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Businesses Microsoft Handhelds Windows Hardware

A Radical Plan For Saving Microsoft's Surface RT 391

Nerval's Lobster writes "Last week, Microsoft announced that it would take a $900 million write-off on its Surface RT tablets. Although launched with high hopes in the fall of 2012, the sleek devices—which run Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 designed for hardware powered by the mobile-friendly ARM architecture—have suffered from middling sales and fading buzz. But if Microsoft decides to continue with Surface, there's one surefire way to restart its (metaphorical) heart: make it the ultimate bargain. The company's already halfway there, having knocked $150 off the sticker price, but that's not enough. Imagine Microsoft pricing the Surface at a mere pittance, say $50 or $75 — even in this era of cheaper tablets, the devices would fly off the shelves so fast, the sales rate would make the iPad look like the Zune. There's a historical precedent for such a maneuver. In 2011, Hewlett-Packard decided to terminate its TouchPad tablet after a few weeks of poor sales. In a bid to clear its inventory, the company dropped the TouchPad's starting price to $99, which sent people rushing into stores in a way they hadn't when the device was priced at $499. Demand for the suddenly ultra-cheap tablet reached the point that HP needed weeks to fulfill backorders. (Despite that sales spike, HP decided to kill the TouchPad; the margins on $99 obviously didn't work out to everyone's satisfaction.) In the wake of Microsoft announcing that it would take that $900 million write-down on Surface RT, reports surfaced that the company could have as many as six million units sitting around, gathering dust. Whether that figure is accurate—it seems more based on back-of-napkin calculations than anything else—it's almost certainly the case that Microsoft has a lot of unsold Surface RTs in a bunch of warehouses all around the world. Why not clear them out by knocking a couple hundred dollars off the price? It's not as if they're going anywhere, anyway."
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A Radical Plan For Saving Microsoft's Surface RT

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  • Dumping? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

    Illegal, no?

    • Re:Dumping? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:51PM (#44363053) Homepage Journal

      Illegal, no?

      well, dumping what you have is not illegal.

      the 900 mil writeoff may well be taking it into account that they would get rid of the stock at price of 150... or whatever.

      however here is the point..
      "(Despite that sales spike, HP decided to kill the TouchPad; the margins on $99 obviously didn't work out to everyone's satisfaction.)" who the fuck cares if it flies off the shelf for a very limited amount of time? stupid article is stupid and even knows it. make a buttload of loss on every device and make up for it in scale of your inventory..

      • Re:Dumping? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:03PM (#44363247) Journal
        HP's approach was monumentally stupid. WebOS was a really nice system (I still prefer the UI on my TouchPad to my TransformerPad Infinity StupidName), but it lacked developers. They were giving them away to developers at the end (which is how I got mine), but then they killed the platform so there was no incentive to write a single line of code for it. I ported Objective-C to work on it, but then gave up on the platform when it became clear that the TouchPad was the last device ever to use it.
      • Re:Dumping? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish DOT info AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:08PM (#44363297) Homepage

        Nerval's submissions have really gotten silly lately.

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
        Yeah, it's a bit weird to take HP as an example considering they've been a monumental failure in the mobile space. If anything, it shows that fire sales can recoup some loss on the short term but do not help at all in the long term.
      • Re:Dumping? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:16PM (#44363447)
        Agreed, stupid article is extremely stupid. MS can afford to take a writedown on the 360 say, because they know full well they'll make the money back on game sales later on. Selling a tablet at a loss however, doesn't make any sense to anybody. How are they going to make their money back in this scenario? It's not like they can make the OS free-to-play, and then allow 'one run command per 15minutes of grind, or buy this barrel of gems for 20 run commands'.
        If you want to make a product that sells in high volume, then you need to make sure that the product is something that the market wants. This is the thing I can't really get my head around with MS at the moment. It's almost like they've replaced market-research with pure-fantasy. Did they not show anyone the metro interface? Didn't anyone mention that it looks like it was designed by a colour blind child with no drawing ability or understanding of aesthetics? Or did they just assume that they could steam roller the world into liking a product that no one wants?
        • Re:Dumping? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by just_a_monkey ( 1004343 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:47PM (#44363769)

          It's almost like they've replaced market-research with pure-fantasy.

          Asked and answered: the new paradigm at MS is design-by-focusgroup and design-by-the-windows-feedback-program. Both activities that only people who are semi-retarded visavi computers participate in. Ergo, everything is now shiny, clumsy, basic, in-your-face and nagging you.

        • by zlogic ( 892404 )

          Dumping Surface RT could attract enough users that developers would start to take the Windows platform seriously. Then, since MS makes a $50/year per developer account, and 30% from every app sale, they may use the discounted RTs to jumpstart the Windows Store and recover at least some money (maybe unbundle Office and sell it as an addon?).
          And hardware cannot sit on shelves forever. Storage space costs money, components get obsolete over time and in 2 years 50 bucks would be the right price. However this ma

        • Re:Dumping? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thunderclap ( 972782 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @03:40PM (#44364339)

          They just assume that they could steam roller the world into liking a product that no one wants. They were told repeatedly during the beta cycle that metro was problematic at best. MS refused to listen because they to have the damn tiles. MS forget that they are no longer in the same space as apple and Google. Not only was it totally unacceptable to Businesses who are their primary clients and purchasers but to the general public. the people who like it are those who would have liked it regardless and are so small in number that its not economically feasable to do so as we all saw.
          As for dumping a built unsold product that they have already taken a write off for, any more is better than no money. Sell for $99 would hurt but people would buy them. Unfortunate RTs are a locked ecosystem so they would be still half useless.
          Microsoft needs to accept the fact that their code is way to large now but they can't change it either. The windows 7 style is the only way it will sell. (actually had they flips it. Had default to the desktop, turned Metro into a new start bar and allowed the live tiles to be a choice, it would have flown off the shelf. IT is very stavble and has a host of good updates. Its just Metro is in the way. Since surface RT is all metro, that is the cheif problem.

        • by rssrss ( 686344 )

          The ancient Greeks knew that men often find that their greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness. A man who has arete ("excellence") such as great power, great beauty or great prowess may develop hubris ("arrogant pride"), which in turn leads to ate ("blind recklessness" the final letter is pronounced), when he loses his sense of humility and becomes rash or imprudent. Ate, in turn, leads to nemesis ("retributive justice").

          Metro? Vista? .docx? What else could have lead to these products, other than

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            I don't know that I'd lump Vista in there. Yes it was a disaster at release but it was also a good faith (or as close to it as a company like Microsoft gets) attempt at solving many of the problems that people had been bitching about for years -- primarily security concerns. Most of the biggest complaints relating to Vista stemmed in some way or another from a program/driver/etc that worked under XP but blew up under Vista (often silently) due to UAC. Could they have done something better and more backwa

    • Depends, probably, I mean, given enough time and the full warehouses of unsold product they can show the Fed, they can probably sell them for whatever they want, eventually. If I could get an RT for a song I'd certainly grab one. See if I could install Linux on it.
    • Microsoft is a software company targetting hardware here. Android vendors are hardware companies targetting software here. It's bad for the former to bring the cost of software down to $0. Likewise, it's bad for the latter for Microsoft to practically give the hardware away. Since Android's marketshare is now so much higher than that of Windows 8, and iOS would barely even notice the loss, the only companies that might have a real claim of injury would be Blackberry and those behind things like FirefoxOS.

    • Re:Dumping? (Score:5, Informative)

      by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:57PM (#44363167) Journal
      Dumping generally refers to a foreign company

      'In economics, "dumping" is a kind of predatory pricing, especially in the context of international trade.'

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumping_(pricing_policy) [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:Dumping? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:57PM (#44363169)
      No, it is not illegal to give stuff away. It is only illegal when paired with a monopolist strategy. Example dump cheap tablets until Apple goes out of business. Then raise prices. It is a strategy that only works with competitors with cashflow problems.
    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      Illegal, no?

      Not if it's in a proper landfill capped with concrete.

      Surface RT: Apple /// Electric Boogaloo.


    • They already took the loss.

      So? This wouldn't be to fix an inventory accounting problem. It wouldn't be to "stuff" a channel. It wouldn't be to sell below cost for illegal competitive advantage - or barely.

      These tablets are now fiscal landfill. Selling at a price to recover distribution and delivery costs (so they don't bleed more) is a better plan than many.

      And give us opportunity to HACK THE LOADER!

      I wouldn't try cracking firmware on a device of questionable value, that cost me several hundred. But a

    • Come on down to Crazy Stevie's Tablets where Everything is ON SALE!!!! Prices so low we loose money on each sale but we make up for it in volume!
  • Seriously, no matter how you beat it, it won't gallop anymore.

  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:50PM (#44363029)
    I believe E.T.: The Video Game provides a better example for what Microsoft should do with its surplus Surfaces.
  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:50PM (#44363035) Homepage Journal

    They already have some sort of plan like that, involving dumping them on the educational market. Someone in this country still believes the children are our (/their) future, I suppose.

    So no cheap tablet for you!

  • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:50PM (#44363037) Journal

    Part of the thing that made the TouchPad fire sale successful is the idea that you could do something with it, and that something had nothing to do with the software that HP shipped on it.

    The only way they get excitement for the Surface RT tablets is to do away with that SecureBoot horseshit. Then a fire sale might move the hardware.

  • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:50PM (#44363039)

    Because fuck the shareholders, that's why!

    Chairs to their faces all of em!

    • And keeping them in a warehouse does what good for shareholders, exactly?

      • And keeping them in a warehouse does what good for shareholders, exactly?

        It gives Microsoft a chance to come back with a better product and crack a market where they could make billions over billions if successful. A firesale destroys that chance forever.

        • I don't see how a firesale would harm their chances of that. If anything, it would get products with their brand into people's hands, so that (unless it sucks) they might become known as a brand whose products in that space are worth consideration.

          I mean, right now they just look like their standing there with their dicks hanging out. They don't have much to lose here.

  • From the very start price was the biggest failing point for the Surface. They were crazy to price it at $499 WITHOUT their key marketing point...the keyboard case.
    • Yeah, they wanted it to sell so they kept the price low, but they didn't want to tick off their OEM's anymore than they already did so they didn't want to sell it any cheaper. In the end, they just screwed themselves.

  • by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:52PM (#44363075)

    If getting these things into people's laps gets them to buy a buttload of MS software or makes them so attractive to developers that everybody shifts over to RT, it could work. But I would call that highly unlikely. Otherwise, they're just taking an even bigger loss than before. It certainly didn't work for HP.

  • Can you stomach it?

  • by microcars ( 708223 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:55PM (#44363107) Homepage
    in the hands of resellers who will promptly put them on eBay and Craigslist for $199-$250
    isn't that what happened with the majority of the TouchPads that went for $99?
    • by bored ( 40072 )

      Which is why you don't do what HP did (just more incompetence, what did you expect?).

      Instead lowering the price gradually until the devices start to move at a target pace. That way MS both makes the maximum from each one as well as moves them at the rate they wish. This isn't even that hard when compared with something like concert/airline tickets because the people coming into the pool late aren't the ones willing to pay more than the average.

      But, it seems some manager somewhere got a bonus by claiming the

    • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

      yes although I don't think they sold so easily for that price

  • Still a lot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HoldmyCauls ( 239328 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:56PM (#44363127) Journal

    No matter what the materials and other costs per unit, $900M still means a large number of units. There's ways they could use that stock to help keep up their fight for real estate in minds and hearts of users who still consider Microsoft and Windows and Office to be relevant, many of whom probably think the iPad was made by the "Windows people" since they've never seen anything by anyone else. Just imagine if they made a deal to start giving these away with Time-warner or Verizon service. As many home users consider the device and the network to be one thing anyway, they could gain a lot of mindshare that would be lost simply by doing so. Even $200 or more in rental fees from users adding a $10 line item to their bill for it would drop that $900M almost by an order of magnitude. App store purchases would increase overnight, and the remainder of the loss would disappear within a year. There's a lot of creative ways Microsoft could come out of this smelling roses, without "dumping" the stock, and end up better off. Just looking at the numbers you can tell they might be down, but they're not out.

  • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:57PM (#44363147)

    "Imagine Microsoft pricing the Surface at a mere pittance, say $50 or $75 — even in this era of cheaper tablets, the devices would fly off the shelves so fast, the sales rate would make the iPad look like the Zune."


    Microsoft would be put in a very strange position of NOT wanting to sell Surfaces. The more they sell, the more money they lose.

    Maybe the OP thinks that this will help them build up market share. I think that by the time Microsoft built up enough marketshare they'd be bankrupt, but on top of that, are consumers going to stick around when the prices are raised again? They're not stupid. Once the prices reset to something more realistic they'll go look at other platforms again.

    Is this a joke?

    • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:18PM (#44363469)

      The more they sell, the more money they lose.

      When you (i.e. Microsoft) have already bought large quantities of a product that are sitting in your warehouse, that's called a "sunk cost". There is no way to "save" that money you've already spent; the only question is how best to use the warehoused inventory to make new income. In terms of business strategy, you actually pretty much ignore sunk costs when deciding what to do next.

    • Microsoft would be put in a very strange position of NOT wanting to sell Surfaces. The more they sell, the more money they lose.

      I think this happened with the Nokia N8x0 series. I tried buying one, and the guy tried so hard not to sell it to me that I literally had to tell him to shut up and take my money.

  • A better way: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why not just unlock (via patch or something) the boot loader, so that you can load Android/Linux or GNU/Linux?

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:58PM (#44363185)

    In the 90s, Windows and MS Office adoption was driven by de-facto discount/piracy (You could buy a cheap upgrade version to legalize your pirated version). It worked. Office and Windows became the standard.

    It's probably the only way a technically inferior product can ever get traction.

  • Support costs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:00PM (#44363211)

    So not only would they take a loss on selling the devices at well below cost, but they have ongoing support/warranty costs. Fulfilling an order has some non-zero cost, so that also has to be deducted from the price of the device as well. They could try selling them without warranty or with a very simple 30 day exchange warranty for defective products, but that could leave them with a PR problem when people run into problems with no way to resolve them and the blogs start filling up with complaints about how Microsoft sucks because they won't stand behind their products.

    I really wouldn't be surprised if selling the device for $50 costs MS more than destroying the devices.

    • They could try selling them without warranty or with a very simple 30 day exchange warranty for defective products, but that could leave them with a PR problem when people run into problems with no way to resolve them and the blogs start filling up with complaints about how Microsoft sucks because they won't stand behind their products.

      Then why do you see all this happening on eBay and the like all the time. Hell even Apple was doing it at one point [1]. No one cares about warranty at that price, which is a significant discount. If they do, they get "corrected" and there's fuck all they can say about it (see what happens with other gray-market sales).

      The only thing standing between Microsoft and an eBay store auctioning or selling off the remaining stock is their pride and image. And that's a mighty hefty price even for Microsoft to pa

  • Locked Bootloader (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNinjaroach ( 878876 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:02PM (#44363231)
    That bootloader is locked and won't allow you to disable UEFI Secure Boot or change the keys on it, so Surface RT (the hardware) is still dead to me.
  • The product will not receive security updates so all it's flaws will quickly have it compromised and render it unusable on the internet.
  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:11PM (#44363353)
    What an article, with no common sense forever. Of course Microsoft would sell lots of these tablets for $50-$75, or for $99. I would buy one immediately and use it to replace a picture frame or an alarm clock at that price. But it should be obvious to anyone that at this price, Microsoft will lose hundreds of dollars on each device, and they will forever destroy any chance of ever coming back.

    The submitter went on about HP, and how they couldn't even deliver fast enough. Of course not. But they had contracts in place that forced them to pay for the parts, and to pay for the tablets being built and shipped, so they delivered the last tablets from the assembly line as the arrived, even though they were losing lots of money on each of those. But then the product was dead, with no chance of HP ever getting back into the market. If Microsoft went that way, then for a few hundred million dollars they would forever destroy their chance to ever crack the tablet market.
  • They could still severely lock down the platform to improve battery life for example by freezing all threads of such apps when the user wasn't in desktop mode, and it's assumed that not all APIs would be available. Of course, being able to run a lot of Windows apps "in theory" does you no good as long as developers haven't yet recompiled their apps for ARM. But perception is important.

    Maybe they're worried that (a) it would be too much work to expose and support the legacy desktop APIs for ARM, or perhaps even more likely, (b) it would cut into their Surface Pro x86 sales. In my opinion, they should frantically be trying to make Windows tablets get every little edge they can over the opposition.

    But what do I know? I am not Steve Ballmer, and spend a lot more time sitting on a chair than hurling it.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:15PM (#44363421) Homepage Journal

    Imagine Microsoft pricing the Surface at a mere pittance, say $50 or $75 â" even in this era of cheaper tablets, the devices would fly off the shelves so fast, the sales rate would make the iPad look like the Zune.

    1) And then Apple could sell theirs for $1! :-|
    2) MS would be taking a HUGE loss on them. They make OK money at $500. $400 might be break even. I'm pretty sure they don't want to lose $300 or more on each sale. That would lead to...
    - raising the price 5-10x on the next release to return to profitability -- which no one would like if they were used to them being so cheap.
    - leave them cheap forever, lose money forever.

    There's a historical precedent for such a maneuver.

    Yeah, it's called a "fire sale", and it's a final grasp at a few bucks, not part of a long-term strategy.

    In 2011, Hewlett-Packard decided to terminate its TouchPad tablet after a few weeks of poor sales. In a bid to clear its inventory, the company dropped the TouchPad's starting price to $99, which sent people rushing into stores in a way they hadn't when the device was priced at $499.

    Because they were retarded. They could have dropped to $349 and made a LOT more money and still sold every one, but in a much calmer fashion. Believe it or not, there is a sweet spot between "Sell none at $499" and "Sell thousands in hours at $99." It's called "supply and demand" and it's covered in the first 5 minutes of your first economics class.

    Despite that sales spike, HP decided to kill the TouchPad...

    No, the decision was already made. They decided to leave it dead because a) the CEO that day wanted out of that business and b) there was at least ONE person in the company who realized the million-percent spike in demand was due to the crazy price.

    ... the margins on $99 obviously didn't work out to everyone's satisfaction.

    NO FUCKING SHIT. But that would be totally different with the Surface because... um...

    Why not clear them out by knocking a couple hundred dollars off the price? It's not as if they're going anywhere, anyway.

    Sure. We might see that. Though MS would want to save more face than HP would -- HP was leaving the business, period, whereas MS still a) sells the OS and b) needs for their to be hardware for that OS to run it on. Whether that hardware is made my MS or someone else, Windows can't be seen as a daed-end brand, like WebOS.

    I'm guessing they'll either do incremental lowerings to clear out stock, or one good (but not ridiculous) price drop, like maybe $349. Possible $329 to directly compete on price with the smaller iPad mini. A lot depends on if MS is going to release another Surface RT. If so, it will be a small lowering, a typical "hey, last year's model is cheaper now." If not, it'll drop a bit more to clear them out in a reasonable time, but don't expect HP-like prices.

  • surface RT (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beefoot ( 2250164 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:16PM (#44363437)
    Has anyone really sat down spending a few minutes playing with surface rt (or whatever it is called?)? It is actually a really nice device. I could see myself buying one if the price is right. The right price to pay is likely $150 with the keyboard.
  • This is the 3 or 4th /. post worried about the fate of microsoft surface ...as if one should care! Just let it die! It is a bad product, with a bad startegy and bad timing! Why care at all? With either Surface RT or not, or Microsoft itself. Pointing to desparate Microsoft-fans blog posts trying to save it is as little "news for nerds' as I can imagine.

  • For $399, Surface RT + keyboard cover. That's all it takes for me to get a Surface RT. The keyboard is shown in the ads but not included in the package. I think iSuppli estimate the keyboard cover cost $20 to produce. I don't need a million apps, but I do need a keyboard a lot of the times.

  • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <[voyager529] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:22PM (#44363519)

    Steve and company are looking to get the "iPad halo". They priced at $499 for that very reason: pricing themselves above the iPad would lead everyone to say "why not just get an iPad?". Pricing below the iPad would be a de facto admission that the iPad is "worth more". Microsoft is trying to establish themselves as having a premium product.

    This is why you will never see a Surface fire sale: It is an admission that the only reason to buy a Surface in the first place is because it's significantly cheaper than any other first party tablet (and most third party tablets that don't come in boxes with Chinese bullet points).

    HP did the fire sale because they were looking to shuffle their inventory, and it was cheaper for them to sell them at a price well below manufacturing cost than it was to landfill them, and they did so because they were looking to get out of the tablet market anyway - they didn't care what it did to the Touchpad brand because the brand itself was headed for the dumpster out back.

    Microsoft still wants to sell tablets. Microsoft wants to sell tablets to people who have $500 saved up for an iPad. The logic goes that if they have $500 for an iPad, they have $500 for a Surface. If they sell at $300, well then it's easier to upsell them the keyboard case and still get close to the $500. At $99, even with a keyboard, a copy of Office RT, and a service plan, they're still leaving about half the money on the table, and in doing so, reinforcing the mindset that "A Surface is only worth 1/5 of what an iPad is worth". Sure, it will get Surface units in the home, that will be used for Internet Explorer and Netflix and...basically nothing else. This is great for the customer because it doesn't tap too much into the money they had saved up for the iPad...but they'll never get a Surface2 at $499, "because Surface tablets just aren't worth that much money, otherwise Microsoft wouldn't have sold first gen units for $99", the logic goes.

    Microsoft could probably make $901 million by selling those tablets for ($901 million / quantity in inventory) and do better fiscally with the first gen units than by just taking the writeoff. The problem is that the marketing division knows that premium brands never dilute their influence by committing acts of desperation. Microsoft doesn't want to simply gets units in hands, they want units in hands that have already parted with enough money to mirror the margins that Apple makes on their hardware. So long as this is the case, you'll never see a fire sale.

  • by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:24PM (#44363551) Homepage


    Why do people keep pushing this bullshit?

  • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:25PM (#44363555)
    can't recommend it. I have a friend who's looking for a tablet, I can pick up an RT for him for $199. Won't do it, because at some point he's going to want to install some Windows app on it and he'll be pissed at me when he can't. Apple did a good job of marketing the iPad as a fat phone rather than a thin laptop, people get it. MS can't pull that off because nobody has or wants Windows phones, so they don't "get" what the RT is supposed to be. And making two devices called "Surface" that run different OS's isn't helping, nice going geniuses.
  • by Tom ( 822 )

    there's one surefire way to

    Right, because no one else but you has ever thought about it, done some calculations, asked a few experts or (gasp!) customers, and ran the scenario. Least of all the people who just took one of the largest stock dives in their history and wrote off more money than you will ever see in your entire life.

    Why was this piece of crap posted to the frontpage, instead of some unknown blog with 5 readers, where it belongs?

  • by emilandresen ( 2994207 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @03:14PM (#44364067)
    Just lowering the price of SurfaceRT seems uncreative. A better plan would be to give it away for free with a two year subscription to something like a "Microsoft Premium Services Plan" with a monthly fee of say $29 that would include a stuff like: extra SkyDrive storage, a Skype local calling plan, an upgraded subscription to Office 365, and whatever else they can think of. Microsoft could turn a profit over time the way cell phone carriers do when they essentially give away smart phones, and the subscription would drive users to their online properties. All consumer hardware margins approach zero over time anyway so just skip to the end game and focus on selling services.

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