MAYBE STEVE BALLMER JUST DOESN’T WANT OUR BUSINESS

MAYBE STEVE BALLMER JUST DOESN’T WANT OUR BUSINESS

Shane BarnhillTuesday,16 October 2012

Microsoft

You will use Clippy, and you will like it.



The Snap

Microsoft has finally released specific pricing details for its Surface RT tablets, which the company announced back in June but has yet to start selling. The base Surface model, with 32 GB of storage, costs $499. For a $599 price tag, the same model includes a keyboard cover that essentially transforms the tablet into laptop. The third option is a 64GB version for $699.

The Download

There are reasons to be bullish about Surface’s prospects (which I, ahem, have written about before). For consumers, the big selling points of Surface RT include (some level of) Xbox integration and an increasingly-competitive app store, which Microsoft has been building up by paying app developers. For enterprise buyers, Surface Pro tablets (but not the RT model, which these prices pertain to) can easily replace laptops, enabling productivity without increasing the number of devices that IT teams will need to support.

But this pricing announcement is much closer to bullshit than bullish. It’s a middle finger from Redmond. And moreover, its just bizarre, given that Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s lower-end Kindle models significantly — no, make that dramatically — undercut the Surface RT on price. And these are products from companies with some street cred in the tablet space. The Surface RT pricing structure, then, is clearly aimed towards positioning the Surface directly against Apple’s iPad. I’m not saying it won’t succeed over the long term, but Microsoft faces a looooong, uphill battle for an unproven product. Consumer-side adoption will be very challenging at these steep price points, which are less-than-friendly to consumers who may be looking for fresh choices. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the persistently low market share for Windows Phones, which continue to lag well behind iPhones, Android-based devices, RIM’s BlackBerry, and even Nokia’s mothballed Symbian OS.

When you’re getting your ass handed to you by Symbian, it’s time to think differently.

Hat Tips
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

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