As the price cuts for both the Surface RT and the Surface Pro indicate, the Surface hasn't challenged the iPad in the way Microsoft hoped it would. In fact, Microsoft announced a $900 million inventory adjustment charge for the millions of Surface RT tablets it now has sitting around in warehouses. The company obviously overestimated the popularity of the Surface, and now third party manufacturing partners are beginning to abandon Windows RT altogether.
So how will Microsoft get rid of $900 million worth of Surface RTs? Offer them to educators, evidently.
Microsoft this week announced its new "Bing for Schools" initiative. The new program will offer free Surface RT tablets to schools that use the "Bing Rewards" program. Schools that earn 30,000 Bing Rewards credits can cash them in for a free Surface RT. The credits can come from anyone signed up for Bing Rewards, including parents, with credits being put toward the school of their choice.
The Los Angeles Unified School District and Atlanta Public Schools are already signed up as partners for the Bing for Schools pilot program. These schools will be using a special version of Bing developed specifically for education. According to Microsoft, the modified Bing will have no advertisements in its search results and will have "strict" adult content filters in place. It will also have "augmented" privacy protections.