While our favorite company from Redmond has yet to release official Microsoft Surface Price details, CEO Steve Ballmer did recently suggest that Windows Tablets will compete with the iPad. He also suggested that the “sweet spot” for the bulk of the PC market ranges from “$300 to about $700 or $800“. Could we see a Microsoft Surface price of $300? I doubt an MS Surface price would be that low but it’s not out of the question for an OEM to produce such a device. Since the price of these devices will significantly impact how well they compete in an already crowded tablet market, let’s examine the Microsoft Surface price and how it compares.
[ Also See: Microsoft Surface Order Available Now! ]
Microsoft Surface Price: What we Currently Know
Microsoft originally suggested that the Microsoft Surface price for Windows RT version of the product would compare to the price of existing ARM processor-based devices. Many believe that the Surface RT would be priced around $600. While this price is $100 more than the Apple iPad, it’s perhaps close enough to represent an alternative to the iPad for consumers looking to buy a tablet. I feel however that there must be a Windows 8 Tablet offering at the $500 mark in order for the platform to succeed. We still don’t know how good Windows RT apps will be or how many will be available. To ask consumers to spend more and possibly get less for their money (at least in the beginning) is a lot to ask in my opinion.
Microsoft also said that the Windows 8 Pro version of the MS Surface would be comparable to existing Ultrabooks. This notion is supported by the recently released pricing information for the Acer Iconia W700 Windows 8 Tablets. Acer is releasing three devices, they each have specs similar to Ultrabooks, and they will cost from $799 to $999. While I would prefer to see Windows Tablets running the full version of Windows 8 to be a little cheaper, I don’t think these devices have to compete with the likes of the iPad or high end Android Tablets. Instead, I think consumers in the market for other PCs such as Ultrabooks and conventional laptops may consider Windows 8 Tablets. Considering that a Windows 8 Tablet can do everything an iPad can do and much more, it’s reasonable to expect these devices to cost more.
Microsoft Surface vs the iPad, Kindle Fire, other Android tablets
Ballmer told the Seattle Times he expects the Microsoft Surface to compete with the Apple iPad. He said that he thinks the MS Surface will be very competitive product from the features perspective. I have to wonder though if he thinks all Windows Tablets will compete with the iPad or just the Windows RT versions. Ballmer also seem to suggest that the MS Surface will not attempt to compete with the Kindle Fire and similar, less expensive Android Tablets. From Baller:[quote]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….[/quote]
Considering that the Apple iPad out sells all other tablets 2 to 1, including all of the cheap Android Tablets, I think consumers agree with Ballmer. The perception might be that if you spend a little bit more, you get a significantly better device that has more capabilities. If this sentiment is while the iPad beats cheaper alternatives 2 to 1, perhaps this sentiment will allow Windows 8 Tablets such as the Microsoft Surface to challenge (and even beat?!?!?) the iPad.