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Leak Hints Windows 8 Tablets May Be Dearer Than Makes Sense 365

Posted by timothy
from the boutique-prices dept.
MrSeb writes "If, like me, you thought Microsoft would price Windows RT competitively, you were wrong: A leaked slide from Asus says that its Vivo Tab RT, due to be released alongside Windows RT at the end of October, will start at $600. Unbelievably, this is $100 more than the iPad 3, and a full $200 more than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. For $600, you would expect some sensational hardware specs — but alas, that's sadly not the case. The Vivo Tab RT has a low-res 10.1-inch 1366×768 IPS display, quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, 2GB of RAM, NFC, 8-megapixel camera and that's about it. Like its Androidesque cousin, the Transformer, the Vivo Tab RT can be plugged into a keyboard/battery dock — but it'll cost you another $200 for the pleasure. (Curiously, the Transformer's docking station only costs $150 — go figure.)"
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Leak Hints Windows 8 Tablets May Be Dearer Than Makes Sense

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  • by Wovel (964431)

    Wasn't this an announcement from the manufacturer?

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:11PM (#41376073)

    Perhaps Microsoft has decided they need to make money instead of doing loss leaders.

    • Re:Margins (Score:5, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:13PM (#41376105) Journal

      Perhaps Microsoft has decided they need to make money instead of doing loss leaders.

      To make money, you have to sell product.

      • by morcego (260031)

        Microsoft have been selling expensive products for years now. They were never a price oriented company.

        • Re:Margins (Score:4, Insightful)

          by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:24PM (#41376269) Journal

          Ok, I'll give you that. But now they're competing in a commodity market. Microsoft doesn't really understand competitive, commodity markets.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by morcego (260031)

            They will be pushing Microsoft Office and other "solutions" as a reason to buy their more expensive tablets, as well as integration with Exchange and whatever other crappy product they can think of.

            We all seen it before. How many people continue using IIS ?

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              IIS is about 13% of the web server market.

            • Re:Margins (Score:4, Insightful)

              by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:29PM (#41377315) Homepage

              They will be pushing Microsoft Office and other "solutions" as a reason to buy their more expensive tablets, as well as integration with Exchange and whatever other crappy product they can think of.

              I don't disagree as that seems to be how Microsoft has marketed their products over the last bunch of years ... I'm just not sure they fully get that people are looking for devices which do things other than Office documents and Exchange.

              I think RIM is demonstrating quite nicely that what consumers want is stuff that isn't what businesses want. And the consumer market is actually quite a bit bigger than the corporate one.

              Unfortunately, Microsoft often still sees the world as about being able to access Office and Exchange. And I'm betting far more people don't need that than do in this market -- for me personally, I have no use for that, but I've no doubt that for some people the ability to get their company email or access the TPS report from home is absolutely critical.

              I think when Microsoft comes to terms with the fact that a shocking amount of people don't need Office and Exchange, they might figure out what features they should be putting into tablets.

        • Re:Margins (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Captain Hook (923766) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#41376451)

          Microsoft have been selling expensive products for years now. They were never a price oriented company.

          MS never had to be price oriented, they held a monopoly on consumer and enterprise desktops, and had a pretty good market share of servers. To the point where competitors effectively had to be free to compete, not because of technical superiority but because of how the market was stacked against them.

          The trouble for MS is it doesn't have that lead in the mobile space. Its now forced, whether it acknowledges it or not to compete on:

          • Cost
          • UI
          • Technical Merit

          Cost and UI matter to regular consumers, Cost and Technical Merit (maybe including a bit of UI as it relates to funcationality rather than prettiness/bragging rights) matter to techies.

          MS's problem is the first group aren't going to be impressed with Notro compared to Apple or Android, especially if the devices are going to cost significantly more. The second group remember enough about MS's business practices from the 90's and 00's as to be warey of accepting them.

          There is another possibility, maybe it's not the MS license knocking up the price, ASUS might not be expecting big sales from these devices and so are hoping to cover R&D costs with a smaller number of sales by bumping up the unit price?

          • by leandrod (17766)

            They were never a price oriented company.

            This is not true at all. Nearly all markets Microsoft entered they underpriced, usually a lot. Operating systems, server
            software, office suites, you name it — MS products were always cheaper than the then incumbent. What MS always
            did was to establish a proprietary lock-in by embracing, extending and extinguishing existing standards, so that they
            could avoid lowering prices — software having fat margins, former incumbents would underprice MS once they lo

        • Re:Margins (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:39PM (#41376537)
          This may simply be evidence that the Win 8 tablet platform is intended for the business audience.
        • Re:Margins (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:57PM (#41376825) Homepage Journal

          I don't know, I paid $40 for DOS 6 when games were $50, I'd say that's cheap, especially since it came with DoubleSpace. Most people aren't Microsoft's customers, they're Asus and Dell and HP customers. I doubt that more than $10 went to MS when you bought a computer. Enterprise customers are their customers, not you. Now, Office seems expensive unless you put it next to Photoshop are worse, SAS.

          You're confusing them with Apple. Apple computers are way more expensive than Windows computers, but Apples are percieved to be higher quality. I just don't see how MS can sell a tablet at a higher price than an iPad and expect anyone to buy them. Folks buy Apple to be kewl and show off how much money they have, you can't say that about MS.

          Look how the Zune flopped, and it wasn't as expensive as an iPod. There's no way anyone is going to be willing to pay more for a Windows computer than an Apple computer.

          Meanwhile, when I get a tablet it will be a cheap Android. Apples cost too much and Windows has too few features compared to kubuntu.

          • Re:Margins (Score:4, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:52PM (#41377617) Homepage Journal

            Folks buy Apple to be kewl and show off how much money they have, you can't say that about MS.

            Do you honestly believe that the majority of people that buy Apple products...do so as a status symbol?? I know that is the often quoted opinion on /. , but do people really believe that deep down?

            I mean, I own a few apple products. I have an old iphone 3gs, and am likely to going to get the new iPhone 5. but I dunno what a status symbol that is. I mean, it spends most of the time in my pocket, and honestly, when you whip one out...well, it is no big deal as that so many other people out there have them...it is kind of a commodity phone. I'd dare say any smart phone these days is pretty much a commodity object, and seems most people out there have one.

            As for a mac computer....well, I do have a macbook pro I bought myself last xmas...but that stays largely at home..I bought it for some stills and video production I wanted to do with my gift I gave myself this year...a Canon 5D3.

            Sure, these are both $$$ things...but, I got them because they were perceived to me as being the best I could get for my money I could afford...for some things I wanted to do. Best tool for the job and all.

            But really...I don't think that many people even notice if you pull out an Apple product....to most people I think...it is just another "phone", or "laptop" or "tablet".....I don't perceive any social stigma related to them by anyone that pulls them out these days. Does anyone else really see it that way?

            I mean, I don't give anyone a sideways glance really if they pull out a computer, smartphone or tablet....today those are all just commodity type gear IMHO....

            • Do you honestly believe that the majority of people that buy Apple products...do so as a status symbol?? I know that is the often quoted opinion on /. , but do people really believe that deep down?

              Yes.

              I'm not knocking the hardware or those that purchase it, but status is absolutely a part of the decision to go with Apple devices. It's much the same as having a nice car versus an old yet reliable Ford Pinto. People want features, reliability, and the "look". Apple offers all 3, and I know it was a factor in *my* purchase. I can be honest with myself, too.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Perhaps Microsoft has decided they need to make money instead of doing loss leaders.

      Have you seen the price of a full retail copy of Windows? It's almost as much an iPad...

    • How can it be a loss leader, though? It's software, and ASUS probably does the actual copying of images onto those machines. The cost to MS is limited to the paltry sum they pay for codec patent licenses and such.
      • You have to recoup R & D, maintenance, sales and marketing, etc.
        • Yes, but whether or not that leads to a per-unit loss is a function of the number of sales times the profit per sale. It can't be a true loss leader because it's not a loss at a high enough volume, and it doesn't really lead to sales of another product that is more profitable for MS.
  • Winning (Score:5, Funny)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:11PM (#41376075)

    I like this plan.

    Bye Bye, Microsoft.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      Don't start bolting your chairs to the floor just yet. It's probably just an early tantalizer that they release while they work out the kinks. I would be surprised if you couldn't get a 7" Windows 8 tablet in Q4 2013. The real question is whether they'll be able to release a tablet that can compete with the iPad in the $500-$600 range.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        I would be surprised if you couldn't get a 7" Windows 8 tablet in Q4 2013.

        By then it will be up against an iPad3 mini. It would have to be seriously cheap to win that battle.

        • by rasmusbr (2186518)

          Yeah, they'll probably have to ship Windows for free on the low-end 7" tablets.

          I wonder if Microsoft has failed to realize that in terms of profit the OS is essentially a front-end for the app store and plans to make money on both the OS and on app sales, analogous to a mall owner charging entrance.

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            I wonder if Microsoft has failed to realize that in terms of profit the OS is essentially a front-end for the app store and plans to make money on both the OS and on app sales, analogous to a mall owner charging entrance.

            Except they're going to have to charge a lot more money then. Even though Apple gets around $1.2B out of iTunes (for all iTunes sales - apps, music, movies, books), a lot of that is plowed back into servers and into credit card transaction payments (developers are paid out before, but expen

    • Re:Winning (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mister Whirly (964219) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:43PM (#41376615) Homepage

      Bye Bye, Microsoft.

      Now there is a prediction never made on Slashdot before. Why don't you go all the way out on the limb and declare next year to be "The Year Of Linux on Desktops"?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by binarylarry (1338699)

        No, you have it all wrong.

        Now it will be annoying Microsoft fanbois talking about how 2013 will be "The Year of The Windows Mobile Device."

        Which we know will never happen, Apple and Android/Linux own that market.

      • by rsborg (111459)

        Bye Bye, Microsoft.

        Now there is a prediction never made on Slashdot before. Why don't you go all the way out on the limb and declare next year to be "The Year Of Linux on Desktops"?

        No, but has been the "decade of unix (now predominantly linux) based mobile devices" so far. Microsoft has been losing on this front, since, well, forever, but the success of the iPhone and Android cemented that fate.

  • by cynop (2023642) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:12PM (#41376079)

    So you get software no one likes in hardware no one would pay for. That sounds like a recipe for success.

    • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:30PM (#41376383)

      So you get software no one likes in hardware no one would pay for. That sounds like a recipe for success.

      The hardware isn't THAT bad. It's just not particularly great. People would probably pay for the hardware if it had a more reasonable price point.. I'm thinking around $300. You can't fix windows RT without replacing it, though.

      I'm not sure how MS expects to compete here. Every competitor in this field charges $0 for the OS. MS is selling ONLY an OS. I guess they expect hardware manufacturers to eat the cost? It would be a little intriguing if RT and Windows 8 were binary level compatible, but they're not - they just look similar.

      • Re:The perfect blend (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:44PM (#41376617) Journal

        Every competitor in this field charges $0 for the OS

        Well, kinda. Most Android manufacturers are already paying MS $15/device for a promise not to sue. Paying $15/device to actually get an OS might be worth it. And, sure, you can get the Android software after release for free, but to have access to the under-development versions you need to pay Google. You also need to pay Google if you want to ship their apps. Plus you need to pay your developers to get Android ported to your device, and to keep drivers up to date as kernel interfaces change if you want to allow users to upgrade. Customisation also costs money if you want to differentiate your product at all.

    • by westlake (615356)

      So you get software no one likes in hardware no one would pay for. That sounds like a recipe for success.

      MS Office outsells any other retail software product you can name.

      It is the tail that wags the dog. Currently holding 11 out of the top 25 slots at Amazon.com alone. Home and Student for the PC will typically rank 1 or 2 anywhere you look.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:12PM (#41376087)

    If you really want to use Windows, you need to pay up for the privilege. I think it's too cheap; they should start these Windows tablets at $2000. I'm sure millions of people will be lining up to buy these things.

    (Hopefully Steve is reading this.)

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      (Mod up...)

    • by Alter_3d (948458) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:27PM (#41376335)

      (Hopefully Steve is reading this.)

      Nope, he is dead.

      Oh, you meant the other Steve.

      Nope, he is a zombie.

    • by Lucky75 (1265142)

      This isn't Apple

    • If you really want to use Windows, you need to pay up for the privilege.

      Even though you meant it in jest, there's actually something to that. There's something that Microsoft brings to the table that no one else can really say. They have an overwhelming majority presence in the business end-user arena. End-user business software runs on Microsoft, period. To be able to seamlessly untether them from the heavier form factors is a value that neither Apple nor Google can offer.

      Right now if I want to deliver mobile solutions to the end-user I have to compromise with HTML5/JavaSc

  • MS vs OEMs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bkaul01 (619795) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:14PM (#41376119)
    Perhaps this approach by OEMs is why Microsoft felt the need to produce its own Surface line. It'll be interesting to see how the pricing compares once they announce it.
  • I think that explains it.
  • Well, hopefully, the premium comes from not having completely locked-down system. Oh wait, it runs Win8, never mind...
  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:17PM (#41376169) Homepage

    The price difference is probably in the MS software license. IIRC, the OEM license cost for Windows CE in the late 90s was $50. I imagine Windows RT is around $100.

    Compare that with Google who pays YOU to run Android.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:21PM (#41376217) Journal

    This all pencils out. Everyone wants Microsoft Windows on a tablet. They're already lining up for it. It's Windows -- the same interface, the same applications, compatibility with all the Microsoft back end processes, and all documents of any type made by Microsoft products will open on it. Regular security releases and bug fixes will keep it in great shape, and Internet Explorer is a joy to use. For all that, of course people will be willing to pay a premium price for the product. This isn't arrogance, it's due recognition of our own excellence. We've owned the desktop for decades; this obviously means we have a superior product.

    Additionally, charging a higher price creates a mindset of a premium product. Charging a price competitive with those made-in-China boxes running not-Windows will make us seem as useless as them. People are willing to pay for excellence.

    (Please mod this funny so I don't lose all faith in humanity...)

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      Sadly, I think you're perfectly right about some of that. Windows 8's UI is built for a tablet, so it can look and function the same everywhere (ideally). There are still sites that only work on IE, and they mostly show up in the corporate world, where IE still reigns supreme. Anything non-Microsoft is a loose cannon, that you can't just expect to connect with all the existing legacy software from the 90s.

      All together, corporate managers will say that the extra cost for the Windows tablets (and Windows desk

  • I'm wondering about the target market. Compared to other tablets, the prices are ridiculous. But if this is being aimed at windows-specialized businesses who want to issue tablets to employees, then they can get away with that price because such targets typically prefer 'reassuringly expensive' devices.
    • Unless they've backed down on Active Directory on Windows RT, Team corporate IT is going to avoid these things like the plague unless specifically forced by user demand...

      • Windows RT doesn't support Active Directory? O_o Why even bother then? The only advantage of using a Windows tablet would be the ability to integrate into Windows infrastructure.
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:25PM (#41376289)
    Some MBA did up a presentation where they could make an absurd profit on each unit and then success will happen at only 10% of iPad sales.

    In order to switch from an iPad to a Windows unit it would have to be so much better, so way much better, way way better. So unless it unfolds into a private jet that then flies me to my private island that comes with it I will predict that they will jig the stats on sales (force people to warehouse them and then prebook the sales) and in the end it will be Zune 2.

    Right now there are two ways to sell a tablet to consumers, sell them an iPad or sell them something that looks exactly like an iPad for way less. The only possible third way would be something way better; thus MS will have had to vastly improve upon technologies that are near the leading edge of what is possible. So better than retina? Better battery life without making it an inch thick? Thinner/lighter electronics? Vastly better GUI? Vastly better Processor? Better Apps?

    If MS were really lucky and had the best engineers on the planet and could get their first effort perfect I could see slight improvements on all of the above but not enough to touch Apple's marketing or enough to justify a monster price.

    My prediction is that MS is going to make this all enterprisey. It will tie into office and other MS crap in a horribly incestuous way. They will provide white papers to the CTO types saying how this can improve data security and fine grain control over the user experience. What they are forgetting here is that one of the reasons for Apple's ability to break into the Enterprise market is that they don't cater to the enterprise market's OCD about ruining the user experience. I am sure that this is what killed the BlackBerry; those phones are actually pretty good. But RIM gave the telcos and sys admins too much say over what could be turned off on the phones. Many a corporate user had a complete dud of a phone after all the good bits were turned off in the name of security and productivity. Apple looks at this and just asks "Why would we allow you to ruin our phones?" Over the last few years the better companies have had a policy of BYOD that is a real winner among the employees who are the reason the company exists and a real pain among old school admins.

    So basically crappy companies are going to buy a handful of these new tablets and their employees are going to put them into the microwave hoping that if they ruin enough of them they will get an iPad; or at least not have to suffer the Metro UI.
    • by swb (14022)

      I figure any company with a concern for managed tablet access to Windows will just buy iPads and leverage their virtualization for VDI.

  • If you can't list the full specs, you can't talk about any prices and compare across devices. iPad *starts* at $500 for 16GB, but it gets as expensive as $830. But this still neglects the facts that many manufacturers will be making Windows 8 tablets. If you don't like the specs or price of one manufacturer's tablets, then there's a market void that *will* be filled by a different manufacturer.
    • Well, here's the thing: Nobody I know buys anything but the cheapest iPad. So for the majority of those customers would compare any tablet against that price and fearure set.

      • It's probably true that the 16 gb sells more than the 32 gb, but the 32 gb still sells, and sells well.

        So let's go out on a limb and say the $600 Asus tablet is 32 gb. So that leaves a void for a $500 tablet that again, *someone* in the market will produce. This is the joy of not relying on a single hardware vendor.
    • Re:Capacity? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:00PM (#41377719)
      So, I found the almost full specs [asus.com].

      Vivo Tab RT | iPad
      Resolution: 1366×768 | 2048 × 1536
      Screen Size: 10.1" | 9.7"
      CPU: 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 | 1.0 GHz dual-core
      GPU: 12-core ULP GeForce | quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4
      RAM: 2 GB | 1 GB
      Rear Camera: 8 MP LED Flash | 5 MP no Flash
      Front Camera: 2 MP | 0.3 MP
      Sensors: Mag, Accel, Gyro, Light | Mag, Accel, Gyro, Light
      Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 | 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
      Expansion: USB port | Apple 30 pin + $30 dongles Office: Office RT (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote) | None Storage: 32GB | 32GB
      Price: $599 | $599

      So the iPad wins on the screen and that's about it. Now, the iPad is about 6 months old, so it's a bit of an unfair comparison, but this is the comparison people will make until the iPad 4 is released. This particular tablet has more horsepower, better cameras, equivalent sensors and storage, included Office, native USB port.... What's left to know is size/weight/battery, but those should be comparable as well. All for the same price as the iPad.
  • by dell623 (2021586) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:47PM (#41376679)

    A 15.6" 1080p 16:9 screen is nice. 14" is pushing it. 13.3 gets annoying. 10.1 is fucking ridiculous, aren't Windows 8 tablets meant to be productivity devices? Why the hell do they all (including the MS surface) have stretched out 16:9 screens that are awful for doing any real work in landscape mode with a keyboard attached?

    Apple are the only ones who understand this, which is why all Apple laptops except the 11.6" Macbook Air (I guess it needed to be wide enough for the keyboard to fit, and even 11.6" 16:9 is nowhere as ridiculous as 10.1" 16:9) come with 16:10 screens, the ONLY manufacturer that I know of who still sell 16:10 laptops.

    Take these prices with a grain of salt though, OEMs have a habit of pricing products rather hopefully before cutting prices to the point where stuff sells. I guess a Windows license costs a bit more than Google apps/Google Play license + Microsoft tax on Android devices (ALL major Android tablet and phone makers except Motorola and Sony pay Microsoft for every Android device they sell). But Android tablets with similar specs from Lenovo etc. are selling for $300 and even less with cash backs etc. A mid range Win RT tablet should be available for $400-450 in the market.

  • I've used Windows 8. It's not that great. Nobody will pay extra for it despite what the consultants told you. Your "surface" will be a loss leader designed to gain market share or it will simply fail. Thank you for your attention.

    Cheers!
    Mr. ColdWaterOfRealityMan

  • Dear Slashdot (Score:5, Informative)

    by brit74 (831798) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:34PM (#41378161)
    This article is horrible. It lists prices for the ASUS tablet and then concludes that Windows RT (the Operating System) is overpriced. The only relevant piece of information in this article is the fact that manufacturers have said that "in June multiple OEMs said that Microsoft was charging between $80 and $95 for a Windows RT license". Using the overall price of the tablet and then concluding that the cost of Windows RT is the reason is horrible, horrible logic. Go to the primary source and figure out how the price of Windows RT ($80-$95) differs from the price of Android.

    Second, you may have noticed that "Sebatian Anthony" is the author of the article (he probably gets paid by ExtremeTech according to the number of pageviews he gets). You may have also noticed that the submitter for this article is "MrSeb" and if you follow the link it leads back to Sebastian Anthony. Yup, the article's author is the same person who submitted it to Slashdot so that he could make money. This wouldn't be so bad if the article wasn't so horribly written. Just take a look at the comments in the article (mostly negative about Sebastian's leaps of logic) and compare them to the comments on Slashdot (mostly positive, probably because Slashdot loves bad press about Microsoft). Stop getting this shitty article-writer paid.

    On a side note, I happen to remember seeing Sebastian Anthony on the old (now gone) "Download Squad". He was a huge advocate of piracy and used all kinds of crappy logic to justify piracy. I'm glad to see his lack of intelligent reasoning extends to his other articles as well.

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