Report: Microsoft cutting price of Surface RT models by $150 [Update]

When it comes to its Surface tablets, Microsoft has been on something of a discounting spree of late. At its TechEd North America conference in early June, the company offered the tablets to attendees with discounts of up to 80% off the full retail prices; as our correspondent Christopher White reported from the event, that deal was hugely popular. The same reductions were offered at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), and the company also announced earlier this month that it would be selling heavily discounted tablets to students through schools and universities.

But while these promotions have so far been relatively limited in their scope, The Verge reports that Microsoft is preparing to implement deep reductions on its Surface RT range, with the entry-level model seeing its price slashed by 30%.

All Surface RTs will see their prices cut by $150, with the cheapest model - the 32GB version - to be priced from $349.99. Further up the range, the Surface RT 64GB with Touch Cover will see its price reduced to $549.99, down from $699.99. 

The news comes after Microsoft hinted at new Surface tablets on the way during the course of the next twelve months, in a slide shown by chief operating officer Kevin Turner, offering a broad overview of some of what the company has in store for its next fiscal year. 

It's not yet clear whether the company plans to offer similar price reductions on its more fully-featured Surface Pro line, but the drop in Surface RT prices could be introduced as early as next week. There's also no information yet on whether these price cuts will be introduced in other markets. 

Source: The Verge


Update: Well, it looks like that price cut could be coming sooner than expected. A reader over at Engadget alerted them to a page on the Staples website, indicating a reduction of $150 off the usual asking price from 14 July. Curiously, though, it indicates that it will be a limited-time promotion, running only until 20 July. 

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What can't the RT do that the Pro can? I love my iPad, but seeing all these Windows commercials makes me really want to try one out. If I can plug in my portable HDD, or watch a movie/TV show and browse the internet/type a document, then I'm differently interested.

"All Surface RTs will see their prices cut by $150, with the cheapest model - the 32GB version - to be priced from $349.99. Further up the range, the Surface RT 64GB with Touch Cover will see its price reduced to $549.99, down from $699.99."

Even the $349 is more than I care to spend. Doesn't help I have no use for one. These things don't blow my hair back in the least! Might as well just get a regular laptop.

Theres no reason for Microsoft to drop Surface RT because everything (Just about) made for the Windows 8 x86/x64 app store is pretty much compatible with surface RT. For users who can live in a simpler App centric platform have a choice and still have a bit more functionality than its competitors while having roughly the same experience across a multitude of devices.

Keyboard not included? That really does severely limit its utility in any kind of serious content creation situation. Even with one of its two keyboard, touch-typists will not find it comparable to the full-size keyboard of a laptop or desktop.

TsarNikky said,
Keyboard not included? That really does severely limit its utility in any kind of serious content creation situation. Even with one of its two keyboard, touch-typists will not find it comparable to the full-size keyboard of a laptop or desktop.

what's wrong with the keyboard? The type keyboard is just like any laptop keyboard out there.

gebs said,
Should have been priced like this since the beginning!!

they might have sold a decent amount at this price. $500 for a slow touchscreen laptop and poor app compatability due to little applications work on win rt was never going to work.

Love my Surface RT. Good to see they are reducing the price. May buy another one for the family. I never regretted the purchase. I am using it daily for work (note taking at meetings, email, writing papers, presentations) and fun.

RT was the stupidest move yet for Microsoft. It's ONLY appeal was better battery time, so it had a clock running on it's lifespan and regular windows from the start. No price incentive to adopt over competitors whatsoever, limited software and a guarantee it'll be dropped with a few years. Everything many of us predicted is right on schedule. Tick tock, when it hits $100 I might pick one up for the hell of it.

Hahaiah said,
RT was the stupidest move yet for Microsoft. It's ONLY appeal was better battery time, so it had a clock running on it's lifespan and regular windows from the start. No price incentive to adopt over competitors whatsoever, limited software and a guarantee it'll be dropped with a few years. Everything many of us predicted is right on schedule. Tick tock, when it hits $100 I might pick one up for the hell of it.

What? Why would it be dropped? It's doing exactly what it was designed to do.

Rudy said,
The improvements Intel is bringing to its Atom lineup are what will kill the Surface RT

The Atom is still too limited for any serious desktop work. If you need x86 hardware, you might as well as spend the money and buy a Surface Pro or a mid range laptop.

Dot Matrix said,

The Atom is still too limited for any serious desktop work. If you need x86 hardware, you might as well as spend the money and buy a Surface Pro or a mid range laptop.


Think more along the lines of: "Why invest in a separate Windows version, when the Atom has the same Performance/Watt value?" Using only RT-Apps on an Atom-based tablet would mean that they no longer had to support ARM…

Its still RT, thats why they are not selling, its a crippled Windows OS. Stick a Bay Trail Atom in the next version and can this ARM BS. Atom has all the benefits of battery life, thinness and lightness and is more powerful so why buy a limited OS? Might as well just go ios or android and enjoy more numerous and mature apps.

efjay said,
Its still RT, thats why they are not selling, its a crippled Windows OS. Stick a Bay Trail Atom in the next version and can this ARM BS. Atom has all the benefits of battery life, thinness and lightness and is more powerful so why buy a limited OS? Might as well just go ios or android and enjoy more numerous and mature apps.

Android tablets don't offer much. They're too cheap to be of any use, nor do they offer Office, which people need in the workplace.

I have Quickoffice, which does everything I need to do for work. I can also connect to my work VPN and access Sharepoint remotely and even print remotely if I need to. All from my "cheap" Nexus 7.

I'm wondering what the pricing of the next Surface tablets will be. I don't think RT tablets can demand $500. Maybe x86 ones can, but not an ARM RT device. I'd like to see them at $350-$400. Like it or not, I don't feel they can compete with the iPad, but might do favorably against high-end Android tablets.

Chikairo said,
I'm wondering what the pricing of the next Surface tablets will be. I don't think RT tablets can demand $500. Maybe x86 ones can, but not an ARM RT device. I'd like to see them at $350-$400. Like it or not, I don't feel they can compete with the iPad, but might do favorably against high-end Android tablets.

With the right update to the hardware it all depends. New snapdragon processor everyones talking about, higher res screen, more storage options (I think they should drop the 32GB SKU and just do 64GB and a 128GB model). Then with all the updates on the software side it all works out when it comes to the pricing.

Besides I think we'll see the rumored 8" Surface mini come in at $299 and either $350 or $399 depending on how much storage it comes with.

Early adopter of a Surface RT. It's a good device but overall just from having both an iPAD 3 and a Surface RT and seeing how people use them and react to using them. Most find the iPAD 3 has a more consistent behavior. In the places where the iPAD 3 slows down it consistently slows down in those areas so its predictable, on the Surface RT it performs flawlessly sometimes in areas and other times it stutters in those same areas for unknown reasons, don't react to your touches, and has to be put to sleep and woken up to return to normal behavior. The worst culprit is by far the Music App and sometimes IE with many websites. So people at least people that I've let use my devices are normally less fraustrated with the iPAD than the Surface RT. However, with that said, I still personally prefer the Surface RT they just need to get it more stable and a more consistent and predictable response for general users.

I like the Surface RT over iOS but I agree with your statements. I think it mostly has to do with iOS not truly being a multi-tasking device in that many people using RT fail to realize that if they open an app, it maybe still running in the back ground unless they close it. I think RT closes apps on a memory bases as opposed to number of running apps but when it gets close to that limit, it starts to stutter. It is even worse if you are running many desktop apps as it treats the whole desktop as one app and will not close it.

This would make sense if the 2nd gen Surface is on the way in the next couple months. But all Microsoft said is that it's on the way in the next year. They clearly have a lot of stock left and don't want to run into overstock closer to the announcement date. Obsolete Windows products don't hold they value at all.

But on the other side, the 30% discount makes these devices much more appealing. Now if they would offer the same discount on the Surface Pro.

I think Microsoft should do this to get rid of the RT inventory and then discontinue the product.

stevan said,
This would make sense if the 2nd gen Surface is on the way in the next couple months. But all Microsoft said is that it's on the way in the next year. They clearly have a lot of stock left and don't want to run into overstock closer to the announcement date. Obsolete Windows products don't hold they value at all.

But on the other side, the 30% discount makes these devices much more appealing. Now if they would offer the same discount on the Surface Pro.

I think Microsoft should do this to get rid of the RT inventory and then discontinue the product.

Not going to happen, not when we also have smaller devices on the way. RT fits better with a 7-8" tablet but the Surface RT, a 2nd gen with better hardware specs is also fine depending on what you want to do with it. You also have to remember that the people who do buy tablets don't care about or need the desktop or full desktop apps. With the update in RT 8.1 and also the update to the apps it comes with so they're better then honestly I don't see why you'd kill the Surface RT in the end?

GP007 said,

Not going to happen, not when we also have smaller devices on the way. RT fits better with a 7-8" tablet but the Surface RT, a 2nd gen with better hardware specs is also fine depending on what you want to do with it. You also have to remember that the people who do buy tablets don't care about or need the desktop or full desktop apps. With the update in RT 8.1 and also the update to the apps it comes with so they're better then honestly I don't see why you'd kill the Surface RT in the end?

That's exactly it, people don't need desktop or full desktop apps so they will choose an Android or iPad. These two platforms are miles ahead of what RT can offer. People who buy laptops don't really care about the upgrade specs, at least not how Microsoft advertises them.

RT bombed, there's no easier way of saying it. Microsoft is offering discounts left, right and center to get them out to people's hands. The majority was dissapointed with the initial price as well.

You could put all the versions of Microsoft office on it as well as a thousand USB ports and it will still not sell better.

stevan said,

That's exactly it, people don't need desktop or full desktop apps so they will choose an Android or iPad. These two platforms are miles ahead of what RT can offer. People who buy laptops don't really care about the upgrade specs, at least not how Microsoft advertises them.

RT bombed, there's no easier way of saying it. Microsoft is offering discounts left, right and center to get them out to people's hands. The majority was dissapointed with the initial price as well.

You could put all the versions of Microsoft office on it as well as a thousand USB ports and it will still not sell better.

I don't see them as miles ahead, the apps need work sure but that's coming with the update and the update itself makes the OS overall better then iOS imo. It all comes down to what you want to do though, if people do want to get a bit of work done with office then sure, it makes sense to get a RT device.

No one honestly expects it to sell like crazy, but it doesn't have to either. It's not on it's own in the ecosystem, just one of a group you can pick between. To that extent it can just sell 2-5million units a quarter and still be a success for them as it's not selling at a loss.

[quote=stevan said,]

That's exactly it, people don't need desktop or full desktop apps so they will choose an Android or iPad. These two platforms are miles ahead of what RT can offer.
[\quote]

How are iOS and Android "miles ahead" than RT? Apps, yes, RT is lacking in apps. Otherwise its a far more capable device with a web browser that is miles ahead anything found on iOS or Android (btw, I have all of these devices).

Hoping for a silvermont Atom based Surface with pen input, plus an actual built-in pen holder like the Thinkpad Tablet 2. The way the pen just kinda dangles on the side while charging on the Surface Pro is kinda silly.

Stetson said,
Hoping for a silvermont Atom based Surface with pen input, plus an actual built-in pen holder like the Thinkpad Tablet 2. The way the pen just kinda dangles on the side while charging on the Surface Pro is kinda silly.

Hmm, might want to get your stylus replaced, sounds defective. My stylus has not once had to be recharged...

It makes sense to cut the price and then introduce the 2nd gen hardware at the original pricing later. Just wonder how later, maybe we'll be in for another last minute surprise media event to introduce new Surface hardware like they did with the originals. Either way I'm sure it'll be after the August RTM of Windows 8.1.

Possibly both, either way it will get it in more hands and make more sense to developers. I always thought 299-349 was the sweet spot, still think it should be 299 for the 32GB.

Tyler R. said,
...Either that or nobody's buying them...

*ducks*

The RT versions are useless so ya id imagine so. The only people ive seen with them had them soon after release and have already replaced them with proper devices.

TPreston said,
If Windows RT is useless I don't want to know what you think of android and ios

Just a guess, but probably something along the lines of: "Those are actually usable OSes. Not only usable, but they don't look like monochrome hideous ****".

Again, just a guess...

Dot Matrix said,
The 2nd gen Surface tablets are on their way! Hopefully, they'll discount the keyboards. I put off buying one with mine.

The keyboard will be sold separately for that people want it. I hope they keep the default price and not price cuts like many OEM's do with their tablets.

runningnak3d said,

Just a guess, but probably something along the lines of: "Those are actually usable OSes. Not only usable, but they don't look like monochrome hideous ****".

Again, just a guess...

oh lord, you're really clueless.

Windows RT has all the features of Android and iOS, plus :
full flash player support
full desktop browser (not a dumb mobile browser)
multi windowing (snap view) that allows real multitasking
office 2013
ability the use printers, usb flash drives, ...

an iPad is a useless toy compared to surface RT.
I manage to use my Surface RT as my main and only personal computer. It's perfectly usable, and much more powerful than any other tablet OS (actually android/ios are phone OS, not OSes designed for tablets).

unfortunately there seems to be a lot of ignorant people like you out there who think of windows RT as something as limited as iOS.

link8506 said,

oh lord, you're really clueless.

Windows RT has all the features of Android and iOS, plus :
full flash player support
full desktop browser (not a dumb mobile browser)
multi windowing (snap view) that allows real multitasking
office 2013
ability the use printers, usb flash drives, ...

an iPad is a useless toy compared to surface RT.
I manage to use my Surface RT as my main and only personal computer. It's perfectly usable, and much more powerful than any other tablet OS (actually android/ios are phone OS, not OSes designed for tablets).

unfortunately there seems to be a lot of ignorant people like you out there who think of windows RT as something as limited as iOS.

I never said Windows RT couldn't do those things, I just said it was unusable. There is a difference between incapable, and unusable. Oh, yea, it is ugly as ****.

TPreston said,
If Windows RT is useless I don't want to know what you think of android and ios

As a consumer consumption device, both iOS and Android have much better apps. As a productivity device, Surface RT is very hard to beat for business. I actually like my Surface RT for both as I have found the full browser with full Flash so capable that I don't really use any 3rd party apps. And I just finished writing a form letter with Word just today and connected to my wife's computer via Home Groups and printed it through her PC to the connected printer. I do the same thing at work via the LAN connected printer.

runningnak3d said,

I never said Windows RT couldn't do those things, I just said it was unusable. There is a difference between incapable, and unusable. Oh, yea, it is ugly as ****.

Since the list of ways the Surface RT is more useful than iOS and Android is long (full Office and now Outlook, full printer ability either via USB or LAN, full Home Group sharing, the best RDP, Remote Assistance (only Samsung Android has this ability), mouse ability (Android as this too), full browser with full Flash (desktop browser also allows extenders, 3rd party filter lists, accelerators, etc.), multi-panel app viewing, true multi-tasking, full settings and file sync via SkyDrive, multi-user profiles with various levels of granular access rights down to the file level, etc and so on.

And many people find the Suface a beautifully built device with high quality materials so your opinions of its appearance is juvenal at best.

Cyborg_X said,
I always thought 299-349 was the sweet spot, still think it should be 299 for the 32GB.

An ipad mini entry dev offers for 329$. Expect the surface no lower than that.