Microsoft offering Surface RT to students for $199 [Update]

Microsoft evidently sees its Surface tablets as a good fit for those in education, and with Office 2013 included with the Surface RT, along with the popular OneNote note-taking app, it certainly makes some sense. Earlier this week, the company revealed that it would be giving away 10,000 Surface RTs to educators across the US. 

Today, Microsoft developer evangelist Ryan Lowdermilk revealed the company's Surface for Education program, a limited-time offer that will see the Surface RT 32GB made available to students for just $199 through their schools and universities. The price represents a sizeable 60% discount over the tablet's recommended retail price of $499 (although some retailers, such as Staples, have recently dropped their prices to $399).

The discounts extend to accessories too, with the Touch Cover being sold for $50, and the Type Cover on offer for $90, when purchased with the tablet. The promotion starts today and runs until August 31 2013, and there's no minimum order requirement for schools or unis that intend to place an order for their students. 

The offer isn't just limited to the US either. A further 24 countries are also included in the promotion: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

A brochure and order form is available to download here.

Source: Ryan Lowdermilk

Update: Since this article was published, the post detailing the offer has disappeared from Ryan Lowdermilk's website, as has the corresponding order form on SkyDrive. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley speculates that this might be because the details were released prematurely, although given that the promotion was apparently due to launch on June 17, Microsoft should probably get a move on with making that announcement. 

Update 2: Mary Jo Foley managed to get confirmation from Microsoft of the promotion, although it's not due to launch until June 24, despite the June 17 date originally stated on the brochure, which was later pulled. A Microsoft spokesperson sent this statement to Mary Jo: 

Yes, it’s true. It’s important Microsoft does its part to help get devices into the hands of educators that help prepare today’s students with skills modern businesses demand. We will be discussing this more in greater detail on June 24, both from the ISTE showroom floor and on our Education Newsroom. Please join us then!"

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45 Comments

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MS must have so much unsold RT stock laying around, this is great way to have a fire-sale while making it look like they are doing something good.

Just following what Apple has done for years. The difference is that Apple had a decent product. Microsoft's is just plain weak.

lol with the Fire Sale. ;-)

Good for the people that wished to buy it for a cheap and bad for the early adopters (aka losers).

Not sure if I've understood the deal. Italy here, I'm a university student, so no discounted Surface RT for me?
I have relatives ​​who attend middle/high schools. Can I get one through them?

Looks like a good deal if it's possible to get it.

The Dell XPS 10 which is very similar to the Surface RT is already that price to begin with in the UK so might be an easier way to go.

Really I want a Haswell tablet though. (for more money )

Surface RT (32GB) - £133 +VAT (Estimated Retail Price is £399)
Surface RT (32GB) with Touch Keyboard Cover - £168 +VAT (Estimated Retail Price is £479)
Surface RT (32GB) with Type Keyboard Cover - £196 +VAT (Estimated Retail Price is £509)

john.smith_2084 said,
Tegra 3? no thank you, there are already many slow machines around

The performance issues have less to do with raw power and more to do with a lack of optimisation - the fact is that Microsoft not only need to improve their compilers but clean up what appears to be 20 years of crappy code that really shows how horrible it is when running on a non-x86 platform.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

The performance issues have less to do with raw power and more to do with a lack of optimisation - the fact is that Microsoft not only need to improve their compilers but clean up what appears to be 20 years of crappy code that really shows how horrible it is when running on a non-x86 platform.

No matter what you do, you still won't be able to power a truck with a mini car engine

Auditor said,
Ha..Ha.. Ha.. getting there. soon they will be doing fire sale as HP did with Palm OS. Flop product.

You really don't know how things work overall right? You think schools pay retail prices for the hardware they buy? Where have you been all this time? OEMs have been selling to schools at low prices for years, it's where Gateway had most of it's success back in the 90s. Hell even Apple is in on the education game and offers it's iPads to schools for lower prices. I guess those are flops to?

But what am I saying, you don't really care about the facts either way.

Auditor said,
Ha..Ha.. Ha.. getting there. soon they will be doing fire sale as HP did with Palm OS. Flop product.

Yeah, because WebOS (not PalmOS - if you're going to mock how about using the correct terms) has so much in common with a feature complete operating system that comes bundled with Microsoft Office 2013 and soon to receive Outlook within the next 3-6 months with the 8.1 update.

Not really, Microsoft has always offered very cheap offerings for student and education departments,

Just like their Software is massively reduced for EDU sectors

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Yeah, because WebOS (not PalmOS - if you're going to mock how about using the correct terms) has so much in common with a feature complete operating system that comes bundled with Microsoft Office 2013 and soon to receive Outlook within the next 3-6 months with the 8.1 update.

Surface RT and Windows RT *ought* to be more successful than WebOS/PalmOS since as you say they are much better products. That doesn't guarantee that they will be by any means though.

singularity87 said,

Surface RT and Windows RT *ought* to be more successful than WebOS/PalmOS since as you say they are much better products. That doesn't guarantee that they will be by any means though.

If you wan to compare the Surface RT to the HP touchpad then it's no contest, so far we know MS has sold over a million of them, probably a million or so Pros to so far. Compare that to what HP did, how many did they manage to actually sell before the fire sale started? 200k? And it was because retailers started demanding HP take the stock off their hands. They're not even close when you actually look at it.

singularity87 said,
Surface RT and Windows RT *ought* to be more successful than WebOS/PalmOS since as you say they are much better products. That doesn't guarantee that they will be by any means though.

The slow roll out of it around the world and lack of advertisement doesn't help the situation nor does the lack of 3G built in makes it difficult for mobile phone operators to start offering it as a tablet along side the Samsung Galaxy Tab on contract.

June 26th can't come soon enough. Here's hoping to a Surface Pro 2 and Surface Mini...Hopefully they release Intel versions of both. RT doesn't interest me in the slightest.

It seems like they're trying to clear out inventory, plus establish the Surface as something educators would want, thus getting regular large-quantity orders from schools and more educational apps developed.

Is there a reason why the headline couldn't just state that Microsoft's offer is for schools, rather than students?

Manish said,
Is there a reason why the headline couldn't just state that Microsoft's offer is for schools, rather than students?

If teh school supports it, that means more programs will be made for WinRT (ie metro) to meet the needs of the educational market, and they can probably sell software and services to the schools for the backend (say, locking the tablets down, blocking websites inappropriate for minors, etc).

Manish said,
Cool story, but that doesn't answer my question now does it?

Sorry, misread while I was stuffing my face during lunch

hjssusahdih said,
so thats how they are selling these devices?
fire sale for education.
give away for $99 at conference
give away for free

Just RT. If RT goes belly up then so be it. Windows 8 isn't going anywhere.

Well said. The (business) marketplace is making that clear, even more so the longer Microsoft wastes valuable before fixing Windows-8 UI mess.

hjssusahdih said,
so thats how they are selling these devices?
fire sale for education.
give away for $99 at conference
give away for free

Education always gets lower prices, this is nothing new. Apple sells it's own products to schools at discounted prices as well.

The "give away" at teched for $99 also came with a $1,500 fee to just get in to the show, so yeah, they're totally selling the RT at a loss after charging you so much just to be able to get another $99 from you on top.

TsarNikky said,
Well said. The (business) marketplace is making that clear, even more so the longer Microsoft wastes valuable before fixing Windows-8 UI mess.

Windows 8 UI isn't a mess but rather Microsoft not working it's head around to the fact that 'touch' is required on every single damn device; it is pathetic that we're sitting in 2013 and the touch pads on laptops still suck and the behaviour when it comes to gestures are still inconsistent. Quite frankly Microsoft should just own up to the mess, put Windows 7 on life support by back porting Windows 8 enhancements along with improving hardware support then concentrate on Windows 9 which should be a complete break from the past with backwards compatibility virtualised in a virtual machine.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Windows 8 UI isn't a mess but rather Microsoft not working it's head around to the fact that 'touch' is required on every single damn device; it is pathetic that we're sitting in 2013 and the touch pads on laptops still suck and the behaviour when it comes to gestures are still inconsistent. Quite frankly Microsoft should just own up to the mess, put Windows 7 on life support by back porting Windows 8 enhancements along with improving hardware support then concentrate on Windows 9 which should be a complete break from the past with backwards compatibility virtualised in a virtual machine.

Touch pads on laptops not being great is out of MS's hands for the most part. Some laptops have great touch pad support and others don't, the OEMs should be the ones held up to that. As far as MS goes, they've add in all the device support and software support needed. It's time the hardware makers step up their game and make good hardware that works like it should.

GP007 said,
Touch pads on laptops not being great is out of MS's hands for the most part. Some laptops have great touch pad support and others don't, the OEMs should be the ones held up to that. As far as MS goes, they've add in all the device support and software support needed. It's time the hardware makers step up their game and make good hardware that works like it should.

The inconsistent behaviour of gestures when using a touchpad is very much within Microsoft's control but it's solution would require Microsoft actually having to bite the bullet and clean up the mess that is Win32.

To be fair though even the touchpad on the Surface isn't that great... why can't Microsoft release a desktop touchpad!? The Apple one is just amazing.

Microsoft is doing it's best to increase the success of surface RT. If the surface RT still fail at being popular, then you'd probably see later, less restricted offers.

This isn't really to students.. it's more for actual universities and colleges. The order form asks for a mess of stuff the average student has no information for :\ I got excited for a second...

Really interested in this as studying Computing at a Further Education college in Cornwall, what price would this be in the UK?

Surface RT (32GB) - £133 +VAT (Estimated Retail Price is £399)
Surface RT (32GB) with Touch Keyboard Cover - £168 +VAT (Estimated Retail Price is £479)
Surface RT (32GB) with Type Keyboard Cover - £196 +VAT (Estimated Retail Price is £509)