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Report: Thanks to Microsoft, Windows 8 tablets will start from $500

by Doug Drinkwater

June 13 2012

Microsoft is expected to charge $85 per Windows RT license
Microsoft is expected to charge $85 per Windows RT license

Concern over the price of Windows 8 tablets continues to worry those in the IT industry, no more so now that one source has claimed Microsoft will charge $85 to manufacturers licensing Windows RT.

The first Windows 8 tablets are expected to come to market in the fourth quarter of the year, but much speculation has already abound on whether these models will be priced competitively enough to steal market share from Apple’s iPad or lesser rivals running Google’s Android.

That fear has returned again today, as tech website VR-Zone reports that Microsoft intends to charge OEM manufacturers $85 per license to get their hands on Windows 8 RT, which is the version for ARM-powered tablets.

The source believes that this will have a knock-on effect, with tablet manufacturers essentially having to raise the Windows 8 tablet prices to between $500 and $800 to make a profit. By comparison, Apple’s iPad 2 is priced at $399, while the new iPad starts at $499. 

Should these prices turn out to be correct, tablet manufacturers adopting Microsoft’s latest OS may face an uphill struggle to attract consumers, especially when iOS and Android devices can be found cheaper. What with Windows 8 being promoted as the biggest update since Windows 95, consumers may also be unwilling to spend so much money on an untried platform, even with Microsoft expected to bundle its Office suite with Windows RT tablets for free.

Despite this, tablet and PC vendors seem to be genuinely excited about the future of Windows 8, with Michael Dell today telling delegates at a Gartner conference that Windows 8 represents an “evolutionary path for Windows into tablets”. Dell is one of many vendors thought to be considering rolling out Windows 8 tablets, with HP, Lenovo and Nokia also thought to be interested.

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  • autotraveler
    2 years 2 months ago

    If this rumor is true, it has virtually insured that Win8/RT tablets will be an absolute non-starter in the consumer marketplace. Only a small number of potential buyers will pay the same price for a Johnny-come-lately Win8/RT tablet when they can buy a iPad with similar specs (RAM and wireless connectivity) for the same price.

    I see someone coming up with a low-priced, open source solution for the iPad, like Open Office, that will all but insure that Win8/RT tablets will fail in the consumer marketplace. Hasn't Microsoft learned anything from the failure of Android suppliers (HP, Motorola, RIM) when they tried to sell same-spec tablets at the same price as the comparable iPad?

    What the market is looking for, especially those of us in the digital magazine publishing space, is a 10-inch tablet, with WiFi connectivity, and Ice Cream Sandwich, at $249 to $279. That's a product that can possibly gain traction in the marketplace, not a 16 GB, WiFi Win8/RT tablet at $499. I'm not sure with such a late start, that Microsoft would see much sales momentum even at $399, where it would be competing against the iPad 2.

    Richard Truesdell
    Editorial Director, Automotive Traveler magazine (http://bit.ly/ttatmag), AutomotiveTraveler.com (http://automotivetraveler.com)

    Richard Truesdell

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