Much has been said in recent days about the “mysteries” surrounding the presentation of Microsoft Surface, the official Windows 8 tablet. The talk among the media is the reason that the company has not announced a specific price range for this product, leaving a vague reference to “comparable device”. The reasons why neither Ballmer nor Sinofsky offered a clearer answer on this issue could be many, from hardware unfinished definitely and open to modifications to reduce production costs, to an injunction pending a drop in component prices for that the so-called Bill of Materials to allow the Surface economic performance without affecting too much the pockets of consumers.
Unfortunately there is another possibility, namely that when the time of its launch, Microsoft’s tablet has a very high price, if that announcement was made it could dispel the interest raised by the platform. DigiTimes rumor experts have been researching and asking questions in its supply chain, which in the past has managed to provide very precise information of the state of the industry, and found a nasty surprise: Microsoft Surface could cost $599 for its ARM version based on NVIDIA Tegra 3, climbing up to $799 for x86-based version of Ivy Bridge chips. If confirmed, this price would remove much of the attractiveness of the platform by the U.S. giant to the point of leaving it as a secondary option compared to competing devices.
The report goes further and says that mass production of devices is not yet complete and the company’s estimates for volume manufacturing cost are still not done, which ODM Pegatron that at a time it would be responsible for although at first there was speculation Compal would be responsible for assembling Surface.
Although there are no details on the cost of materials, it is expected that Microsoft’s decision to opt for housings made of high strength magnesium or complexity of the “Touch Cover” that make up a multitouch interface could be responsible for the device to not be more economical in the price spectrum, such as 400 to $ 500, which would increase sales output of Surface. By comparison, only high-end devices like Infinity Prime Transformer are priced so high, being more common to find in that range tablets with extra storage, wireless broadband connectivity and various accessories.
Faced against iPad, Galaxy Note 10.1 and the like, Microsoft should have used a more aggressive pricing strategy for a niche market, something which can not be achieved solely by its operating system, no matter how more advanced it can get with respect to the competition. Will react in time?