Report: Windows RT to cost device makers $85-90

Windows RT tablets could be an expensive proposition when they arrive this fall. VR-Zone spoke to multiple tablet vendors at the Computex trade show last week, and it was told the Microsoft OS costs $85-90. That’s the cost to device makers, the site says; Windows RT won’t be sold as a standalone product.

Android is reportedly free for those folks, so the price difference between tablets based on Windows RT and Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, or whatever dessert Google is up to by then could be substantial. VR-Zone is saying Windows RT tablets will cost $549-799 at launch, with premium models hitting $899. For perspective, the latest iPad starts at $499, and that includes a high-res Retina display.

We didn’t hear prices quoted for any of the Windows RT tablets we saw, but I must admit, the Metro interface is quite pleasant to use on touchscreen devices. I’m just not sure I’d pay close to $100 for the experience—especially since it’s not backed by a desktop environment with all the traditional conveniences of Windows.

Comments closed
    • travbrad
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]"Windows RT tablets will cost $549-799 at launch"[/quote<] That's going to be a tough sell when the iPad is pretty much the same price, if not slightly cheaper even (and iPad 2 is significantly cheaper). Whether it's better or not doesn't even really matter, the iPad name has so much more mainstream appeal than "Asus Tablet 600" or whatever they end up calling it.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    Wasn’t the OEM price for Windows XP about $12?

    EDIT: I’m sure I remember that being the price that Microsoft was offering it to OEMs at in the early days of netbooks, when most were shipping with Linux.

      • smilingcrow
      • 7 years ago

      That sounds very low!

      • wierdo
      • 7 years ago

      I read it was $30, both figures are much more reasonable than this price though.

    • wierdo
    • 7 years ago

    I thought more tablets would eventually be selling at Kindle Fire prices the way things are rapidly progressing toward commodity territory; this kinda pricing seems to make this product unsuitable for the future mainstream segment. We’re talking close to a %50 premium.

    Maybe MS is counting on the inertia of their PC market monopoly overcoming this market disadvantage. Perhaps they’re betting on the weight of PC developers taming the tablet market to MS’s advantage.

    I dunno.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Lol, and not only do they screw the OEM but stipulate that in order to run Win RT they have to lock it down with secureboot.

    • smilingcrow
    • 7 years ago

    Introducing BALLMER’S DESTRUCTION DERBY 2012. An iOS game in which you take control of Steve Ballmer’s mind and plan the downfall of Microsoft. Here are some ideas:

    1. Windows Server 2012 can only be administrated using Kinect as the interface.
    2. To install WS2012 you have to use an official Xbox 360 USB 2 external hard drive as the target.
    3. Office 2013 is only made available in Dutch but comes with a Dutch to English tutorial made by an obviously drunk Adam Sandler spouting gibberish.
    4. Site licenses for medium to larger organizations can only be paid for in bitcoins.
    5. The MS support desk now only speak and write Klingon; about 10% of staff need to be retrained to acquire the new skills.
    6. The Xbox 720 uses the newly designed controller as a compulsory biometric login method. The controller which is quickly nicknamed The Lube needs to be inserted into your ‘escape hatch’ so to speak.
    7. Charge $90 for Windows RT.

    What would you do?

      • smilingcrow
      • 7 years ago

      BALLMER’S DESTRUCTION DERBY 2012.
      Inspired by real life events in this game you play Brett Hipster a 22 year old intern at Apple who is accidently locked in the Apple HQ during WWDC 2012. In a desperate attempt to escape from the heavily fortified campus you stumble upon the ultra secret projects department which is located 200 feet beneath ground. Whilst searching this cavern for an escape exit you are intrigued by what turns out to be a fully loaded 12 foot Steve Ballmer blow up doll. The shock of seeing this abomination causes you to slip and bang your head. You are knocked out and drift back into consciousness about 45 minutes later noticing that there is an EEG skull cap attached to an iPad on the desk next to you. You are feeling very light headed but are drawn to put on the skull cap and power on the iPad. You are confronted with a game in which you are invited to take control of the Steve Ballmer’s mind. As you start to play the game a very strange feeling overwhelms all your senses. Unbeknownst to you the pepper that you added to the vegan roll that you made in the lab an hour earlier was actually part of Steve Jobs’s secret stash. It wasn’t pepper but original Owsley Acid. As the LSD kicks in you begin a mesmerising trip that forever changes your perception of reality and leads Microsoft investors into a nightmare world where their share certificates turn to dust in their hands.

      Coming soon, Larry ‘Legal Eagle’ Ellison, an iOS game in which the intrepid adventurer sues himself for no good reason.

        • Shouefref
        • 7 years ago

        When will that game be on sale?
        I hope it’s not one of those social media games, because than the graphics will suck.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      option 7, apparently.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 7 years ago

      You forgot “every new XBox title must be played through Ribbon interface”.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the obvious reason for this pricing model… This is clearly a Wintel deal designed to destroy ARM’s chances to make it in the PC business.

      • Theolendras
      • 7 years ago

      Why bother if you’re Microsoft ?

      • smilingcrow
      • 7 years ago

      I can hear the lawyers’ fat asses squeaking in their leather chairs as they reach across the desk to browse Ferrari’s website on their jewel encrusted iPads whilst drool collects on their desks in the shape of a dollar sign.

      • Rand
      • 7 years ago

      If Microsoft didn’t want ARM to have a chance a better way to do it would be to just not make an ARM variant of Windows at all. But why should they care if Intel has more competition?

    • smilingcrow
    • 7 years ago

    What’s the difference between Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer?
    Gates greatly reduced his massive fortune by starting a charity whilst Ballmer ran Microsoft into the ground leaving his shares worth a fraction of their former value.

    There’s probably a dark attic room in Apple’s HQ where an intern has an iPad that remotely controls Ballmer’s mind.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 7 years ago

    Where does Microsoft sit with pricing? It’s a double edged sword:
    – Price it low and many think this is crap. Price it too low and now you’re in murky waters with a lot of very inexpensive Android devices.
    – Price it high and people would prefer to buy an iPad instead. Price it too high and everything thinks you’re insane.

    What is the middle ground? If you want your tablet to seem “better” than an iPad, you’ll have to price it similarly.

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    “Windows RT tablets will cost $549-799 at launch, with premium models hitting $899.”

    can you say D.O.A.?

    • blastdoor
    • 7 years ago

    The only thing I can think of is that MS might offer very deep discounts to favored OEMs. Otherwise, this is insanity.

      • bthylafh
      • 7 years ago

      This is not insanity! THIS. IS. BALLMER!

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        He does have some big balls to charge that much for Windows Cripple

          • shank15217
          • 7 years ago

          Why is it crippled?

      • Silus
      • 7 years ago

      I think you meant…”THIS IS MADNESS!” 🙂

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 7 years ago

        Now I have Jaz Coleman stuck in my head thank you very much.

        Though his rantiness would be rad in computer reviews.

    • yokem55
    • 7 years ago

    MS is insane if they plan on soaking up that much of the ASP on those devices. Granted high end Android tabs aren’t much cheaper, but middle and low end devices are getting really good. Cheap Chinese units with dual core arm a9 cpu’s, Mali 400 gpus, ips displays and official Play store support can be had for ~$200 shipped from Shenzhen.

      • Rand
      • 7 years ago

      With Acer having already announced a $250 7″ Tegra 3 tablet, and Google’s own Nexus Tegra 3 tablet soon to launch for less then $200 even prices for higher end Android tablet’s are likely to be dropping rapidly soon, and low end devices are sporting the kind of hardware that was previously restricted to only the most expensive of tablets.

      Add in a massively larger app store then WinRT, and it’s going to be a tough sell.

    • RichardLAnderson
    • 7 years ago

    [url<]http://goo.gl/rV2TC[/url<]

      • bthylafh
      • 7 years ago

      Not a tablet. NOT A TABLET. It’s a reader device with some tablet-like features, but as a tablet it’s poor.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 7 years ago

        “but as a tablet its poor”

        What do you do on your tablet that this cannot do

        Watch movies / tv shows ? Look at pictures ? Surf the internet ? Play simple games ? Read stuff ?

    • Ryhadar
    • 7 years ago

    Are there any figures out there on how much it costs a device maker to support and test Android? Not trolling, just curious.

    Also, that’s a very steep price, although I am hearing that Windows RT includes MS office.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      It is steep, and it does include office.

      • EJ257
      • 7 years ago

      Speaking from my own software test & validation days. You pay 30-50 people between $20-30/hr, working 60 hour weeks for 3-5 months depending on the bugs you find. That’s just to test the software. You also have to pay your developers to fix the bugs, program managers to keep everything on track, engineers to fix any hardware issues that come up..etc. It adds up very quickly.

    • mcforce0208
    • 7 years ago

    I do not windows 8 to fail. However i do feel it will do extremely badly.These prices are absurd. Manufacturers have to pay $85 as apposed to something that is free and very good. I am in the market for a tablet and will wait for windows 8 specifically to bag a good android deal.

    • smilingcrow
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder if their self justification for this is that ARM version comes with Office apps pre-installed? At least that’s what I heard was going to happen.
    Either way I find it hard to believe that they will charge this price for RT.

      • Theolendras
      • 7 years ago

      That’s what I had in mind also, but this won’t be enough to gain traction, business will mostly prefer x86 tablets, and with that kind of pricing so will the consumers. Too bad, I would have been interested for a price under 400$.

        • adisor19
        • 7 years ago

        Hardly. Consumers are going with iOS and Android devices and i don’t see this trend changing once WinRT tablets start shipping. I also have a hard time seeing businesses switching over from iPads to WinRT or x86 Win8 tablets.

        It seems to me like the cat is out of the bag. The consumerisation of IT has begun and it’s too late to stop it.

        Adi

          • Theolendras
          • 7 years ago

          Agreed for iOS and Android will keep their lead, I was referring within the Windows realm,

      • bthylafh
      • 7 years ago

      IIRC all WinRT apps will have to come from the Microsoft app store, so they’re expecting revenue from that to prop it up.

      Still, eesh. Given that you’d think they’d heavily discount the operating system itself.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    Yeah, WoA is DoA. At those prices, people are just going to want an x86-based tablet instead. Everyone else not interested in having their Windows applications work will want Android for the cheaper devices (by then you’ll be seeing $200 7-8″ tablets en masse) or iPad for games/apps.

    Yet another example of when MS hears the beat, but can’t dance the dance. Intel’ll be pleased as punch tho.

    • Vulk
    • 7 years ago

    Wow that’s not good. Alienating you traditional base with radical change for change’s sake, spending hundreds of millions to make an OS you know you can’t sell to business, and then… You price yourself out of the market you did all this to play in?

    If those reports are accurate, this really might be the point where we talk about how Microsoft lost it’s monopoly position, because that’s idiotic.

      • tviceman
      • 7 years ago

      Combine all this with the fact that Apple has essentially become the defacto standard for which every other hardware vendor is compared to for quality. Microsoft has completely lost their competitive advantages they held 5+ years ago.

      • tviceman
      • 7 years ago

      And just to clarify, I am not a fan of Apple. I have a second gen ipod nano, and that’s it.

        • BloodSoul
        • 7 years ago

        ^Same boat.

        I admire Apple as a company, because at least they know how to work a market. I feel like Microsoft has forgotten what it is like to be in a position where they are not the top dogs and they can’t call the shots.

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      I’m devil’s advocating this, mainly because while I am wary of this price point and what it means for device prices I’m also baffled by this ‘waaaaah MS is evil’ kneejerk response. Apple has a 100% profit on materials on the iPad, but they report something like 30% margins – meaning they ‘charge’ at least this much for software on the iPad. It’s not totally out of the ballpark. I’m willing to hear MS out, at least. The Android supporters are quoting way, waaaay low prices for custom developed software and/or assuming way too high unit dev costs. Not to mention that this will plug into desktop Windows in a way that Android never can – hell, even iOS to OSX won’t come close to the level of integration you’ll get between Win8 and WinRT.

      >Wow that’s not good.

      MS is selling a tablet version of Windows for cheaper than they sell the retail version of desktop windows? Yeah, that’s a travesty.

      >Alienating you traditional base with radical change for change’s sake,

      Well, MS doesn’t sell a true tablet OS now, so I don’t see how they can be alienating them. MS’s users buy Android and Apple tablets now.

      >spending hundreds of millions to make an OS you know you can’t sell to business, and then

      Hundreds of millions? Try again. Dev cost for NT6 was $10B, WinRT wasn’t that much but you guys are talking about it like it was free for MS.

      >. You price yourself out of the market you did all this to play in?

      You don’t even know what the final price point will be. Hell, even the article acknowledges some flexibility. Add into the fact that the Visual Studio Express change was made “on a dime” (literally one week difference between “no free version of VS” to “Free versions for all!”) and I think that MS probably knows more about the market, and is willing to be more adaptive to it, than you do and/or are.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]MS is selling a tablet version of Windows for cheaper than they sell the retail version of desktop windows? Yeah, that's a travesty,[/quote<] Obviously. People deserve everything for free, and they need it now. Companies charging for their products is nothing but corporate greed

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Anand’s Computex coverage has the Acer W8 tablet at somewhere between $800 and $1000:

      It’s too heavy to be comfortable in one hand.
      It’s hot, and needs [i<]active cooling[/i<] It's CHUNKY and hardly as sexy as an iPad or even some of the slim, plastic Android tablets. Here at the office we use iPads and Galaxy Tabs. I'm ordering a couple of Sumvision Cyclone Astro+ for £66 ($100) just to see how they look. In terms of specs, they're very similar to a Galaxy SII with a 7" IPS screen, but these have HDMI out, USB, and MicroSD without the need for dongles or adapters. We use tablets mostly for PDF's and browsing, which ICS handles just fine, but anything more than that and a real laptop makes more sense. My main point is that an Android ICS solution appeals to us more as a business from a cost and practicality perspective, and if these Sumvisions aren't crap, we'll be getting usable business tablets for the same cost of the RT license alone!

        • bthylafh
        • 7 years ago

        Is that tablet the one that’s Ivy Bridge-based? Totally not what we’re talking about here.

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah, that’s the one I meant. Regardless of whether it’s W8 RT or W8 x86, it’s still W8 and Microsoft’s pricing only makes sense on $1000 hardware that has no place in the tablet world today (or tomorrow).

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    ya know if they put out a premium product it wouldn’t matter but this is going in middle of the road devices from so so manufacturers. The extra 100 on the price tag has already doomed windows.

    • Theolendras
    • 7 years ago

    You know that most Android tablet manufacturer has some fee, around 15$ to pay Microsoft in most case if I recall correctly. Otherwise there is apparently some patent infringement. So even if it’s nowhere near 90$ it’s not free either.

      • stmok
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]You know that most Android tablet manufacturer has some fee, around 15$ to pay Microsoft in most case if I recall correctly.[/quote<] Half of the world's Android devices need to pay some fee to Microsoft...How much it actually costs depends on the manufacturer. For a large player like Samsung, its $15. For someone like HTC, its $5 to $7. Microsoft doesn't go after everyone. Just selected key players in the market. They don't even bother with small time players in local markets; so for them, its $0 until they grow big enough to be noticed. [quote<]So even if it's nowhere near 90$ it's not free either.[/quote<] This is a deliberate strategy by Microsoft to nullify the "free" characteristic of Linux and Android via the patent system. (The approach was pioneered on Linux hardware device providers a few years back. As Linux has no defense against patents in its license and companies rather pay than spend years fighting)...Just search [b<]microsoft license patent agreement[/b<] in Google and you'll see it all. Every year, they brag about some license patent agreement with a well-known company. Moves like this (and Apple's offensive use of patents as a weapon), eventually forced Google to buy lots of patents from IBM and acquire Motorola Mobility for its patents. What we end up with, is a situation where only lawyers win big. Companies have to spend lots of money in acquiring overvalued patents, going to court, etc. The birth of patent trolling as a profit chasing endeavour. Still, it doesn't change the fact that adopting a Microsoft OS license adds a considerable cost to the total of the device itself. This is especially notable given that OEMs operate on razor-thin margins. (They try to make up for it by selling in quantity. So they're always willing to compromise some quality aspect of a product to keep costs down.)

        • bthylafh
        • 7 years ago

        Makes you wonder if MS will try to increase the “license” cost of Android devices after RT goes live.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    HA HA HA, so much for that thought.

    • Hattig
    • 7 years ago

    Even accepting the argument that using Android isn’t free for a device manufacturer, you have to consider that even if they spent $1m on a custom build for a tablet that only sold 100,000 devices, that is only $10 per device.

    These RT devices are simply going to fail massively compared to cheaper iPads and Android tablets with the same or better specifications and a massive software ecosystem.

    A $549 WinRT tablet needs to be better than a $499 iPad or Android tablet. That means better in terms of the hardware specification, the operating system and ease of use, and software availability. WinRT needs to be given away for the first year or two IMO.

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      They haven’t learned anything from the HP/WebOS debacle.

      As long as the iPad will continue to sell like hotcakes, every other tablet will be compared to it. MS needs to think about this hard and long if they want to make a dent in the tablet market.

      Adi

    • bthylafh
    • 7 years ago

    Perhaps you would like to join me in eating some schadenfreude pie to celebrate WinRT going down in flames.

    [url<]http://www.food.com/recipe/schadenfreude-pie-335614[/url<]

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    Wow. So what do Atom tablets run, $1,000? And $2,000 for Ivy Bridge?

    Yeah, go MS, stick it to Android and those overpriced $200 tablets!

    • Silus
    • 7 years ago

    Microsoft doesn’t seem that interested in succeeding in this market…
    Not only do they want to enter the tablet market with extremely high priced devices, but they also charge an ARM and a leg for a Windows RT license….

      • HallsMint
      • 7 years ago

      Wee woo, wee woo! “This is the grammar police! We’ve got you surrounded! We know you didn’t use the correct case with that word! You can’t deny it! Come out with your keyboard above your head!!”

        • Silus
        • 7 years ago

        Guilty of pun 🙁

          • HallsMint
          • 7 years ago

          Oh, this is true! I guess we’ll just give a warning this time. Beware though, we’ve our eyes on you!

      • Theolendras
      • 7 years ago

      Windows on ARM could be use as a lever to push developpers to migrate to Metro to cover a larger userbase than traditional apps targeted only at x86, but price like that, I don’t see it make a significant dent in market share to create that developping pressure.

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