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Microsoft undercuts Apple in education, selling Surface RT for $199

post #1 of 90
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Attempting to carve out a niche for its low-selling Surface RT, Microsoft took a step into Apple's territory this week, offering the device to schools and universities for as low as $199.

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From June 24 to August 31, Microsoft will offer K-12 schools and universities the opportunity to purchase 32GB Surface RT tablets starting at $199. That price is lower even than some versions of Microsoft's bestselling productivity suite, Office. Adding a Touch Keyboard Cover to the package will bring the price to $249, and adding the more capable Type Keyboard Cover will bring the price to $289.

Microsoft initially revealed the discount on Monday, when the story was picked up by ZDNet. The company has since taken down the original information, though it confirms that the deal is valid.

The offer is available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China (via Digital China), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

At $199, Microsoft has knocked off more than half the cost of the Surface RT, which usually retails for $499. The Redmond giant may be looking to clear inventory ahead of a refreshed version of the device, which is thought to have sold fewer than one million units in the ten months since its release.

That price point also dramatically undercuts Apple's educational pricing for its iPad, which it offers for $399. Microsoft will also be giving away 10,000 Surface RT units to teachers attending the International Society for Technology Education convention in San Antonio this month.

The Surface devices were meant to be the spearpoint of Microsoft's push back against the success of Apple's iPad. The tablets came in two flavors, one running Windows RT ? a version built for low-power ARM chips ? and the other running the full Windows 8.

Microsoft billed the Surface tablets as "reference designs" meant to show its manufacturing partners the capabilities inherent in its hybrid operating system that blends traditional computing with the touch interface popularized by Apple's iOS devices. The new Windows builds have had a tough initial outing, though, with Windows 8 sales sputtering and Windows RT sales virtually nonexistent.
post #2 of 90
Giving away 10,000 units? They are that desperate for market share? Pretty bad. If I were a teacher, I'd sell the damn thing.
post #3 of 90
So, for $249 you will still get a device for which there is no software, and nobody is really working on any. They could as well buy a PlayBook, I am sure BB would agree to $99.
post #4 of 90
"Selling so well, we're giving them away"

The same can be said of those crippled "chromebooks". Of course, this shouldn't be misconstrued as bribery. That would be wrong.
post #5 of 90

After this Microsoft claims... they gained market share 

post #6 of 90
Getting one of these in school is like getting a marked up 20 year old math book. Kids are going to stomp on this thing.
post #7 of 90

I'd be very curious to hear the rational behind an educational bulk purchase of the RT. I am not saying there isn't one, just that from where I am sitting, I can't see it. I mean, you can always argue that due to the price of course literature it is better to buy empty notepads (same amount of paper, same size, same number of pages), but I am pretty sure that the argument wont hold up to scrutiny.

post #8 of 90

I pity the poor school administrator/IT person who's a sucker for this.

 

I can see seriously cash-strapped schools falling for this sad ruse....

post #9 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I pity the poor school administrator/IT person who's a sucker for this.

 

I can see seriously cash-strapped schools falling for this sad ruse....


Yes... but won't it be funny when Microsoft has to announce that sales "still" didn't pick up after this promotion.

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post #10 of 90
Well, they'll probably lose money on each one. They're literally trying to buy their way into the market.
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post #11 of 90

MS taking a page from the HP Touchpad playbook: get rid of the dang things.  Except MS didn't get the new pricing quite right, like HP did.

post #12 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

MS taking a page from the HP Touchpad playbook: get rid of the dang things.  Except MS didn't get the new pricing quite right, like HP did.


I just want those clicking and snapping ads to stop.

 

[ in reference to the really bad HP ads that finally stopped when the HP tablet tanked ]


Edited by island hermit - 6/18/13 at 7:47am
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post #13 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

I just want those clicking and snapping ads to stop.

I thought it was hilarious that they used a bunch of dancing and juggling to try telling us it's a serious product.
post #14 of 90
Firesale anyone?
post #15 of 90
So, MSFT has once again managed to find captive users , to whom nobody asks for their opinion ..
post #16 of 90
Why would you buy these for a school? Serious question. Is there any any class room appropriate software? Are text books available on them? I haven't heard of any big software releases for the things. So $200 for a calendar/datebook, that can browse the web? Even at that price I can't see why schools would do a large order of them.
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post #17 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

Firesale anyone?

Exactly. I would take one if it was given to me. I would use it to surf the web, email, Netflix, and to use Word.

That said, schools would be foolish to buy them. RT is dead. The concept was nice, but Microsoft messed up the marketing by referring to it as Windows when it did not run Windows apps.
post #18 of 90
Don't educational institutions have standards that have to be met for tech equipment used by minors? Using such devices would surely be detrimental to childrens education. 1oyvey.gif
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post #19 of 90

MS just doesn't get it. It needs to be "best in class" to have any chance of success. And MS does not have any track record for any "best in class" products or SW. Not OS, productivity SW, Mobile SW, phones and now tablets. They just make crap! Ugh!

post #20 of 90
I don't know because I don't read much about MS technology but I sure hope these things are highly recyclable. I'd hate to think of the environmental impact of them all in landfills.
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post #21 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

Why would you buy these for a school? Serious question. Is there any any class room appropriate software? Are text books available on them? I haven't heard of any big software releases for the things. So $200 for a calendar/datebook, that can browse the web? Even at that price I can't see why schools would do a large order of them.

I guess MS still hang on to the idea that the software designed by Steve Jobs for the first Mac, you know,'"Office" that Steve hired Microsoft to create for the Mac but then brought out on their own Mac OS rip off AKA Windows, is still their gravy train for another thirty years and don't know how to come up with anything else on their own.
Edited by digitalclips - 6/18/13 at 8:36am
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post #22 of 90
Be happy that Apple doesn't have to give stuff away to gain market share. They do it buy offering a quality product at a reasonable price.
post #23 of 90

Microsoft undercuts Apple in education, selling pricing Surface RT at $199

post #24 of 90

Well, I guess my prediction they'd be discounting the Surface within a year didn't turn out to be off the mark...

 

Education can save a hundred or so with the Surface RT on the purchase, and then have all that money to spend on the support costs -- if they haven't learned their lessons from the last time they SAVED money with Microsoft.

post #25 of 90

The selling point for education getting Office and Microsoft Windows in the past decade was this was what people would be using when they got in the job market.

 

That dynamic has changed.

post #26 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

Why would you buy these for a school? Serious question. Is there any any class room appropriate software? Are text books available on them? I haven't heard of any big software releases for the things. So $200 for a calendar/datebook, that can browse the web? Even at that price I can't see why schools would do a large order of them.

 

For all we know, the IT administrator may very well just lock down those devices, making them for little better than running Office and surfing the web. 

 

At least, that's what my school did. Yeah, they bought real tablet laptops (those swivel screens with styluses) and turned them into glorified chromebooks. 1oyvey.gif

post #27 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

So, for $249 you will still get a device for which there is no software, and nobody is really working on any. They could as well buy a PlayBook, I am sure BB would agree to $99.

Microsoft needs to ask themselves a question: How did that work out for HP with the Touchpad?
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post #28 of 90
You'd have to be a complete moron to buy these for your students! Another act of desperation from this clueless company.
post #29 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post


Exactly. I would take one if it was given to me. I would use it to surf the web, email, Netflix, and to use Word.
...

 

They aren't that bad (if you get one for free), but they certainly aren't worth paying for.  Your plan to use a Surface RT for Word might have a glitch however, in that the thing is so slow one can type faster than the processor can put words on the screen, which gives you a really weird "out of time" feeling when trying to use it.  It might be okay for kids to type on, but anyone who can touch type will be able to easily outpace the processor.  

 

To be fair, the iPad mini has this same problem to a lesser degree.  If you use Pages a lot and type fast, you can fairly easily move your fingers faster than the keyboard is able to register them.  For instance, it's easy to type short words like "the" so fast, that all that registers on the screen is "e".  Depending on memory conditions you can sometimes get off two or three words before the system realises you are typing. 

 

It also has a sort of quasi-memoryleak in that if you type a large block of text with Pages on iOS, the cursor and the typing will get slower and slower as the system memory fills up, eventually forcing you to back out and let the app save your work before continuing.  

 

This is all down to the very, very, very limited system memory on the iPad mini which should hopefully be fixed on the next version.  

post #30 of 90
It's over for Apple. Sell your stock now, it's a sinking ship.
post #31 of 90

This is the first time that hardware is included in a discount program. Charity and Donation programs have always existed for phenomenal pricing for non-profits. Cynical me says they're unloading in whatever channel they can. Beware 1st gen buyers. I do believe this will improve and there is a use case for Windows in education obviously but I know that early Surface adopters will be burned.

post #32 of 90
Standard MS playbook. Can't really compete in the free market, so dump product on the market below cost, or give them away for free. Lose money on the device for 5 years or more (Xbox anyone?) until you can control a segment, then ramp back up the monopoly machine.

Unlike Windows (and the Xbox to some extent), methinks the "Surface" will end up more like the Zune.
post #33 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Don't educational institutions have standards that have to be met for tech equipment used by minors? Using such devices would surely be detrimental to childrens education. 1oyvey.gif

To answer your question...not always. Sometimes tech decisions are made by people who don't know the you know what from a hole in the ground about technology. They see its from Microsoft and runs Windows and will buy a bunch of them. And, its cheaper! You'd be surprised the decisions that are made without asking either the Tech Directory and/or the IT department. I work in a school and see this all the time. Luckily, I've very vocal about what technology goes in to the district so as far as this goes, I try to make sure were an iPad school only. It gets very hard to manage multiple platforms at once.

That being said, I would hope that most would pass on this. As we all know, there's nothing compatible between the iPad and Surface. I would hope IT and school administration would recognize this. Using a tablet is more than just being able to log on to your network account and run MS Word. If you're buying tablets for that, then you bought them for the wrong reasons.

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post #34 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

To answer your question...not always. Sometimes tech decisions are made by people who don't know the you know what from a hole in the ground about technology. They see its from Microsoft and runs Windows and will buy a bunch of them. And, its cheaper! You'd be surprised the decisions that are made without asking either the Tech Directory and/or the IT department. I work in a school and see this all the time. Luckily, I've very vocal about what technology goes in to the district so as far as this goes, I try to make sure were an iPad school only. It gets very hard to manage multiple platforms at once.

That being said, I would hope that most would pass on this. As we all know, there's nothing compatible between the iPad and Surface. I would hope IT and school administration would recognize this. Using a tablet is more than just being able to log on to your network account and run MS Word. If you're buying tablets for that, then you bought them for the wrong reasons.

Here's hoping there are a lot of folks out there in education like you. When I think of the potential of an iPad in education compared to what was available in my days teaching it almost makes me want to go back to teaching. A single penny wasted in education on Windows based crap is a crime.
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post #35 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

This is the first time that hardware is included in a discount program. Charity and Donation programs have always existed for phenomenal pricing for non-profits. Cynical me says they're unloading in whatever channel they can. Beware 1st gen buyers. I do believe this will improve and there is a use case for Windows in education obviously but I know that early Surface adopters will be burned.

Do you really believe that the surface will ever get to gen 2?
post #36 of 90
That's what school kids need, a sorry cheaply made rotting in the warehouse tablet. Let the young suffer with them. They should have given them away as a total loss they are.
post #37 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


I thought it was hilarious that they used a bunch of dancing and juggling to try telling us it's a serious product.

 

...or how their 'office' tablets all have only one app prominently displayed on the screen... Netflix.

post #38 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcolley View Post

That's what school kids need, a sorry cheaply made rotting in the warehouse tablet. Let the young suffer with them. They should have given them away as a total loss they are.

Agreed but it's hard to know who should suffer, certainly not children. It would be disingenuous to say the least if Microsoft claim they are doing this to help education. It is either an attempt to buy their way in to the mind set of young, impressionable minds (which certainly should not be tolerated) or worse they are dumping crap and will use it as a tax write off. I suspect a mix of both.
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post #39 of 90
Why buy your kids a $249 Surface RT when you can get them a $249 Windows laptop that runs lots more software?

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post #40 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcolley View Post

That's what school kids need, a sorry cheaply made rotting in the warehouse tablet. Let the young suffer with them. They should have given them away as a total loss they are.

As terrible as the surface is, I don't think it's fair to call it cheaply made. From all accounts the hardware is actually nice. It is the software that lets it down, which is ironic seeing as Microsoft is a software company.
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