Tablets are a hard thing to price. You want every device to be sold at a profit, unless you’re Google, but you want it to be reasonable. Apple’s iPad and certain Android tablets are on the high end of the pricing spectrum, but they’re still reasonable to some extent. The rumored price of Microsoft’s Surface is just ridiculous.
Online Swedish retailer Webhallen has product listings for all SKUs of Microsoft’s tablet. If you were hoping for more details on the hardware or software, you’re out of luck. The only new information Webhallen’s product listings impart is a rumored price.
When Microsoft first announced the Surface, they said the price of the Windows RT version would be in line with what we’ve come to expect from similar tablets. If these rumored prices are to be believed, that is not true whatsoever. The 32GB Windows RT Surface is priced at 6990 SEK, or $1,000 USD. That’s ridiculous by any measure when you consider that the Windows RT Surface is an ARM powered device that shouldn’t be any more expensive than the iPad. The new iPad only goes for 5,189 SEK, or 743 USD.
Of course, we must take into account that pricing is never a straight conversion between territories. Countries outside of America traditionally pay more for products for one reason or another. This could just be another one of those instances. The Webhallen listing does give us some cause for concern though.
If these prices are true, that means the Windows RT tablet is going to cost about as much as the iPad. That only means that Microsoft doesn’t know what they’re doing because the Surface can’t compete by its own virtue alone against the iPad. It has to prove that its better while getting people to buy one at a reduced cost.
The company has already proven that it’s willing to sell hardware below costs to get a foot in the door. They did it with the Xbox and again with the Xbox 360. Microsoft should be treating the Surface like the Xbox of the tablet market. They need to sell it below costs and then use some kind of software or subscription to offset the loss.
We can’t forget that this could all just be rumor and speculation though. Many sites throughout the year update product listings with prices that send the rumor mill into overdrive. Until we hear a price announcement straight from Microsoft, I would take these prices with a grain of salt. The only thing that makes them seem plausible is Microsoft’s insistence to never learn from mistakes.[h/t: wpcentral]