Just yesterday, I watched in disgust as a new marketing email from Microsoft rolled into my Inbox showing several Windows 8-based touchscreen laptops. My disgust was not with the offerings, but with the price of the devices being promoted. None of those shown were less than $500, with the most expensive, a Dell laptop, in the $2200 range. How is this supposed to interest anyone in taking a dive toward Windows 8?
Some will say the biggest problem with Windows 8 is the interface, but really it’s the price of the devices. The Microsoft Surface originally came in around $1000 and Microsoft wondered why the devices, though still the best Windows 8 devices available in my opinion, didn’t take off like they thought. One would have though the huge write-down on the Surface RT units would have been lesson enough, but it wasn’t. Microsoft (and other vendors) have still been modeling Windows 8 computer pricing on the past, and also on Apple. The iPad is a fine device, but it’s not worth the price tag Apple slaps on it.
We’ve seen Apple’s market share erode due to Google’s ability to proliferate Android on the cheapest devices available. Consumers finally realized they didn’t have to pay Apple prices to own a decent tablet or smartphone.
So, it boils down to purchase price. I don’t know too many people who would pass up a sub-$250 device, even one running Windows 8.
So, it’s interesting to hear that Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft is slashing Windows 8.1 pricing for OEMs by 70%. Normally around $50, it will now cost only $15 to license Windows 8.1. That in itself is good news, but there’s a catch, and one I think shows that Microsoft may finally be coming around to the pricing game. This price reduction is available for those manufacturers who can build devices that retail for less than $250.
Bloomberg also reports that this news isn’t public yet, or rather, has not been officially announced by Microsoft. But, if true, Windows 8.1 devices could come available cheaper than even Chromebooks.
Maybe Microsoft has finally caught on.