windows RT tablets at $200-$500. So you may still be able to grab a cheap Windows RT tablet — it just won’t be a Surface one.

[via Digital Trends, Seattle Times]

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  1. Dan


    I’m agree..as this tablet has yet to prove itself to the market and, even though it’s Windows, Apple is by far more established and who doesn’t have a friend who owns an iPad..if not you, yourself?

    I think it’s a bad move and a wrong one in general for MS to be making, if they are going to go down the “if you’re dumb enough to pay more” road. It’s an insult to all customers..to charge for something based on image, rather than practical use..and it’s far from what I expected them to..even more so given all the hot air they have spouted over the years, about how different they are from Apple.

    Now it appears there really is little difference between the two..and it’s more about profit and market share than it is about offering a value product to a customer base they want to grow.

    Nope..I think they can stick this tablet where the sun don’t shine! I want something that is worth what I am paying for..not paying more than it’s worth, because MS thinks it’s going to be the new Apple with this!

    Umm..is that Linux I see over there?

  2. fermier

    This $99.99 business (and have even seen $999.999.99 in a real estate listing) is such nonsense yet it will never go away. Think of all the printers’ ink could be saved by using the true amt instead of with all the 99999s.

    On unrelated note, latest Apple atrocity “Baby Aquarium” listed as “Free, Regularly $4 (sorry $3.99)” then treats baby to nearly $100 of in-app purchases. Also found programs on how to tie shoes, and even toilet training! All from the wonderful iPad.