blog File this in the category of predictable price cuts for poorly performing products. Microsoft, it was revealed overnight, has cut the price of its Surface RT tablet, which runs a cut-down version of Windows 8. The Surface RT used to sell in Australia starting at $559; it’s now been cut down to start from $389, according to Microsoft’s Australian website.
The key issue with the Surface RT has always been that it has felt like a half-in, half-out device in terms of the tablet market. Its Windows RT operating system looked and felt like Windows 8 and it delivered good battery life on the ARM processors which sat at the heart of the Surface RT. However, the combination of its inability to run traditional Windows 8 applications (unlike its big brother the Surface Pro), coupled with the lack of a substantial third-party app ecosystem for Windows RT, meant that the unit never really went anywhere, unfortunately. The Verge stated in its review of the device in October last year:
“The promise of the Surface was that it could deliver a best-in-class tablet experience, but then transform into the PC you needed when heavier lifting was required .. But that’s not what the Surface offers, at least not in my experience. It does the job of a tablet and the job of a laptop half as well as other devices on the market, and it often makes that job harder, not easier.”
We’ve been down this path before with Android tablets. After Apple launched the iPad in Australia in mid-2010, we saw a clutch of rival tablets from companies like Samsung, Acer, ASUS, Toshiba and so on enter the market. Unfortunately for their manufacturers, pretty much all of these tablets flopped, leaving Apple with the lion’s share of the tablet market. Subsequently, prices on the tablets were cut pretty drastically — for example, Samsung’s then-7″ Galaxy Tab came down from $999 to $299 in a matter of months. I don’t think we’ll see quite this level of discounting from Microsoft with the Surface RT — but I’m also surprised it has taken the company this long to cut its price at all.
Image credit: Microsoft