Microsoft to Charge Device Makers $80 - $95 for Windows 8 RT Version - Report

Pricing of Microsoft Windows 8 RT May Undermine Success of Tablets on Its Base

by Anton Shilov
06/14/2012 | 07:13 PM

While many market observers expect the highly-anticipated Windows 8 RT to change the landscape of media tablet market, it looks like it will not due to rather high price that Microsoft Corp. plans to charge makers of slates and other devices. With a price-tag of up to $95 per copy, Windows 8 RT-based tablets will be simply too expensive compared to their Google Android-powered rivals.


It is not a secret that Microsoft charges PC makers a lot less for operating systems than it does in case of end-users as the former buy licenses in huge volumes; in many cases the cost of entry-level Windows versions is between $30 and $50. Microsoft Windows 8 RT is a version for ARM-based microprocessors that includes touch-optimized versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. According to a report by VR-Zone web-site, Windows 8 RT will cost staggering $80 - $95 depending on the manufacturer, with $85 being the most commonly quoted price.

While Windows 8 RT clearly brings a lot of value thanks to included components of the MS Office package, the $85 price-point will clearly make ARM-based Windows 8 RT tablets significantly more expensive than ARM-powered slates with Android since the latter operating system is free for manufacturers. Therefore, Apple iPad as well as Samsung Galaxy Tab and similar devices will continue to be desirable for their price that start at around $399.

An Asus tablet featuring Intel Cloverview/Clover Trail platform and Microsoft Windows 8

Considering the fact that neither Windows 8 nor Windows 8 Pro will feature Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, it is logical to assume that they will cost PC makers less, but will only work with x86 chips by AMD or Intel. As a result, for many makers of tablets in some cases it will make more sense to utilize Intel Atom Z-series system-on-chips for slates and install regular Windows 8 than to use ARM processors. Still, since x86 SoC are more expensive than ARM microprocessors, tablets based on Atom will also unlikely be truly affordable.

Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.