If a new report from Vr-zone.com is accurate, Microsoft could very well be shooting itself in the foot when it comes to marketing their Windows RT (formerly 'Windows on ARM' or 'WOA') tablets. The report states that Microsoft is charging $85-90 per license with $85 being the most common price quoted.
The damning part of this is that iOS devices pay no licensing fee as they are entirely proprietary products from Apple and Google's Android OS which is free (well, almost), and we have seen how high Android tablets have been aggressively priced. For Microsoft to demand an $85 fee per device puts a major damper on the ability for vendors to achieve low price points that will make the devices attractive alternatives to other tablets, notebooks and convertibles on the market. The source claims that they obtained their information by speaking with vendors at Computex in Taipei; Microsoft typically remains quiet on its pricing for OEMs.
The other advantage that Apple has is economies of scale that help drive down the price of the iPad even when it introduces a new screen, as it did on the third generation iPad. Vendors using Windows RT will not be able to benefit from this efficiency as these products will be a gamble which means that they will likely not order millions upfront like Apple currently can do as it knows it will sell through its inventory.
The number does - on the face of it - seem a bit high; one channel that Microsoft will be able to leverage as a revenue stream for these products is the Microsoft Store. Any application purchased from this store will benefit Microsoft, why not discount your license to move more units and earn your greenbacks post-sale through the Store?
If Microsoft does stick to its guns and this information holds true, $85 will be a tough pill to swallow - not for the OEM, but for the consumer as the price will surely be passed along to us.