back to article '$199' Surface tablets: So crazy it might work, or just crazy?

If the latest Redmond rumors are to be believed, Microsoft's ARM-based Surface tablet models could arrive priced as low as $199, positioning them as heavyweights in the burgeoning low-cost tablet category. Engadget reports that the $199 price point was unveiled at the recent TechReady 15 conference, an internal technical event …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I call bull

    But if they can keep the cost under £250 with a decent keyboard and battery life I might be tempted.

    1. mafoo
      Boffin

      "internal event"

      I'm guessing this $199 price point is for Microsoft employees getting a generous 30-50% discount it being announced at a MS employee only event.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: "internal event"

        There's not a chance it will be released for that price. I'd only believe it if I actually saw it and even then I'd double-check. Maayyybeee to MS employees, but to the public, not a chance.

        1. kb
          Windows

          Re: "internal event"

          Actually it has a good chance of being released at that price, as that is how MSFT was able to get into the console market and take a good chunk of the business. Its a classic "razor and blades" play where you sell the units at a loss and hope to make a profit on the 30% per app or content they intend to charge anyone using the Windows appstore.

          Personally I still think its gonna bomb, because people are gonna see the name "Windows" and automatically assume it'll run their Windows programs and when it don't? Right back it'll go. On the plus side all those returns should end up on Woot! for like $50 so if you want a cheap tablet to play with it might be worth checking out 6 months after release. But between the new iPad and the Fire i just don't see people lining up for the fugly Metro-UI, or whatever they are calling it this week.

          The big question though is whether the EU will try to get them for product dumping or antitrust since the whole way the R&B model works is by selling below cost and we all know the EU don't like MSFT none.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "internal event"

            If they can sell it at $199, they won't be able to make enough of them. In fact, I would expect shortages that will enable retailers to charge more than list price, as sometimes has happened with fairly recent ATI gfx cards. I wonder if MS will be able to prohibit that.

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      doubtful

      Or will they sell them at a loss like the Kindle Fire to encourage buyers and hope they can make money out of content.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: doubtful

        The only problem I see is that MS don't make content but I could see them following Apple and demanding a 30% cut of everyone who has their content signed so it can be sold inside the walls.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: doubtful

          The only problem I see is that MS don't make content

          Excuse me?

          You do know MS is primarily a SOFTWARE company.

          As stated it comes bundled with a preview of office 2013 which you can upgrade to,read buy.

          Then there is i.e. with Bing as default search no doubt

          Skydrive (with larger storage options at a cost)

          MSN (or whatever it is this week) with those lovely ads

          Outlook

          Skype

          Lync

          and on and on

          Then of course the will be all the sales of Visual Studio, Sharepoint, Exchange and SQL that drive a lot of above.

          1. TheOtherHobbes

            Re: doubtful

            content != software

            Content is third party apps, music, videos, books, etc.

            MS has so far failed to create much of a market for any of the above. iOS is arguably still the market leader for general content, Amazon is doing very well with books and will likely move to movies-on-Kindle within the next year or two, and Android is bringing up the rear if anyone wants an alternative.

            Being able to run Office on a cheap tablet is going to appeal to a lot of people. But content it ain't.

          2. toadwarrior

            Re: doubtful

            Most of MSl software is aimed at businesses and isn't the sort of thing most consumers want so they can't count on that to make their money back. So unless it's completely closed off to 3rd party development or they do something like xbox and basically force you to have a subscription, they can't make their money if they're sold at a loss.

            To me, if it's true this is the price and it is sold at a significant loss, that sounds an awful like dumping and an abuse of their OS monopoly to gain control of another market. So if that is the case someone better come down on their asses.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: doubtful

            " MS is primarily a SOFTWARE company"

            Really !!?? Are you sure ?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: doubtful

          "The only problem I see is that MS don't make content but I could see them following Apple and demanding a 30% cut of everyone who has their content signed so it can be sold inside the walls."

          ...you mean like they already do with XBox Live?

        3. Hooksie
          Thumb Up

          Re: doubtful

          With the greatest of respect, you sir, are a knob. Microsoft don't make content??? What the fuck do you think Office is? Microsoft make LOADS of software including a shit load of games and I can guaranfuckingtee that games from the xBox will make their way on to the Surface.

          And as for the tool that wrote the article, it may well be that Microsoft release the Surface at $199 but that also guarantees that the $199 version will come sans keyboard, trackpad and stylus as well as having lower storage and these will be sold separately for, wait for it, a PROFIT.

          Personally I'm really looking forward to the launch of Surface and once businesses start handing them out to staff instead of laptops you'll see a huge leap in market share and take-up of Windows 8. It's time that the company who ACTUALLY brought us tablet computing gets it right and I think the 16:9 ratio, the screen resolution and the fact that people are so used to Windows will mean that this is an absolute winner. I've got an iPad BTW so don't go calling me a hater or any such bollocks, I just can't stand MS bashing for the sake of it, same when people slag Apple despite them getting stuff right. If there's one platform that sucks on tablet it's Android. That's why there are still millions of them on shelves while Apple can't keep up with demand.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: doubtful

            It's time that the company who ACTUALLY brought us tablet computing gets it right and I think the 16:9 ratio, the screen resolution and the fact that people are so used to Windows will mean that this is an absolute winner.

            This isn't Windows this is Windows RT it runs the 'Modern UI' that punters are unfamiliar with, it has no Desktop and your chained to the Appstore. At $199 people may be tempted until they look at more than the price and they see an unfamiliar and unintuitive UI.

            As for 16:9 ratio being a selling point... Don't make me laugh

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: doubtful

              > As for 16:9 ratio being a selling point...

              The Surface with attached keyboard is forced to be landscape only. Tablets and eBook readers tend to used portrait where 16:9 ratio is even more awful.

            2. Mark .

              Re: doubtful

              It's true Windows RT doesn't have the benefit of the familiar traditional Windows UI - but I don't think the lack of that will keep people away (otherwise, no one would be buying Android and Apple tablets at the moment).

              Also consider the effect once people get used to the new Windows 8 (both "desktop" and Metro) when they upgrade their normal PCs (or use them at work, or whatever). If they then look for a cheap laptop, Windows RT will in time have the advantage of a familiar UI (as well being more compatible in lots of other ways - e.g, easier to network - I have no idea how I might get Android to read/write my local network, but I presume Windows RT it would be as easy as with Windows 7.)

          2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
            Trollface

            Re: doubtful

            @Hooksie

            With the greatest of respect, you sir, are a knob. Microsoft don't make content??? What the fuck do YOU think Office is?

            Personally I think Office (2007 or later) is a load of shite, but that's slightly off topic.

            Office is not content, content on a fondle slab is something you consume, music, video, games, fart generators and other useful apps. Office is a tool for creating content, although based on the PHB's last powerpoint offering, I use the term 'content' with a very loose meaning.

            Link: And why can't crApple can't keep up with demand for iProduct, possibly because there aren't enough Alices' in the world.

            1. Hooksie

              Re: doubtful

              We must agree to disagree then sir since for me 'content' is software which is installed on top of an existing operating system whether that be useful or not. Microsoft will also be able to charge for the rest of their big staple products under the CAL system for any corporate partners. Microsoft make lots of software, they just don't usually charge for it since it comes bundled into the OS.

              And to the person who rightly commented on my faux pas regarding people being familiar with Windows, what I meant was that they are familiar with the windows ecosystem and effectively "trust" Microsoft where they might not trust Google ( and rightly so) I really don't see how anyone can call Metro unintuitive (except for how to switch it off :) )

              1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

                Re: doubtful

                "We must agree to disagree then sir since for me 'content' is software which is installed on top of an existing operating system"

                Given the tone of your original response, you're obviously a paid shrill. But why stop there, I suppose we'll all just refer to the OS as just content installed on top of the existing hardware regardless of how stupid it sounds calling an OS content. Oh sorry, I'll translate so you understand, "... how fucking stupid it sounds...". I do hope I didn't confuse you further by using ellipses.

                In the normal world it's pretty simple really. A book full of blank pages isn't content but it is useful for generating and editing content and it's the words and/or pictures that are put on the pages that is the content. You can tell because many books have a table of contents that would be rather short for a blank book. Since MS Word is effectively digital paper it doesn't qualify as content. That said, if blank pages are what blows your hair back, go ahead and call it content but don't expect many people to understand. Again, sorry, "... go right the fuck ahead and call it whatever the fuck you want to..." Better, M'kay?

          3. JEDIDIAH
            Linux

            Re: doubtful

            > What the fuck do you think Office is?

            Tired old legacy software. That's what it is.

            People buy tablets to get away from legacy cruft like that and purveyors of it such as yourself.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Facepalm

            Re: doubtful

            > Personally I'm really looking forward to the launch of Surface and once businesses start handing them out to staff instead of laptops you'll see a huge leap in market share and take-up of Windows 8.

            Oh yes, just like it worked when businesses handed out Lumias to their staff.

            By the way, probably not too smart to call El Reg writers 'tools' on their own forum, either.

        4. David Simpson 1
          FAIL

          Re: doubtful

          You don't need to question it they already do it .

        5. StooMonster
          Facepalm

          Re: doubtful

          The only problem I see is that MS don't make content but I could see them following Apple and demanding a 30% cut of everyone who has their content signed so it can be sold inside the walls.

          Already happening, Windows RT is the first walled-garden version of Windows.

          Specifically, with Windows RT the only source of software is the Microsoft Store. As per iOS, you cannot install software from anywhere else (until the device is jail-broken) and Microsoft runs the store on the same agency model as everyone else so get their 30% take of everyone's paid apps.

    3. Shagbag

      It's about time prices came down

      These devices need to be more affordable is they're to achieve mass market acceptance. £500+ for a enlarged smartphone without a phone suggests a HUGE gross margin.

      1. MDevonB

        "It's about time prices came down" - To what, exactly?

        I'm curious what prices you're comparing against what. A new iPad starts around £400, and while a new phone through a carrier is only £100 or so, a new phone without a carrier is more in the £450 range. For a slate, which loses only the cell and 3G/4G radio, but has a screen something like 4 times areal size, to cost about the same suggests either the phones are immensely overpriced (They'll definitely be a bit over-priced, sales volumes and such.) or that slate margin's are terribly small. (The OS being the primary differentiator, the actual HW is slowly becoming a commodity, like the PC space, makes me think that is slowly becoming the case.)

        - Comparing iPad cost to O2 subsidized iPhone cost, to unlocked Galaxy S3 cost.

        - I'm a murrican. These numbers are fictional to me.

        - I'm also not someone whose job has anything to do with money.

        - Holy crap, if someone brought their own phone onto a plan and pays the same amount someone with a subsidized phone does for service, it's insane how much they're getting effed over.

      2. Mark .

        Re: It's about time prices came down

        I agree, though that's the good thing about Windows 8 - the first tablet OS that will be a full blown PC, not an oversided phone.

    4. Bill Neal
      Devil

      Re: I call bull

      If they throw in hookers & blow I might be tempted. Until then I'll pass on Win8

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You would have to be an idiot

      to believe this..

      This RUMOUR is to try and stop Google selling even more Nexus7 devices. They never need to sell it at that price, they just need to stop Google selling them at at price until they are ready (which sounds like another 6 months away).

      This is LAME stalling tactics by Microsoft, and you would have to be a fucking moron to not be able to see past it.

      Good luck for anyone holding out for this....

      1. Mark .

        Re: You would have to be an idiot

        If this rumour is false (as seems highly likely), I very much doubt it's MS putting it out. This rumour has the risk of being devstating - if it sets people's expectations of the Surface being $199, and then it comes out at say $599, it'll be a disaster, even if the $599 price would otherwise be perfectly reasonable. (Hopefully though, most people will realise the rumour is unlikely to be true.)

        This is the kind of low tactic that Apple would play - indeed, it seems that many of the tech stories in the news seem to be Apple press releases.

    6. N13L5
      Linux

      Re: I call bull

      Microsoft knows it can't survive in the smart phone market with 1.5% market share.

      Selling Surface tablets at dumping prices does have the chance to fix that.

      Would I pay full price for a Windows RT tablet with limited functionality and the stink of two recent smartphone OS abortions? Not a chance! If I wanted a tablet with a keyboard and a stylus at full price, I'd go with a Samsung and buy a third party cover with integrated bluetooth keyboard to go with that, knowing I'd have apps for dictation, translation and everything else I might need readily available.

      Same reason everybody buys Windows machines in the PC space... you can have software to do even the most rare tasks with a simple web search.

      So with Windows RT not running any of my existing software I'm rather partial to, I simply would never pick up a Surface tablet at "regular" price.

      If its $199, I'll even pre-order it, cause I know, worst case, I can just use it as a convenient music playback device hanging on the wall.

      At @199, I consider it a no-risk purchase, and I think thats what M$ is aiming for.... they've done this before, and in this case, its their last hope from starting a slow slide into oblivion.

      And don't forget that M$ is aiming for the big AppStore tollbooth! So its like giving away shavers to sell lots of blades later.

      Automatic TollBooths are Microsoft's holy grail.

      They should just find ways to give cash to OEMs who fulfill whatever Microsoft's favored quality requirements are, so they can sell at the same dumping prices M$ does. Then again, that might be illegal...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

    and 301 quid knocked off because you have to take Windows 8 with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

      Windows 8 on a tablet will be great, it just sucks for all the desktop users out there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

        Everybody keeps saying that Windows 8 with a touchscreen will be great (usually after they say that, they complain about it for the desktop) but I don't understand the rationale.

        Okay, let's assume there's a small advantage to "live tiles." I'm not convinced, but for the sake of argument...

        After that, what makes "metro mode" Windows 8 one single iota better than either iOS or Android? Obviously not the selection of software. I also don't see any meaningful difference between the UI elements that have been made public and those in iOS or Android. They all have buttons and scroll lists and stuff. Then you have the programming model, i.e., yet another API to learn but this one has COM. (We all love COM, right?)

        So seriously, why should anybody buy this thing other than the ability to drop into desktop-looking Windows and run Office (and that's it)?

        1. Brangdon

          Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

          Microsoft's touch UI has some nice features. For example, other touch UIs use a long-press to get to their equivalent of a right-click menu. That slows you down because you have to wait the set time for the OS to register it as a long-press. Microsoft do this nudging thing instead. More generally, Microsoft have not just blindly copied Apple. They've looked at their competitors and tried to figure out better ways.

        2. Hooksie

          Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

          Haaaaaaaaave youusedityet?? Been playing around with it since the first customer preview and I think that the assessment of "great for tablet, not for desktop" is about right, until you get touchscreen laptops and monitors being more ubiquitous.

          It's fun. And that's the key seller for me, like iOS, it just works, it looks cool and it does some nice little things that make you smile and go "ooh, cool" (of course then you try to figure out how to switch it off and spend the next 10 minutes looking for the shut down option :) ) It feels fresh and modern and you know what, it grows on you. When I first saw it I thought "what the hell is this crap, where's my desktop" but depending on your use case you don't really NEED the desktop.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

            >depending on your use case you don't really NEED the desktop.

            Two years from now the market will clearly answer that question. Or maybe not as M$ has shown a willingness to take a bath for years on products nobody likes or uses (cough Bing).

        3. Mark .

          Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

          Well maybe it's not that much better, but you could say the same each of IOS and Android - why get either of those, and not anything else?

          "other than the ability to drop into desktop-looking Windows and run Office (and that's it)?"

          Which are pretty big things in themselves. What are the reasons to get IOS or Android tablets over Windows 8? And don't tell me "apps" - raw counts are useless as a measure of software availability on different platforms. Especially for tablets and phones, where most the "apps" are pointless website-wrappers advertising for a company.

      2. Mark .

        Re: That's 500 dollars for the hardware.

        It does? Having tested out Windows 8 on a laptop without touchscreen, I find I can use it just as well as Windows 7 with keyboard and mouse. The standard windows UI is still there unchanged (unlike the disaster that is Unity on Ubuntu, with their attempts to make it touch friendly, that just messes it up for everyone); the full screen mode still seems usable with mouse and keyboard, and the start screen works just the same as on Windows 7 with mouse or keyboard, but making full use of the screen space.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pre-Pre-Announced Device to cost $199

    What's the cost of manufacture of the hardware and how much of a hit is Microsoft taking on this pre-pre-announced product. I don't know any other company or business that announces an upgrade of a yet-to-be-released device?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $199.... That raised my eyebrow. I've been looking closely at tablets lately, trying to get a feel for what they can do for me verses cost. That price would be about right.

    I like the Ipads, but the cost is just too much so it's out. But, with rumors of a smaller Ipad coming, the recent Nexus release, a new Kindle coming,etc.... It's going to get interesting. I had'nt even considered a MS device, but at $199, I would definitely give it a look. This is going to be the Christmas for tablets. Everyone I speak to is talking about getting one for themselves or their kids.

    I'll probably get a few thumbs down, but hey, what do they actually get me anyway? You can already see this sites followers are linux lovers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How much do the verses cost?

      not as much as the chorus.

    2. Mark .

      Indeed - tablets will become mainstream, but only when they become low cost, cheaper than say more functional netbooks (perhaps tablets are the thing to finally give us the £100 computer). It won't be Apple that popularised tablets, it will be low cost Android (or Windows RT) tablets. At £400, a tablet is an oversized phone that can't be used as a phone, and is money I could be better spending on a phone or PC. But at £100 or less, well, I might end up with 2 or 3 tablets of various different sizes just dotted around the house.

      (Alternatively, tablets will be mainstream when every Windows 8 laptop is marketed as a "tablet" on the grounds that it also has a touchscreen... - again, Windows, not Apple.)

  5. RodB
    Meh

    "and although Microsoft has not disclosed its display resolution, it is rumored to be higher than that of the Nexus 7"

    1366x768 is only very slightly sharper than 1280x800 and for many people the latter is preferable due to aspect ratio

    299 is doable

    1. JC_
      WTF?

      1366x768 is only very slightly sharper than 1280x800 and for many people the latter is preferable due to aspect ratio

      Indeed, when writing code on my tablet I do appreciate the extra visible line I get from having 32 more vertical pixels...

  6. Arctic fox
    Flame

    "......analysts were expecting Surface devices running Windows RT to retail for $599"

    The analysts were talking bollocks then and the rumour mongers are talking bollocks now. The $599 price tag was way to high unless MS wanted to cut their own throats by overpricing and the $199 is way too low unless MS want to etc etc..... $299 I could pretend to believe. Glad to see that the author is equally sceptical.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's only really interesting if hackers can get CM10 on it. Otherwise you'd be stuck with Metro - and given it's microsoft, that would be a resource hungry dogs breakfast.

    $199 only makes sense if Office is at least $99 - and you also need Win8 on the desktop to make it work. Balmer must be puckered with the fear than ms is going down the pan under his watch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hungry

      but of course android is so efficient that you dont realy need multy cores just to get it to run smoothly,and does'nt burn battery like a bad mad thing ?

      1. David Simpson 1
        Flame

        Re: hungry

        Spoken like someone who has never used ICS or JB.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: hungry

          [insert rude comment here]

          About how no-one has used ICS and JB, because it's only been available on a tiny number of devices so far.

          And in fact upgrades to ICS have been stalled, because the manufacturers can't get the older hardware to run it properly. Or have claimed this anyway... I've also seen plenty of comments from users who've upgraded tablets to ICS and said it runs like treacle.

          Windows Mobile 7 may (or may not) be crap, but it runs really nicely on single core chips, which modern Android OSes don't. Windows 8 previews have tested faster on the same hardware than Windows 7. So there's a good chance that it won't be a horribly slow dog.

          1. eldel

            Re: hungry

            Single data point ... ICS (CM9) runs like a dog on a Captivate. I stepped through a bunch of the nightly builds, the RCs and the stable release. While they got better as they went it's still massively slower than CM 7.2. From my inexpert perusal it looks like it expects multi cores and lotsa memory.

            1. JEDIDIAH
              Linux

              Re: hungry

              So newer versions of Android run like a dog on older kit? Big deal. So does pretty much anything. This even includes the magical PhoneOS. This is why my local iFan is eyeballing an upgrade to a Galaxy S3.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: hungry

            > Windows Mobile 7 may (or may not) be crap, but it runs really nicely

            > on single core chips, which modern Android OSes don't. Windows 8

            > previews have tested faster on the same hardware than Windows 7.

            > So there's a good chance that it won't be a horribly slow dog.

            You have made a completely incompetent comparison. Windows Phone 7 has no relationship to Windows 7 at all except for the number. WP7 is based on CE, it runs 'nicely' on single core because it cannot multi-task (except via a mechanism similar to MS-DOS TSRs), apps put into background are tombstoned.

            WP8 which you allude to is (allegedly) based on Windows 8/RT and is not derived from WP7.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: hungry

            > Windows Mobile 7 may (or may not) be crap, but it runs really nicely on single core chips

            Well, dog's testicles saute very nicely in a frying pan, but that doesn't mean we should eat them.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
              Happy

              Re: hungry

              Cthoolhio,

              So you're saying that Windows Mobile 7 is so brilliant. That it's the dog's bollocks?

        2. Mark .

          Re: hungry

          And the AC above has never used Windows 8.

          MS have been making strides in improving efficiency since the bloated days of Vista - each new iteration of Windows these days is requiring less, despite technology advancing. And whilst I like Android, he has a point - it's not like smartphones these days are using tiny hardware. Phones these days have multicore CPUs and a GB or more of RAM, just like Windows PCs

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Microsoft seem more than willing to lose cash to push their Windows 8 agenda. Given that they are fairly far behind at this point loss leaders will need to be that little bit extra tempting to pull people in.

    I wouldn't be pick me up off the floor surprised if this price was around the actual figure for the Microsoft store restricted ARM version.

    1. Doug 3

      you had better believe it. Remember how many billions they throw down on the XBox and only recently started pulling in a positive cash flow on the product line. Wasn't it $3 billion they wrote off in just one year due to faulty hardware designs?

      Microsoft will spend billions on this because they need to shut Apple and Android growth down or risk more of the Windows revenue streams losses to those competitors.

      1. Mark .

        And why shouldn't they. Google have written an OS and given it away for free, so they can dominate and make money from smartphone software/content. Apple have tens of billions stashed in the bank, solely to use to "destroy Android" - and it tooks years of wall-to-wall media hype before Iphone sales finally struggled to be comparable to mainstream companies like Samsung and Nokia, or to get anywhere close to Blackberry and Symbian. Today Apple are spending shitloads on Ipad, Iphone and laptop ads, in a struggle to remain relevant in the face of domination from Android and Windows. It's called marketing, and MS are sensible to be doing this just like anyone else.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well they were giving Windows Phones away weren't they not...

    They'll just milk more from Android licenses to pay for it.

    1. Mark .

      Well, I've lost track of the number of "Win a free Ipod/Ipad/Iphone/Istale" ads - can't even give them away it seems, and still Apple lose massively to Android. So instead they have to go after Samsung for "rounded rectangle" licenses.

  10. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Pint

    Here's to nostalgia

    This brings back fond memories of the days that Microsoft and Wang could regularly be heard in the same sentence.

  11. dssf

    obligatory question....

    But, will it run PCLinuxOS?

    It would be interesring to see KDE running on it. Ms would go bonkers, though. If 199 and cm or linux could run stably, as much as i would dislike fattening the ms coffers, i could be very tempted if the pen and other peripherals work.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: obligatory question....

      > But, will it run PCLinuxOS?

      No. It will have 'Secure Boot' without the option to turn it off (which x86 will have). Also the only software loadable will be from MS Appstore, so you won't be getting any FOSS stuff.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Secure boot would not last long at $199

        No DRM has survived determined attention from hackers. At $199, surface would receive lots of attention, and Microsoft losing money on each sale would add more. The only way you will see $199 is if you sign up for some lock-in ware at $20/month for 2 years increasing by $5 per month each year after that.

        1. StooMonster

          Re: Secure boot would not last long at $199

          No DRM has survived determined attention from hackers.

          Isn't PlayStation 3 secure these days, after Sony's security wobble with Geohot?

          1. N13L5

            Re: Secure boot would not last long at $199

            PlayStation 3 is only useful if it can hook up to Sony to play games. so, if you wanna call it "secure", is that cause people either get sued or else they have a useless Playstation without the Sony link?

            With a tablet computer, thats quite different. You have no need to connect to Microsoft once you boot another OS on it. You are not going to be illegally using M$ services.

            You'll just be running your little tablet to do your little tasks off of M$' grid... so the kind of recourse Sony had with its playstation doesn't exist here.

            I do wonder how the 30% cut for M$' app store works out when people offer free software... after all, 30% of zero is still zero... Will M$ have high signing fees like Nokia used to, to make free apps from small developers impossible?

            I remember hating Symbian, not because it was clunky, but because signing fees were really high to protect big commercial developers from having to compete with small developers offering better features faster. You could only install apps from small developers by hacking Symbian, which was a nuisance.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: obligatory question....

        Some of the bigger Linux people are considering paying the one of charge so Grub can be run to install whatever other OS you like. If they do, and they bring these out at $199 I will certainly be buying one and overloading it asap.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: obligatory question....

          Just to check, is this saying you like the hardware it's just the software you don't like? Good to see you are a MS supporter after all

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: obligatory question....

        "Also the only software loadable will be from MS Appstore, so you won't be getting any FOSS stuff."

        Why not - if FOSS projects can make Windows binaries available, what's to stop them making WinRT versions of their apps and submitting them to the MS Appstore?

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: obligatory question....

          > Why not - if FOSS projects can make Windows binaries available, what's

          > to stop them making WinRT versions of their apps and submitting them to

          > the MS Appstore?

          Short answer: MS

          MS wants to _sell_ stuff in the appstore so that it can take 30%. Freestuff has a 30% of zero, so why would MS accept the submission ?

          1. chr0m4t1c

            At a wild guess

            >so why would MS accept the submission ?

            Same reason Apple do, the submitter has to pay them an annual fee to put it in the store and they get bragging rights over the number of apps available - 100,000 (90% free) sounds better than 10,000 (all paid).

            The biggest hurdle FOSS stuff has is the clash of ideology you get where the FOSS license says there have to be no barriers to distribution, but the OS/ecosystem only allows installation from one software repository.

            It's unlikely we'll see a change in the curator/gatekeeper approach from the firms involved, there's too much money at stake. I guess there's a slight possibility that a clause will be added to the FOSS licenses to allow software to be distributed through those stores, but there's a lot of ideology at stake, so don't expect that any time soon either.

            Ultimately, as always, it's the end users who lose out.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: At a wild guess

              There is no barrier - the FOSS software is still available for download from the original source. Most FOSS licenses don't care how the binaries are distributed, only how the source is distributed. It wasn't/isn't against the license for hardware distributers to include firmware based on beatbox or dd-wrt or a bunch of other FOSS tools, as long as the source is also made available.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: At a wild guess

                > There is no barrier

                The FOSS projects will not raise a barrier, but Microsoft has control of what is in and what is not in the appstore. For example they have already said that no other web browser will be in the store. No Firefox, no Opera, nor any other. MS want to control the web browser so that searches go to Bing and downloads are under whatever control MS decides.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: obligatory question....

      No it will not. And 99.9999999999999999% of the worlds population have enough of a life not to care.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: obligatory question....

        "And 99.9999999999999999% of the worlds population have enough of a life not to care....."

        That's probably what the telcos who sold (and still advertise) subsidised-up-front contract mobile phones thought about the market for dodgy unlocking too. How's it working out for them?

        In fact this reads like the same kind of approach; as others have noted, MS will sell the hardware subsidised up front and hope to make money over the months to come by selling overpriced contracts (or in this case overpriced apps in the MS App Store). And MS have done their very best (cryptographic boot, etc) to make sure that the equivalent of 'unlocking' is going to be difficult (at least on the ARM version for a while).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: obligatory question....

          Ummm, riiiggghhht, yeahhhh........ Are you confusing unlocking a mobile phone from a particular network with unlocking a device so you can install different software? Because they are very different things......An easy mistake to make if you are still at primary school I guess.

          The equivalent in the mobile world would be people loading Android or WinPhone on to their iPhone. And I do not see that happening. And once again, I reiterate my point that 99.9999999999999999% of the worlds population have enough of a life not to want to do it in the first place...

          1. Richard 81

            Re: obligatory question....

            "99.9999999999999999% of the worlds population have enough of a life not to want to do it in the first place"

            So only 0.000000007 people then?

            I care, and I'm at least one person. :P

          2. JEDIDIAH
            Linux

            Re: obligatory question....

            "Nobody wants to do it" yet there is such a vibrant modding scene even for Apple products.

            You are preaching an obvious contradiction here. Reality does not agree with your rhetoric.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    $199? Too expensive.

    It'll end up costing $99 like the HP TouchPad.

    1. Richard 81
      Thumb Down

      If it does...

      I might actually buy one.

      Otherwise...

  13. Arthur 1

    Original XBox Anyone?

    The author's argument seemed sound to me at first, MS can't launch at $199 without losing a pile of money on hardware. Until I realized that actually they're probably happy to do just that.

    Think back to the original XBox, MS is entering a market they've never really played in before, huge barriers to entry, household name giant type incumbents, and a market that's about to go from huge to ginormous. What do they do? Lose a pile of money on the first generation in order to gain market share and penetration. As a bonus, because it's a locked-in hardware device they got a lot of money back on games. By a certain point in the XBox 360's lifecycle they had even began to turn a profit on the hardware aspects of their operation.

    Here we are again, big market that's still blowing up, dominant incumbents, locked hardware. Why wouldn't they recycle exactly what they did last time? What's not to like about how it turned out?

    1. Arthur 1

      Re: Original XBox Anyone?

      Worth adding that $199 is a psychologically important number and the price point of Nexus 7 as well as the book store monsters. Makes a lot of sense to target that number.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Original XBox Anyone?

        "..makes a lot of sense to target that number."

        Especially as a rumour, that turns out to be wrong. That will make a few people wait, rather than going with a Nexus or iPad now.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Original XBox Anyone?

          I doubt anyone will wait based on this rumour, because no-one with any sense will believe it. This price? Not a chance. Maaaayyybeeeee as part of a package - get it for this price when you buy Visual Studio Premium or something. But on its own, this price? No.

        2. N13L5
          Pint

          Re: ..makes a lot of sense to target that number.

          "Especially as a rumour, that turns out to be wrong. That will make a few people wait, rather than going with a Nexus or iPad now."

          I'm already not buying a Nexus, even though I wanted to. But Google chose to save $0.89 omitting a micro SD card slot, so its useless to me.

          And if Google's Nexus had the SD card slot, I would not wait for M$ tablet, no matter the $199 price, cause of apps.

          Some people here misconstrue that the total number of apps in an app store doesn't matter, cause most of it is junk. This may be true, but doesn't actually support the point they're usually trying to make with that, because the ratio of the total number of apps available and those specifically useful to you is pretty much constant.

          So if there's 100.000 apps total and you're happy with the 50 you downloaded out of that, and those 50 apps do everything you want, thats no reason to assume that you'd find those 50 in a market featuring only 1.000 apps.

          Even with a 10x improvement of the useful-to-your-needs ratio, you'd still only have 5 apps that do precisely what you need. For the other 45, you'd have to bring your laptop ...err Ultrabook :P

      2. jason 7

        Re: Original XBox Anyone?

        As I've mentioned elsewhere, the possible original price for Surface was probably higher but the Nexus 7 could well have made them knock it lower, much lower.

        The Nexus has been a very large brick thrown in the pond.

        It has to sell for a good margin below the iPad or...you'd just buy an iPad (well I wouldn't but Joe User would).

        If they sell at $199 then it will sell like crazy and create a viable ecosystem that will garner them revenue from apps sales. This OS isn't a one shot deal for MS, there is revenue from the life of the device this time.

        Personally I would think $299 is a more realistic price. If it's $400+ then it's dead in the water and guaranteed a place in every "Failed Tech" article for years to come.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Original XBox Anyone?

          "Personally I would think $299 is a more realistic price. If it's $400+ then it's dead in the water and guaranteed a place in every "Failed Tech" article for years to come."

          It's more feature capable than an iPad and they sell for that amount of money, so I'm expecting it to come out for around that. I find it hard to believe that anyone here is taking this rumour seriously. If there's anything to it at all, then the price is as part of some package deal of some sort. More likely, this is either just random rumour that has spread amongst the gullible or a malicious marketing trick by an MS rival trying to raise expectations so they can be brought down.

          Seriously, there is no way at all that something feature comparable with the iPad is being sold for $199. At all.

          1. jason 7
            Facepalm

            Re: Original XBox Anyone?

            The trouble is even though it may be more feature packed, you sit a Surface Tablet Next to a iPad3 in John Lewis and they are more or less the same price...

            ...which one will Joe Public most likely buy?

            I doubt it will be the MS one. Chances are nine times out of ten they will walk away with the iPad. And at this point in time, rightly so really.

            Now you price it say £100+ less than the iPad and you might get a few more sales.

            If it doesn't shift units you may as well not bother. The only thing that dents the iPads hold is when an item goes for considerably less but with similar quality.

            1. Mark .

              Re: Original XBox Anyone?

              The only reason the Ipad sells is because right now if you go into John Lewis, you see an Ipad *alongside nothing else*. Same with every other shop which has Ipads on for sale, but it's hard to see an Android tablet in the flesh - mostly just cheap crap ones from unknown brands in Maplin (who are still up Apple's arse with their only offering an "Iphone" app for their website - sorry, like most people, I don't have an Iphone).

              Time and time again, Apple lose when they compete on the same level. Mac OS versus Windows; Iphone versus Symbian and now Android. Take away the unfair shop advantage (and maybe some of the media bias), and let's see how well they do on Ipads then.

        2. Mark .

          Re: Original XBox Anyone?

          "It has to sell for a good margin below the iPad or...you'd just buy an iPad (well I wouldn't but Joe User would)."

          Apple has only benefit from vast amounts of media hype (free advertising) and support in the shops, which Android gets little of. Since MS can get hype and shop support too, there's no reason why it has to be a lower price.

          I might as well say Apple need to price below MS, otherwise most people will just buy MS - after all, that's what happens on the desktop.

          Also remember that the Surface is just one Windows 8 device. It doesn't matter if it's more expensive, sells less, or whatever, as long as Windows 8 as a whole sells well. Indeed, the Surface may well be a premium device, intended to be a high end that sets a standard, leaving other PC manufacturers to sell cheaper Ipad-like products that, like the Ipad, aren't as good, but might sell more due to the cost.

          "If it's $400+ then it's dead in the water and guaranteed a place in every "Failed Tech" article for years to come."

          The problem is that "Failed Tech" media articles often have little to do with actual success. The media will declare it a flop based on what they want, not on what actually happens When Apple get 5% in a market, it's an amazing success (e.g, the Iphone), when MS get 10%, it's a flop (e.g., the Zune). Or for Apple, the media just invent a new market category to say Apple are number one (e.g., tablets but not including smartphones - which are tablets by any reasonable definition; or indeed "smartphone", which is defined to compare all of Apple's sales to only a fraction of Samsung's and Nokia's, even though the original Iphone wasn't even a feature phone, since it couldn't run apps).

          $600 is £400, in line with other high end IOS and Android 10" tablets. So that price is fine, albeit nothing special. $400 would be a success - that's under £300. At $300 - well if it's not a hit at that price, it'll be due to other problems (e.g., media bias, or lack of support in the shops, or unfair bias in software support, as happens for Symbian and Android for phones, since so many companies only support the less popular Iphone).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Original XBox Anyone?

      Right. Except, for every other manufacturer other than the one making the Surface, selling a Win8 tablet will be nothing more than an exercise in futility. Tablets in the 10" area are having problems enough competing with the iPad's price. imagine competing with their new 'frenemy' on a price point they couldn't possible match.

      People complain about PC manufacturers not having any design sense, but with margins as low as that, there's simply not enough room to go the extra mile.

      Should this rumour be true (I doubt it though), it is an admission of Microsoft that they will be the ONLY hardware supplier of Win8 tablets, because basically everyone else can't compete.

      On a personal note, I hope they come out with a 7" RT version with pen and ink so I can use OneNote. That is one of the best bits of bytes Microsoft have ever done, and the idea of being connected to all my notebooks on a SFF device for less than £150 seems like a godsend. Well, meatheadsend, we're still talking about Ballmer of course (at least for another year; if 8 flops he'll finally get pushed out)

    3. fung0

      Re: Original XBox Anyone?

      Arthur 1 said: "What's not to like about how it turned out?"

      How about... everything? By lowballing the Xbox(es), Microsoft dragged down the entire market, while never making it into the black themselves. What's more, by shifting its emphasis from Windows games, Microsoft validated closed, proprietary, under-powered junkheap consoles, and led to a 'lost decade' or two as far as the evolution of gaming. Lose, Lose, Lose. For everyone.

      There's a reason for anti-trust laws, and this is it. Allowing Microsoft to take its ill-gotten billions from Windows and Office and squander them in order to dominate a market it doesn't understand.

  14. Spazturtle Silver badge
    FAIL

    Shame it can't run windows programes.

    Nor does it have many apps for it, Windows RT could be a spectacular failure at this rate, its going to be fun to watch no mater what.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anything that isn't using x86 assembler can be ported across by recompiling. The same will largely be true of Windows Phone 8. All three versions of the OS will be running the same kernel.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Wrong. Anything using "the UI/API formerly known as Metro" should just run. Anything using the Windows API won't. Except heavyweight desktop class apps will likely struggle on rt class hardware and you'll end up only using lightweight versions!

      2. N13L5

        Re: Anything that isn't using x86 assembler can be ported across by recompiling

        I guess that means the following:

        The BAD:

        If its one of my windows programs, I get to pay for it again to run it on RT.

        (if they decide its worth bothering to do so)

        The (possibly) GOOD:

        If its a Foss program with open source, I can recompile it myself an run it.

        (provided M$ doesn't do something stinky to foil side-loading of software)

        Still too much of a gamble to pay any more than $199...

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Anything that isn't using x86 assembler can be ported across by recompiling

          > If its one of my windows programs, I get to pay for it again to run it on RT.

          I think that you are entirely too optimistic. Your 'windows programs' will be using the Win32 API. This is not available in Windows RT (except to MS Office apparently) so it not 'just a recompile' it is a rewrite.

          > If its a Foss program with open source, I can recompile it myself an run it.

          Where will you get the compiler ?

          > (provided M$ doesn't do something stinky to foil side-loading of software)

          They have already said that software must go through the appstore, which requires that it be approved. There was some indication that corporate licences may allow sideloading but no details.

          > Still too much of a gamble to pay any more than $199...

          The latest is that the $199 price is for a 2 year contract with a monthly charge. ie similar to a phone contract.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .....and you can on the other devices? It won't run Xbox games either!

      Windows RT is a consumer device. Targeted to compete with the other players in that field. Oh and it'll have a version of office. Unlike the others. An iPad doesn't have the power or functionality of a macbook does it?

      The x86 version will allow "windows programs" to run. Two different target demographics.

      Th battle will be interesting none the less

  15. Furbian
    Go

    No fan of Windows 8 etc. but...

    A loss leader might be the only way to get a foothold in the market. Look at the Xbox 360, a grossly unreliable poorly made console rushed out to get a lead on the Sony PS3, they then spent billions fixing those that died (own experience, over 5 years still on first PS3, Xbox 360 is number 5 (6?)).

    But it worked, you can get away with selling an unreliable consumer product, if you time and price it right, etc. Xbox live provides a steady income, that Sony have failed to match, though being first on the block is not necessarily the reason for why Sony's PSN doesn't make it as much (if any) money as Xbox live does.

    If the hardware is reliable, I doubt one could mess up designing a tablet (hostility to Windows 8 UI not withstanding) in this day and age, then why not make a loss on the first iteration, and then price the second revision to make money, having got a foot (toe?) hold in the market?

    Besides M$ have a huge amount of money to burn, selling these at a loss might still be cheaper than what they overpaid for Skype, and make more economic sense for example.

    PC manufacturers, they won't be happy, and will be thoroughly shafted in the process, not sure that will help M$ in the long term.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No fan of Windows 8 etc. but...

      Still have the 360 I bought on launch day, going strong with no failures.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: No fan of Windows 8 etc. but...

        "Still have the 360 I bought on launch day..."

        BNIB.

  16. DougS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    If they do this

    the OEMs that they announced yesterday who will be doing Surface RT tablets will cancel them before they reach the market. Windows 8 costs them $85 to license, they would have to charge $100 more than Microsoft or sell at a huge loss to match the price of Surface. They would choose option C, let Microsoft sink or swim on their own.

    I think this is a false rumor, but I kind of hope it is true just to see the Microsoft fanboys excuses when all the OEMs desert Surface. I can just hear them now "Surface was so good the OEMs couldn't improve upon it in any way"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they do this

      'Windows 8 costs them $85 per license'. Have you not yet done that class at school where they teach you not to believe everything you read on the internet? Look at the upgrade prices for full fat Win8. Do you seriously believe MS intends to charge multiples of the amount to OEMs for WinRT? God, some people….

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: If they do this

        > Do you seriously believe MS intends to charge multiples of the amount to OEMs for WinRT?

        > Look at the upgrade prices for full fat Win8.

        Yes, MS does have an _UPGRADE_ price for Windows 8 (x86) for those that already have paid for Windows 7.

        The Windows RT OEM price allegedly of $80-90 is for an OEM install (not an upgrade) and includes Office RT.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: If they do this

        as you point out and then forget the price you are thinking of is for an UPGRADE.

        Windows 7 home premium is around £70 in the UK as a one off so I can easily see windows 8 being a good 30% the cost of the device.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge
          Facepalm

          Re: If they do this

          "Windows 7 home premium is around £70 in the UK as a one off...."

          So about a tenner in bulk OEM licensing would be pretty much on the money then? Hint: have a look at the price difference in ordering one of anything retail vs. what you can get a few thousand of 'em for at trade.

          I reckon my pears are closer to their pears than your apples[1] are.

          In this case, if they're seriously considering subsidising their own product to this extent in order to drum up interest, I have to suspect that they'll be either giving it away or even offering incentives to OEM licensees.

          [1] Fair use, prior art, all rights acknowledged, bulletproof underpants, etc...........

          1. Al Jones

            Re: If they do this

            So the "conventional wisdom" (for some really twisted version of wisdom" is that Microsoft is prepared to massively subsidize it's own hardware, because it'll eventually get that income back from sales through the appstore.

            But you think they won't provide free copies of Win8 to OEM vendors, all of whose customers will also be buying apps from the same MS-Appstore?

            Cop yourselves on, people - if Microsoft can afford to subsidize hardware, they can afford to PAY OEMs to install WinRT on tablets. It will cost them less than subsidizing their own hardware, but they'll still get the upstream app income.

            1. Mikel

              Re: If they do this

              They can't pay OEMs enough to turn a profit on WinRT. The returns are going to be huge, as people see the flag logo and buy it thinking it can run Quickbooks and their pirated Photoshop.

      3. Chet Mannly

        Re: If they do this

        "Have you not yet done that class at school where they teach you not to believe everything you read on the internet?"

        Actually that was his point - the $199 figure in this rumor is just as credible as the $85 figure as both are just rumors at this point.

        More likely MS will discount RT if they do release at $199 to stop undercutting partners.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Windows 8 costs them $85 to license"

      Citation needed. Compare+contrast with x86 Windows, where the overall Windows cost to a big desktop/laptop manufacturer is significant but somewhat unrelated to the advertised licence costs, due to co-op marketing funds and other similar significant kickbacks (sorry, "incentives") which can be withdrawn if the manufacturer displeases Redmond.

      1. Nya

        Re: "Windows 8 costs them $85 to license"

        While there are no prices on RT, I wouldn't put it past the same as what MS did for XP for netbooks with it selling to the large OEM's for $7 a license (again guess work). Your $85 is based on old school full copy of OS license pricing which these days MS seems to be shifting from. The sub $15 price is where it needs to be though, as that's what MS is charging folks for using Android, so if Win8RT is cheaper than Android, it has a better chance of selling it.

        As for the Surface...as much as I loathe Win8 in a desktop or laptop, if that price is true for everyone to get our hands on it there's no question I'll get one also. Loss leader maybe, but the big profit maker and enterprise seller will be the full tablets which won't be anywhere near this price. And odd how MS isn't looking at selling one of those itself is it? Seems MS is going to leave the full blown tablet in the hands of the OEM's...for now anyhow.

        1. fung0

          Re: "Windows 8 costs them $85 to license"

          Nya: "...if that price is true for everyone to get our hands on it there's no question I'll get one also."

          You are too cheaply bought. Windows 8 is a serious blow to the future of computing. And while I am confident that it will die, it would be better for everyone (even Microsoft) if it died quickly.

    3. Mark .

      Re: If they do this

      I don't think it's true either, but I can see them looking at the (lack of) achievements those OEMs have had with Android so far, then looked at the amazing success already of the Nexus, and deciding that they should do what Google are doing up front.

      Do you think Google will be hurt with their low cost Nexus? And your second paragraph makes no sense - are Android fans having to defend the Nexus in the same way?

  17. Killraven

    Possibilities

    As much as I hate Metro on a desktop computer, it's no wonkier than any other OS on a tablet, and at that price and screen size (screen being the deciding factor over the competition), I'm sorely tempted to get one just as a .pdf viewer and video player. Final determination would be based on the amount of internal storage and external options (USB vs SD card slots).

  18. Uwe Dippel
    Linux

    Plastic-Fantastic!

    Let me be the most arduous anti-MS guy on this planet, and I'd buy one only and if it is 199.

    Firstly, I hit MS in the buttocks. Secondly, I am sure that 'the world' will find a useful way to run useful software on it. Yep, I know the hardware lock-in. But do not underestimate the potential challenge, even if it is a warranty-defying hardware mod, if you can get a 10" fondleslab for 199, with keyboard, trackpad, and stuff.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      assumptions

      1. You assume Microsoft makes a loss with the devices. That's very uncertain as it's certainly possible to build a tablet for $199.

      2. You are not taking into account that Microsoft wants market share, and they count every device produced or sold as market share. So essentially you are helping them.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: assumptions

        Given the prices of ALL OTHER tablets on the market, it is pretty obvious that Microsoft will be engaging in some very egregious dumping here.

        You're clearly ignoring some important details here.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You do that!!

    Happy for you to give us money and then for you to ruin the device and kill your warranty. After all, it still shows up as a unit shipment :-)

  20. Wibble
    Gimp

    PR FUD ALERT *** PR FUD ALERT *** PR FUD ALERT

    Press release... Microsoft have developed a magic fondle slab that their buffing have grown from a single pubic hair plucked from Ballmer's backside.

    Quality costs money, yer cannae change the laws of physics captain!

    One definitely cannot change the laws of economics; if Microsoft are really thinking about subsidising their demo slab, it'll cost them their company.

    Tosh.

    1. Wibble

      Re: PR FUD ALERT *** PR FUD ALERT *** PR FUD ALERT

      s / buffing / boffins / g

      Bloody iPad spel chekker

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Traditional FUD announcement?

    Sounds like an old-school "official rumour" that is intended to dissuade people from buying competitors' products that are in the market *now*, and instead to wait for a "miracle" product... one that no-one can actually evaluate.

    That kicks the debate firmly into the zone labelled "faith" where anyone can proclaim anything (I just love those trolls that, whenever a non-Windows product is reviewed, post comments along the lines of "if only it ran Windows RT", "Windows RT will blow it into the weeds", etc. ... it's all academic right now, guys... get your contender into the ring and THEN lets start the boxing match).

  22. b166er

    Wibble, sorry, but buuull-shit

    I can buy a smartphone equivalent to the HTC Desire (which cost £500 when it shipped), for £50 PAYG today, right now, on planet Earth.

    These devices were once the preserve of high-end long contract or deep pocket customers, but now the smartphone has been democratized. I expect the tablet to follow suit.

    1. Wibble
      Gimp

      A full-sized slab is a lot more expensive to manufacture than a phone-sized device.

      £50 sounds way way way way way way way too cheap; you couldn't even buy the components for that price (less VAT, retailer's profit, shipping costs....)

      The benchmark is the iPad. Skimp on components and you're down in the low-quality end of the market, with all the crap Android fondle-slabs. Microsoft want to produce a "quality experience", that means it needs to be *better* than the iPad. That costs money -- exactly the point the author has made.

      So unless Microsoft are going to subsidise each surface slab to the tune of £300 each -- which is unsustainable -- the basis of this 'rumour' is just PR FUD, or some fanboi who doesn't understand economics.

      1. Chet Mannly

        "£50 sounds way way way way way way way too cheap; you couldn't even buy the components"

        Agreed, but if Google can sell the Nexus 7 for $199 for a small profit, and this only adds a bigger screen/battery, then $250 wouldn't be a crazy price, and a $50 loss per slab would be sustainable - they dropped a lot more than that on the first xbox.

        "it needs to be *better* than the iPad. That costs money"

        You're forgetting Apple's massive margins, which are up to 40% on some ipad models. So Apple could cut 30% off the wholesale price and deliver exactly the same product with a decent profit margin. MS can go cheaper just by choosing to break even on the device.

        Hardware-wise the only thing distinctive about an ipad is the retina screen, the rest is software/ecosystem which you may or may not be a fan of.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this Meyro bashing......

    All this bashing of the Metro UI, have any of you actually used it with a tablet? OK, valid on a desktop, but on a tablet it's pretty bloody good! Please don't tell me iOS is intuitive or looks good. Its a mess and has no real organisation (yes I have an iPhone). And at $199, even $299.....I'm in!

    FAQ

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All this Meyro bashing......

      Exactly right, too many people are just all too willing to let reviews decide things for them. All reviews so far have been done by people who loaded it onto a desktop machine when the GUI is really designed for touch.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: All this Meyro bashing......

      "valid on a desktop, but on a tablet it's pretty bloody good!"

      Yeah, I've been holding off criticism of 8/Metro/Modern UI until I've tried it on a tablet.

      Think I'll be sticking with Win7 on the desktop though.

      1. N13L5

        Re: Think I'll be sticking with Win7 on the desktop though.

        How long do you think it will be before there's a nice little app automating the process of getting the regular Win7 desktop back on win 8...?

        As for holding off criticism on metro:

        Its not so much metro, its Microsoft's way of doing business. WinCE platform: didn't spend a dime on fixing widely complained about issues for a decade. WindPhone7 platform: aborted after a year and a half.

        Windows RT... looks a lot like the IOS relation to OSX, but with possibly better ability to transfer existing windows software to RT with a simple recompile as some people claim (we'll see about that)...

        The overall MO is that M$ is trying for their HOLY GRAIL of toll-booths everywhere - by trying to become more like Apple, even though they've long been doing business only to suit themselves. Customer benefit ranks somewhere below 10th place, its all about jokeying for position.

        Last I remember Customer Benefit holding top priority with Microsoft was when they designed Excel in order to kill Lotus 123. Cause it was the only way to do it.

  24. John B Stone
    Thumb Up

    $199 when you buy a subscription to Office 365 more likely

    Bundling it at that price when you take out a premium Office 365 subscription makes a lot of commercial sense.

    Subscription model - check

    Protects Office revenue stream - check

    Protects OS revenue stream - check

    Feeds off existing strengths - check

    Strengthens cloud offerings - check

    BYOD - check

    Tablet footprint- check

    Realigns Enterprise and Consumer platforms - check

    Yup, seems likely.

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: $199 when you buy a subscription to Office 365 more likely

      You could be on the money there.

      Office will be the big selling point on slates, just as it is on Windows/OSX.

      I'd happily pay more for a slate that let me do real work as well (even if it was only a subset of features). It'd work especially well with the cloud push

  25. Dana W
    Happy

    Yes!

    That would be great! That heavily subsidized they will lose a fortune!

  26. Keith 72
    Thumb Up

    If you can do remote desktop and it has a mouse...

    ... then sign me up!

  27. johnnymotel

    Other OEMs were more sanguine about the Surface launch, with Fujitsu CTO Joseph Reger telling El Reg, "Two things can happen. It's successful, and grabs market share and the market is growing. If it's not successful, that brings clarity. Then we know the tablet space is a fight between Android and iOS."

    This could be an expensive bit of clarity then?

  28. Big_Ted

    Just remember people

    We are talking MS here, as has been said they threw away billions to get into the console market.

    They have also just spent $8.5 billion on skype.

    I can see this as very possible with MS rolling out the Surface like they will Windows 8 as a time limited offer, ie $199 till say January then stop supplying it so as to get big sales over the Xmas period, massive PR hit and loads of IT departments buying several to try out.

    MS want to get Win8 into the enterprise area on all devices, ie phone, tablet, laptop and desktop at some point and even though they know it won't happen for a few years long term its where they make the big bucks and a tablet at that price point will work for them.

    On top of that it will be an easy way to see what version your getting, ultrabook priced kit will do anything a desktop can, low price kit is limited in certain areas. If this happens at this price it will also be a great way for them to pull in developers plus getting companies to port their apps/software to an Arm version.

    I had no intention of buying a surface due to the price I expected them to come in at, however for this price I would be at the front of the que, it would sit alongside my Nexus 7 very nicely.

  29. fLaMePrOoF
    FAIL

    "Then we know the tablet space is a fight between Android and iOS"

    Didn't we already learn this from the TouchPad and PlayBook???

    1. GettinSadda

      "Then we know the tablet space is a fight between Android and iOS"

      Didn't we already learn this from the TouchPad and PlayBook???

      Well, to break that two-player market into three you would need a pretty big hammer. $199 sounds like a big hammer.

      I have been waiting for September to decide whether to go for a Nexus 7 or an iPad mini, I never thought I would have any interest in a Surface. That changed this morning.

      1. N13L5

        Re: to break that two-player market into three you would need a pretty big hammer.

        "$199 sounds like a big hammer."

        Yep, it might be correctly sized to do the job.

        And M$ can't let things pass the way they stand, or they are officially resigning themselves to riding into the future on only one of three rails, if they forfeit phones and tablets.

        They are better off throwing out billions now, while they still have the money to spend, instead of mourning their irreversible decline a few years down the line.

  30. Tony Paulazzo

    Whilst I love the idea of picking one of these up for £156 ish, there are a couple of stumbling blocks, Ballmer himself said they might only sell a few million of these due to their restricted market place, what is it, online and a couple of retail presences in America? So they come out with a $200 tab, every other manufacturer tries to sell theirs at $450. No one would buy one, even if they couldn't get hold of a MS one - and I just can't see MS subsidising all their OEM friends (cause Acer would have kept their mouth shut).

    The Xbox was different because they were the only manufacturer.

    The cheapest version of (legal) MS Office 2010 I could find (like really quickly) was £84.99, and Windows 7 at £109.95 (and yea, I know you can get an upgrade cost for Win8 that looks good), but that's your $200 in software alone. Short of MS giving away that magic metal slab fondler for free... Oh, and one last thing, if they had a $200 price point wouldn't they be shouting it from the rooftops this particular brushfire rumour seems to have come from an 'unknown source' who's probably laughing his arse off now.

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Sir...

      May I remind you that for MS the cost of the software once produced is "0" and that they have other business units to subsidize the production costs of such software?

      Seems quite obvious to me that taking the price of the software as a factor in the final "cost" of the device for Microsoft is a bit naive.

      What they price such software to consumers is an entire different matter.

  31. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It may well come out at $199 but its Microsoft hardware so i doubt it will last much past the new year if you buy one at Christmas before you have to return it for overheating or some other problem because they have rushed it into production because they were late to the Market.

    OEM's will just use Windows RT devices like they currently do with Windows phones, yeah sure they produce them but they are just there hidden away on their website with all the other products pushed to the front.

  32. James Chaldecott
    FAIL

    Touch Cover & Stylus included - I don't think so

    "What's more, Surface will ship with a cover that includes a built-in keyboard and trackpad, plus a stylus for ink input, both of which will drive up manufacturing costs even further."

    Errr... no

    I quite fancy a Surface, actually, but AFAICT they've not announced how the Touch/Type Covers will be available (remember also that there are two versions of the cover, plus different colours) and the stylus digitizer was only mentioned when they were talking about the x86 Surface Pro (not the ARM Surface RT).

    I'm going getting one but I'm undecided between RT & Pro at this point. Pricing wil probably clinch it, as it will be either a Surface RT slab & a new laptop, or just a Surface Pro fro me. Of course there's other OEM's tablets/convertible's to check out, too...

  33. B4PJS
    FAIL

    Incorrect Statement in article

    IIRC, only the Surface Pro will have the stylus. Not the Surface RT.

    Just found this: http://www.microsoft.com/global/surface/en/us/renderingassets/surfacespecsheet.pdf

    States that only the Pro will have a pen with palm block.

  34. Snow Hill Island

    Do these things have a built in 3G or 4G connection?

    If so, then $199 might make sense when bought with an expensive data contract...? (Not that I'll be buying one though...)

  35. Locky Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Business

    This is going to be aimed for a business cash cow, and they are going to give it away for home users to get the critical mass, just like they did with Windows 95 to create the NT4 drive.

    Full Office will cost an arm and a leg, but if the device half the price and more importantly weight of a laptop, and fits in an org's AD seamlessly, every road user and director in the Western world is going to demand one.

    Welcome to the revolution comrades, there are no new marketing strategies, you just polish off the old ones and give it a new name.

    1. Al Jones

      Re: Business

      Microsoft has made it clear that the RT version of the machine WON'T have the ability to authenticate to a domain.

      It seems utterly crazy to me too, but then I don't get to make multi-billion dollar decisions for a living, so what do i know?

  36. George 24

    hope they do

    Because if MS can manage to release the device at that price it will bring the price of every other device down.

    It would also show how Apple has been overpricing their devices. Of course there will be the law suits because bundling hardware and OS will deemed unfair. The lawyers are already spending their Christmas bonuses....

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfair competition?

    Isn't there an unfair competition law about selling things at a loss to drive competitors out of the market?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Unfair competition?

      If they were shipping a "me too" Android or iOS device and competing purely on price in a fragmented market of small players, yes.

      As it's an entirely new thing looking to build market share from scratch in an established market pretty much owned in toto by two existing goliaths, it's a loss-leader.

  38. Ocular Sinister

    Classic Microsoft tactic

    This is classic Microsoft - massively undercut the competition with a large loss leader. They could only do this if they made the hardware themselves as they have plenty of cash to burn. Plus they don't have to pay the OS licenses. They are going to piss off the OEMs, but frankly, I don't think they care - they are going for an XBox here and if they are the sole manufacturer I doubt they would loose any sleep.

    The question now is - can Google and their OEMs cut the prices to compete with this? I doubt this will affect the Apple ecosystem much, so there will be little if any changes there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Classic Microsoft tactic

      Do you shop at Tesco, Asda or Sainsburys? If so, you don't get to object to MS selling things for less than they cost and knackering up a market because of it.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    waiting

    arm/rt devices will be a waste of time/cash etc,we already have plenty of gaming devices.

    will wait for intel/surface kit in 2013,will expect to pay at least £500-£600 for it,but will expect it to run real software and not gutted app versions like arm/rt devices.

    fingers crossed someone can hack intel/surface device to run win 7 instead of 8.

    if not,then its a new laptap or ultrabook for me instead.

    law of diminishing returns would tend to make one suspect that build quality etc is going to be a problem with arm/rt devices.

    may even wait and see if intel etc reckon to make x86 atrix type device with 6inch phablet doing all main work,possibly with extra cores in dock.

    yes,these could be interesting times,but only if they actualy make what i want,not what they think i should buy.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While the price might actually be a pipedream...

    This is one of the first times in recent years MS is showing they might "get" where the desktop market is going.

    Intel and their ultrabook's are the exact opposite of what the majority of the market needs or is willing to pay for.

    A cheap, usable tablet with the potential to sell software subscriptions to everyone's favourite office suite, and a decent subscription security product covering AV/malware/OS patching(or at least the one that allows you to do everything and have documents appear as intended) could provide them with a path into homes without Intel desktops.

    If MS can maintain a decent market share in homes, then servers and businesses are less likely to switch away from their existing MS stacks.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A $200 Windows tablet?

    Sounds too good to be true. So more than likely is.

  42. Matt_payne666

    £199 would be a price Id buy one for... Ive a Chinese tablet at the mo - 9.7" ips, 5points capacitive display, aluminium case, 16gb storage and that cost £150 retail.... its more than possible to build a better machine and sell it at not much of a loss (if any) including a volume licence...

    sub £200 is a good point, almost disposable income and most importantly its a fraction of an ipad...

  43. jason 7

    'Rumours' like this are an easy way......

    ....for a corporation to gauge the launch price.

    You throw out some prices and see how the hordes react to them.

    Seems that at $199 success is guaranteed and people will bite.

    The thing with tablets is that I don't see them as such a long term investment as say a laptop. If I buy a laptop I expect to get 4 years of use out of it before I think about buying or upgrading to a new one.

    However, with a tablet and how fast that tech is moving I wouldn't expect to run it for 4 years. I'd be looking at every two years tops so a significantly lower price is needed for me to do that. I wouldn't invest the same as I would on a laptop.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doubtful

    At $199 it would be a loss leader. However, existing tablet and phone app stores have already established a low price point for apps - so you'd have to sell an awful lot of apps per tablet to recoup the loss.

  45. RonWheeler

    Maybe

    If it runs Chrome (with Flash) and has decent movie playback capability, I'll be interested. Have been tempted by cheap replacemnt for my 4 year old netbook as a travel device, and this might fit the bill. Was cosidering Nexus 7 but keyboard is a big bonus for me as I hate touchscreens, so on a price parity I could swallow Metro..

  46. Robert Sneddon

    This isn't the RT tablet you were looking for?

    Wild speculation, but could MS be planning on releasing a 7" RT tablet to match the Google Nexus 7 in terms of form factor and pricetag? The RT tablet they showed off to the public a few months ago was iPad-sized with a 10" screen but the parts and production lines are available for a smaller device as the Android market shows. Assuming ARM RT is not resolution-dependent then developing a smaller low-cost tablet to support it shouldn't be that difficult.

  47. uhuznaa

    It has no apps

    The ARM version can't run "normal" Windows apps and there are no ARM apps yet. At all.

    MS would never be able to sell enough of them at higher prices. Selling the things dirt cheap is the only chance they've got. People WILL buy a 11" tablet for $199 even if it has just five apps or so initially. It's not only a good idea, it's the only way to make that thing fly.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: It has no apps

      "The ARM version can't run "normal" Windows apps and there are no ARM apps yet. At all."

      I don't think "At all" means what you think it means. It ships a version of something you might have heard of called MS Office.

      Also a browser.

      Email client.

      Integrated apps for Social Networking

      Video playing

      Music listening

      That's off the top of my head. And then there are other things like a finance app, news apps, travel apps... these were already done in the Windows 8 release preview and as they are pure Metro apps then they work on an RT PC.

      And I don't doubt that there will be a lot more coming.

      1. John Sanders
        Windows

        Re: It has no apps

        And Office on a tablet is such a killer app because?

        Last time I checked people use fondeslabs for consumption not production and I have not found any single Office document that you can not read on an iPad or Android tablet.

        Any tablet plays music or videos and has email clients...

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: It has no apps

          "And Office on a tablet is such a killer app because?"

          You may notice that the Surface has a keyboard attached to it.

          1. John Sanders
            Windows

            Re: It has no apps

            So do laptops, and come with no restrictions compared to the Win ARM tablet

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It has no apps

            You may notice that the Surface has a keyboard attached to it.

            Yes, it's a tablet that needs a keyboard.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It has no apps

          Well, they use them for production too, but perhaps to produce music and graphics rather than office documents. So maybe it's more accurate to say, tablets are for leisure and lap/desktops are for work (yeah, I know there are exceptions)

          Microsoft is attempting a tablet version of the mullet hairdo (business in the front, party in the back). Let's hope the results are less regrettable

        3. Chet Mannly

          Re: It has no apps

          "And Office on a tablet is such a killer app because?

          Last time I checked people use fondeslabs for consumption not production"

          Ever think tablets are used for consumption *because* there's no Office, which is the format of 90%+ of general business documents?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It has no apps

        I thought Windows 8 RT didn't have Media Player

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the other hand...

    It runs Windows. So that's that.

    1. John Sanders
      Windows

      Re: On the other hand...

      That means it can run Windows apps, that is a big thing.

      However the RT version does not run windows apps, and I'm not sure the proper Windows version will be available for $199

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: On the other hand...

        "I'm not sure the proper Windows version will be available for $199"

        It won't - MS said it would be ultrabook priced.

        They also said RT was going to be competitive with competitor tablets.

        Up until now everyone was assuming MS was referring to the ipad - if there is any truth to this rumor maybe the Nexus was the competitor MS was referring to...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, that's what they did for the Touchpad

    perhaps someone can port Jelly Bean to Surface...

  50. John Sanders
    Devil

    Incredibly risky gamble, alienating some of its most important OEM partners

    What incredible risky gamble? The only ones at risk are the OEMs not Micro~01

    Micro~01 can get away with murdering all of their OEM partners one and it will not change the fact that the world depends on the applications that run on top of Windows.

    All of their OEM partners depend so much on Micro~01 that it is not even funny, this doesn't happen on any other industry.

  51. Big_Ted

    Something many are forgeting

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-21539_7-57446665-10391702/microsofts-smartglass-spotlights-entertainment-push/

    "Microsoft has unveiled an application called SmartGlass that lets users beam content from their mobile devices to the Xbox 360.

    According to Microsoft, the new SmartGlass will work on Windows, Windows Phone, and the Xbox 360. In addition, it will support Android and iOS. The feature allows users to enjoy entertainment on a single product, and then send that over to their Xbox to pick up where they left off.

    To add more value, tablets and smartphones will act as a companion, allowing users to see more information about the program being watched on their Xbox, thus creating a "multiscreen" experience.

    Microsoft envisions game developers using SmartGlass to allow players to make decisions on a mobile device that then communicates with the Xbox. In Madden NFL 13, for example, it allows users to modify play calls from the mobile device.

    Microsoft will launch its SmartGlass platform this fall."

    The ability to be the controller for xbox games etc with only the windows 8 version possible and they have a ready market of xbox owners who would look at it very positivly if the price is right.

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: Something many are forgeting

      They could even be thinking to make this their answer to the WiiU controller - touch screen, secondary display etc. They could even be thinking of making it a PSP-style device, so you save your game on the Xbox, and continue playing on your RT tablet.

      That way more xbox sales = more tablets and vice versa, plus you get the xbox live tie ins to the tablet.

      Throw in a link up with Media Centre, so the device automatically has versions of what the PVR recorded the night before, and suddenly people with windows PC's at home are buying MS tablets instead of ipads.

      It would see Apple trying to break into the lounge room via the ipad, while MS would be trying to break into the tablet market from the loungeroom, and with a decent office app the business world as well.

      Not saying I think it will necessarily work, but there would be a few in MS that think along these lines, and it sounds like a strategy that would be worth dropping a few $ in subsidies on to see if it worked.

      Isn't speculation fun :-)

  52. David Simpson 1
    FAIL

    This will all fun and games until customers try to install their favourite Windows apps - then the support lines will be jammed and the returns will begin. There is still very little content in the Windows Store and claiming that you have full Windows on ARM when you don't is going to be a huge mistake.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Users won't expect to run old fashioned Classic Desktop apps

      They won't be able to try to run their exisiting apps if those apps aren't in the new MS AppStore to begin with!

      People will regard it as a toy with a fresh new bunch of apps, like iPad owners do with theirs. The "Windows" part won't be too misleading to most people, they won't expect a Metro/Modern UI tablet to have all the Classic Desktop stuff they have on a proper computer.

      At a cheap enough price, it'll fly off the shelves as a relax-o-tablet to surf with in the living room, will be regarded as a limited (but still useful) device, and users will know they still need a proper PC for real work.

      1. Dana W
        FAIL

        Re: Users won't expect to run old fashioned Classic Desktop apps

        You honestly think people are NOT going to to buy a tablet labelled "Windows" and expect it to just run their favorite Windows software? You have never answered a tech support line, I can tell. Being able to run your favorite software forever is one of Windows few positive selling points.

        Windows users are NOT used to their software being obsoleted by their OS. The same Windows fanbois who have mocked Apple for the death of PPC support screamed how Apple was screwing their customers by throwing 5-10 year old software under the bus. But now they think that throwing out decades of software up to anything not written this year is just great. Which is it?

        The refurbished return market is going to be the way to pick one of these up. There will be returns. A lot of them. And we already know, the tablet that can run classic Microsoft software is going to be heavier, run hotter, and have a fraction of the battery life of either its Android or iOS competition. It has to, its going to be running a laptop cpu.

        And the "real work" paradigm is strictly a Microsoft thing. The vast majority of home computer users are NOT doing "real work". They are doing Facebook, and reading news and streaming movies, browsing websites and sending e-mail. They are not "content creators" this is something the geek market does just NOT get. We are not the end users, and the vast majority of end users see their PCs as consumption devices.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Users won't expect to run old fashioned Classic Desktop apps

        So why use the term Windows in the marketing?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Users won't expect to run old fashioned Classic Desktop apps

          Same reason as lots of vehicles have a Ford badge on them, yet a small family runabout isn't expected to do as much a pickup or lorry, or sports car :)

          Just because the brand is the same, doesn't mean we expect the same functionality, any more than I expect a Zanussi fridge to wash my clothes.

          An iPad/iPod owner accepts that they can't make mobile phone calls with it like an iPhone, yet it's all Apple.

          You really think people will look at a touchy-feely tablet with a new Metro/Modern interface and expect to be able to play with old fashioned Classic Desktop mousey software? Some will, obviously confused, but the majority - whether they realise it's a whole new processor which rules out the old progs anyway - will be using it for simple purposes.

          If they want to manage their photo/music collections, edit video, take home work from the office, etc, they'll know to sit at a proper desk with a proper PC.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Users won't expect to run old fashioned Classic Desktop apps

            > with a new Metro/Modern interface and expect to be able to play with old fashioned Classic Desktop mousey software?

            Yes. All those who have seen the Windows 8 desktop machines sitting alongside that have exactly the same UI and demonstrably run "old fashioned Classic Desktop mousey software".

            And, in a few months, all those who see two Surface machine both running the same UI and both running Office which looks just like desktop Office. The only difference they notice is the price, the cheaper being lighter and thinner.

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: Users won't expect to run old fashioned Classic Desktop apps

          "So why use the term Windows in the marketing?"

          There's no problem using that term marketing their phones.

          Its their most recognisable trademark - why wouldn't they use it?

  53. Andy Fletcher

    I love the argument about content

    Anyone care to name a song Apple performed, or a book Amazon wrote? The gig is, make money from other peoples content. Microsoft do at least produce some digital media.

    If it's sold as a loss leader because content sales will make up the margins, we all know they are screwing us surely? Who didn't cotton onto the fact HP toner is more expnsive then gold dust around here?

  54. Alan Denman

    Obviously it needs rid of Android in order to stay crippled

    'Never the twain' is the motto for both Apple and Microsoft.

    Android is unencumbered protecting other assets so it is the spanner in the works.

    The weird thing is that this actually makes Android the most unique of the three.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Media Player - does it have one?

    Are MS still planning not to have a media player on Win8 RT? $199 sounds cheap but not for something that can't play video or music it doesn't.

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: Media Player - does it have one?

      What ? ? ?

      Its media center not media player thats not installed as default.

      Media player is an extra that you will pay for. On the release preview you have to install it separately if you want to trial it.

      It has a video player built in

    2. RonWheeler

      Re: Media Player - does it have one?

      Apparently not (at least in the can). Nor can you load other browsers at all - it is IE only which kill it stone dead for me. No browsing and no video pretty much leaves a fairly neutered device. 2 years ago I doubt Joe Average would have missed Chrome - nowadays, not so sure.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $199 for a Microsoft ARM Tablet?

    First thing I'd do, if I were a Microsoft tablet competitor, is find a way to circumvent Microsoft boot security and sneak-release a fully functioning version of Android for Surface hardware. Watch Microsoft take a bath on the hardware and not get a penny in future revenue... sweet.

  57. Tank boy
    Meh

    Are they high?

    Seriously, if they think that they are going to shoehorn a MS OS into a tablet, I'll have some of whatever they are smoking.

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: Are they high?

      "Seriously, if they think that they are going to shoehorn a MS OS into a tablet,"

      Why not? You can get a 4.5" 1280*720 screen these days so resolution isn't a problem, and its going to be on a 10" screen, which is bigger than some netbooks, so no problem there.

      Plus the metro/modern interface is supposed to be much better for touch (I'm reserving judgement until I've tried it myself...) it shouldn't be a problem at all. Not saying it'll actually be a great device, but it would certainly be possible to make one.

  58. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I have a very simple answer to all the BS and assumptions..

    .. As always, I will WAIT. Yes, amazingly, I will sit back and NOT join some stupid queue of tech wannabees or fashion victims (take your pick, depends on the brand) that MUST HAVE IT FIRST to have any self value.

    Instead, I will calmly live my life and occasionally glance at reports, but ,ostly I will will give it 6 months before I consider looking at it. There are a few simple reasons for it:

    - manufacturing faults and bugs will have come to light and hopefully addressed

    - many first users will by now have worked out that i's either sh*t or shine

    - a direction will be found to the area this device may work best in. Or not, but that's an answer too

    - the prices will have stabilised on a more useful level.

    Much less stress because I don't have to watch the launch dates, and because I don't have to worry about buying crap.

    Easy.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is business, i hope they do charge that much, it'll make apple look like the greedy swine they are. i would never buy a tablet for over 250$ and since they are expensive i have not yet even thought about getting one. I bet they will do what apple does and make the content creators give them 30%..

    thats a great idea since people have no problem giving apple that much for a proprietary operating system and a proprietary way of installing apps.[

  60. john devoy

    If they can sell an RT tablet for under £200 i'd have one pre-ordered.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Subscription

    Reading some of the follow-up press on this rumour, it seems likely that the tablet will be $199 so long as you buy a $20/month subscription to a Zune/XBox Live type services. So, maybe not quite the bargain it might first appear to be, especially for those thinking to root it and install Android

  62. Hal Berenson

    A couple of points here

    First, you are making a lot of assumptions about what would be in the $199 price. For example, where does it say that the cover is included? I'm guessing the cover, even at a $399 or $499 price, is an option. Second, while the Surface is undoubtedly higher cost to manufacture than the Kindle Fire some of the assumptions about specs seem off. If Microsoft is seriously targetting the $199 price point then screen resolution is probably 1366x768, though they could go as low as 1024x768. (I just think they won't because the ability to snap a second app to the side is a key Windows differentiator). This is better than the current Fire, or even its rumored replacement from Amazon, but nowhere near the iPad 4's Retina Display. They aren't getting into an exotic cost situation here.

    But most importantly I think this is a subsidized price like the Xbox $99 when you purchase Xbox Live Gold at $15/month for two years. I wrote more about this on my blog at http://hal2020.com/2012/08/14/the-199-microsoft-surface/

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