Microsoft sets prices for Surface tablet
The software company puts the cost below what Apple charges for comparable versions of its iPad.
Microsoft (MSFT) has announced how much its Surface RT tablet will cost, and the pricing could prove that CEO Steve Ballmer was right when he said the device would be "competitive" with other tablets. (By which he meant Apple's (AAPL) iPad).
The website TechCrunch today featured a screen shot with pricing details for the ARM (ARMH) processor-based tablet. Microsoft also released pricing details today. (Microsoft publishes MSN Money.)
The 32 GB version will set you back $499. If you want one with the Touch Cover, which doubles as a keyboard, it's an additional $100. The largest Surface RT tablet (64 GB) will cost $699 with the cover. The 64 GB new iPad costs $699 as well.
Raymond James analyst Michael Turits has suggested that the Surface would permit Microsoft to make inroads into the tablet market, noting that Apple also uses its own proprietary ARM-based chips in the iPad.
"On the one hand, the Windows RT (ARM) version gets Microsoft into the ballpark with a tablet of the right dimensions and weight to compete with the Apple iPad," wrote Turits in a recent research report. The analyst rates Microsoft shares "outperform" with a $34 price target.
Microsoft's tablet, which is taller and slightly heavier than an iPad, will go on sale on October 26 as the company launches the new touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system.
In addition to chips built around ARM's design, there will also be a heavier Surface tablet that uses chips from Intel (INTC) and is aimed at the market for lightweight computers called Ultrabooks running on Intel chips. Pricing details for the Intel-based Surface have not yet emerged and the devices are expected to hit the market in a few months.
Microsoft is reportedly confident that it can sell a lot of Surface tablets for the holiday season. The Wall Street Journal noted that Microsoft's Asian suppliers have received orders for between 3 million and 5 million units for the fourth quarter. Apple reportedly expects to sell l10 million units of the yet-to-be-launched iPad Mini during the holiday season.
The popularity of the iPad has wiped out the market for smaller laptops known as netbooks. In addition, sales of PCs are falling, putting pressure on Microsoft's Windows market.
Rumors have been swirling that Apple will unveil its iPad Mini on October 23.
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Bad pricing space.... tough to compete with the Ipad and the Surface is too expensive to compete with the google/amazon/cheap tablet crowd.
Ballmer's pulling a Zune repeat I think.
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