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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer   (Source: Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Microsoft executive hints that Surface will be priced similar to the Apple iPad

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer isn't exactly reserved, but he tried to play coy when asked about pricing of his company's upcoming Surface tablet. Still, that didn't stop him from dropping a bit of a hint.  He commented in a new interview with Seattle Times:

We haven't announced pricing. I think we have a very competitive product from the features perspective. ...

I think most people would tell you that the iPad is not a superexpensive device. ... (When) people offer cheaper, they do less. They look less good, they're chintzier, they're cheaper.

If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle (Kindle Fire, $199) to do their homework? The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it....

If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That's the sweet spot.

The comment not-so-subtly knocks Google Inc.'s (GOOG)/ASUSTek Computer Inc.'s (TPE:2357Nexus 7 and Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZNKindle Fire HD, both of which are priced at or below $300 USD, while offering cautious praise for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad.  This isn't the first time Mr. Ballmer has shown some love for the iPad, which stands in in contrast to his general negativity on all other things Apple.

Mr. Ballmer is careful not to be too bullish on his own offering, commenting, "We'll have to see whether Surface is a success or not because we haven't shipped any yet. But it certainly has the elements of success."

Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface

But he's much less on the fence about Windows 8, the operating system that powers Surface.  Despite Microsoft's contentious decision to unroll the time-honored start menu into a second, more graphically rich touch-compatible screen (formerly known as Metro), Mr. Ballmer is convinced Windows 8 will be a hit.

He comments:

We're trying to really re-imagine the world from the ground up with Windows 8. ... And then people orient their development schedules around Windows 8 and its new properties and attributes.

You know, Windows 8 is going to do great.

I'm not paid to have doubts. (Laughs.) I don't have any. It's a fantastic product. ... It ...brings us into this world of much more mobile computing and more mobile form factors. I think it's going to be hard to tell what's a tablet and what is a PC
.

We'll have to wait and see whether both products -- Surface and Windows 8 live up to the CEO's hopes.

Source: The Seattle Times



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Cryptic pricing details?
By vignyan on 9/17/2012 12:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
pricing between 300-800 is a sweet spot... I am guessing surface RT is around 300 and surface pro is around 700/800... Although there are strong rumors that RT is going to be $199... And for a good reason - Apps.

I am also guessing when Balmer was talking about homework and other stuff on 7" tablets, he might have been thinking about the pro... I certainly was... So, pro == run all applications... and it is in line with his last statement = less distinction between PC and tablet...




RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By Jeffk464 on 9/17/2012 12:31:49 PM , Rating: 4
Anyone doing homework or other actual productivity is probably a lot better served by a laptop/ultrabook.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By NellyFromMA on 9/17/2012 12:56:20 PM , Rating: 5
Explain the difference between ultrabook and Windows 8 Pro tablet?


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By XZerg on 9/17/2012 2:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
ditto.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By Cypherdude1 on 9/18/2012 5:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Explain the difference between ultrabook and Windows 8 Pro tablet?

Ultrabook is a new marketing name for a glorified laptop. It is typically thinner than a laptop. It usually has a faster CPU and probably an SSD. Functionally, there is no difference between an Ultrabook and a fast laptop. The Win8 tablet is simply a tablet with Win8.

Microsoft should have placed 4 speakers on the back of their Surface for better sound. The "Lenovo Idea Tablet S2109 9.7-Inch 16 GB Tablet" has this feature. All high-end tablets should have this feature for better movie playability:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0089SZ8PM

With laptops, you can flip them over and open the back to upgrade it. With the right parts, you can upgrade the RAM, CPU, and convert the HDD to SDD. I hope you can do this with the Surface tablet. I hope Microsoft didn't do anything stupid such as prevent users from upgrading the Surface's components. When I purchase a tablet, I want to use Windows. I also want to be able to upgrade the storage to a "Crucial m4 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive CT256M4SSD3":
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0085J17UA

With a fast tablet, USB 3.0, micro-HDMI, Win8, 256 GB mSATA SSD, detachable keyboard, and Wi-Fi, there is virtually no difference between a laptop and a tablet.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By menting on 9/17/2012 5:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
without know how the Surface Pro will be exactly, I'm going to say upgradeability? Most ultrabooks still enable you to add more memory and put in a hard drive without much trouble. Not sure if the Surface Pro will be able to do that.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By Jeffk464 on 9/18/2012 12:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
A little bit bigger screen and a "real" keyboard.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By NellyFromMA on 9/18/2012 11:52:55 AM , Rating: 2
Surface Pro runs Win 8 Pro. It will support DVI/HDMI out and external peripherals.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By GotThumbs on 9/18/2012 8:31:57 AM , Rating: 2
With our without the keyboard and mouse?

A docking station of some kind would go a long way in making this a truly Swiss Army Knife tech tool......It's a tablet, its an ultra book with touch pad and additional ports and added power when needed.

The ASUS Transformer was a good concept (IMO)....just add MS OS and productivity software and you will have something that could be a real viable replacement for owning a PC.

Looking forward to the release and subsequent reviews.

Best wishes,


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By theapparition on 9/17/2012 3:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on the age.

Right now, I can easily see much of my younger children's homework being done on a tablet.

Older children with larger content creation duties would better be served by a full sized keyboard and mouse though.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By Roffles on 9/17/2012 4:04:00 PM , Rating: 5
Jeff,

I hope you realize the Surface Pro is revolutionary because it combines the touchscreen productivity, thinness, lightness and portability of a tablet with the computing power of a notebook and wraps up all up into the form factor of an ultrabook with its detachable keyboard and next generation operating systems that will run all your productivity apps. It's a three-in-one. One computer to rule them all!

HOW DO PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTAND THIS YET! THE SURFACE PRO IS A BIG DEAL!


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By superPC on 9/17/2012 5:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
it is not a big deal because basically all x86 windows 8 tablet will have the same capability. some of them have docks with extra battery or discrete graphic, but ALL of them will work with a USB mouse and keyboard. how is that different to surface pro? I imagine if windows 8 tablet really took off than accessories maker will have a field day creating docks and detachable keyboard.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By Jeffk464 on 9/18/2012 12:54:18 AM , Rating: 2
Its a compromise keyboard.


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By Jeffk464 on 9/17/2012 12:32:34 PM , Rating: 4
Can't we keep the microphones away from the clown?


RE: Cryptic pricing details?
By jvillaro on 9/17/2012 12:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
when Balmer was talking about homework and other stuff on 7" tablets, he might have been thinking about the pro

Why? With the RT already including office, with it's keyboard I don't see why it isn't a near perfect low cost "PC" for school.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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