Microsoft Surface Windows RT tablet might launch at $199, Acer CEO annoyed again
According to an anonymous tipster, briefed with Microsoft's plans for its Surface tablets launch at the TechReady 15 conference, Redmond is evaluating an option to launch the Windows RT slate at the very competitive $199 price point, eating the difference in production costs, if any.
This, of course, is the best way to spread the newborn Win RT platform far and wide, since both Google - with the Nexus 7 - and Apple - with the expected iPad mini - will be doing the affordable tablet thing, and Microsoft has to be really competitive to have a shot at a tablet market where the iPad commanded 2/3 of the sales last quarter.
This Surface-for-$199 rumor might actually have legs, since Acer's CEO JT Wang, who was very vocal to protest publicly against Microsoft's decision to enter the tablet business with hardware of its own, commented that $199 price would hurt all other Win RT vendors significantly:
Wang noted that Microsoft is currently looking for solutions such as creating a price gap to minimize the negative impact on other vendors' product lineups, and he believes if Microsoft launches Surface at a price of US$199, it would have a rather significant impact, but if it is priced at around US$499-599, the effects will be a lot smaller.
That much we can tell too, but the sheer fact that Acer's CEO is using the $199 price point in a conversation about the Windows RT Surface tablet from Microsoft it pretty revealing. We don't know what decision Redmond will ultimately take about its Win RT tablet price at launch, but are salivating at the prospect to get a 10.6" slate with magnesium chassis for $200 come October 26 anyway. Perhaps that possibility was the real reason Toshiba just shelved its RT tablet plans, rather than the cited component supply shortages.