Home Your IT Mobility Windows 8 RT is not a giant slayer, may not even be a player much longer…

Microsoft gambled that a version of Windows 8 called RT which runs on ARM based tablets would be an iPad killer. Instead it’s a profit killer for Microsoft and its RT OEM partners Dell, Asus, Lenovo and its own Surface brand.

Earlier this year I analysed Microsoft strategy and made the statement that the Surface RT would sink from sight when it had achieved its original purpose – to get OEM’s making MS based (x86) tablets (read this if you have time as it is relevant to the rest of this article).

Major retailers are saying that tablet buyers want either an iPad or a Samsung Android – nothing else.

So to today - IDG News Services report that Windows RT device prices have tumbled as PC makers attempt to clear old stock after poor sales in the past quarter. In Dells case it has started with 10% off the XPS entry level 32GB and 20% off the 64GB (memory prices have also dropped). Asus Vivo is down by over 30% and Lenovo’s Yoga is down by 25% - all linked to special one off promotions but in reality it’s a “Claytons” clearance before a fire sale.

Official Surface RT prices in Australia have not changed - pricing for the 32/64GB model is AU$599/679 without touch cover and $679/789 with. Yet over Easter JB was offering the 32GB at $599 with a free cover or at $559 without. Other on-line stores are following suit with discounts of typically 20% off RRP before the fire sales start.

Major retailers are not worried as they have generous price protection and stock return policies – it is no skin of their noses if they have to give it away. eBay has a slew of used Surface tablets from as low as $100 (typically $350+) which indicates that the product has not met expectations.

Moral of this story is that if people want a Windows 8 (full version) device there are lots of choices that are selling well although we have not seen the Surface Pro here yet. .

Another iTWire article titled 'Tablets a bitter pill for Microsoft’ is also good reading and draws the conclusion that Microsoft should concentrate on the enterprise market with X86 tablets and full Windows functionality if it wants to save face.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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