The excitement and expectations of Microsoft’s next gen console – the Xbox One – was met with harsh criticism from gamers, which caused a quick about face only a week after it’s introduction. But this week saw the controversy over the console get eclipsed by their other somewhat questionable decision – the Surface RT dropped in price, thanks to $900 million dollars being wasted on the effort in the first place.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it was lowering the price of their introductory tablet the Surface RT, from the $499 without a keyboard price to that of $349. This amid the announcement that they lost $900 million dollars because no one was buying it. To be fair, some people bought it – IT folks and journalists who wanted to see what it was all about (and thus, give an informed opinion on it), students who wanted something that run Office, and those of angry ‘I will never own an Apple or Android product ever!’ mob.
So what was the problem? Was it the device? The OS? The price? The selling point?
The answer is: all of the above.
Not only was the Surface RT confused as to what it was, it ran a confusing version of Windows 8. The OS, while different, is actually very stylish and with use, pretty nice; unfortunately, once again Microsoft took the approach that everyone obviously owns a touch device, so their OS actually works better on a tablet. The thought that everyone would rush out and buy touch screens was laughable (have they not been around during the global recession?).
That leads into price. When you’re trying to beat out Apple’s iPad and any Android tablet, making the price of your device higher doesn’t make people want to buy it. Even Apple dropped prices for their iPad generation and new Nexus tablets start at $199. With the showcased touch cover, the RT ran $600.
Are you a Google user and you’d like a YouTube to audio converter? Good luck trying to find a dedicated YT app on the Windows Store; Google appeared to be shut out, with it being months before Google released a handy app to access certain features, along with Google Apps access. Users can finally get Chrome as well, but dedicated apps for Gmail or Calendar? Nope.
Is it too late for the Surface RT? It’s actually too early to tell; obviously the Pro version has been selling just fine and the company has announced plans for retooled versions of both tablets in 2014, along with the updated Windows 8.1. In many cases, Microsoft does learn from their mistakes, so while this first venture may not have worked out, the next one might; remember, for every Windows ME and Vista, there’s an XP and 7.