Thursday, November 29, 2012

Microsoft sets the starting price for its Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro at $899

One could say that Microsoft has done app developers a big favor: by setting the price for its Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro at $899 it has pretty much signaled that it will be OK to sit on the sidelines, betting that the tablet will be like some early tablets that launched, then went away very quickly.

But that might be a mistake, there are a lot of developers for Windows out there, and no doubt there are some who have sitting on the sidelines during the app revolution, hoping, praying for a solution based on Windows.

The base model of the Microsoft Surface running Windows RT is $499 and so far sales have been, well, "modest".

The Windows 8 Pro model will look like the RT model but will run an Intel Core i5 processor and have a 1920 x 1080 display. It will also be able to run an external display at up to 2560 x 1440. Microsoft hopes this will appeal to buyers who plan to use their tablet as they would a small laptop, running a display while at their desk.

The problem with this approach, of course, is that the more a tablet tries to be a PC the more it competes with PCs. Hence the reason some PC makers are not really very happy with Microsoft now-a-days. It's bad enough that they plan on competing with them in the tablet arena, but the PC arena, too?

But I'm not sure any of this will matter if Microsoft's Surface can not attract a market, and right now users are not seeing a unified system here the way they do an iPhone and iPad, for instance.

But as both Apple and Google will attest, it is all about developers so you won't hear any predictions from me about whether their approach to tablets will work. But when I was asked about the Surface by a publisher the other day I simply asked a question right back at him: "do you have a tablet edition in Newsstand?" "No," he replied. "Then what are you worried about a Windows tablet for? Seems you have bigger issues to deal with."