Prices of Windows RT-Based Tablets Collapse in the U.S.

Dramatic Price Drops of Windows RT-Based Tablets May Signal Failure of the Platform

by Anton Shilov
04/04/2013 | 11:41 PM

Microsoft Corp.’s Windows RT platform has not managed to gain many supporters among hardware makers. Recently, Asus, Dell and Lenovo slashed pricing of their Windows RT-based tablets, which may signal either of two things: the companies are testing the demand for low-cost Windows RT tablets and want to see if low price results in higher sales; the platform has failed and they are selling-off inventory at discount.

 

Windows RT is a fully-fledged Microsoft operating system compatible with ARM-architecture application processors and incompatible with the vast majority of programs developed for Windows, something that clearly discourages anyone from using it. Not surprising that only Asustek Computer, Dell and Lenovo released Windows RT-powered mobile devices in the U.S. Either due to software limitations or high prices, sales of tablets and hybrids running Windows RT were so low that Samsung Electronics recently discontinued Windows RT-based tablets in Europe.

When Asustek’s VivoTab RT first became available, it cost $599. At present, the tablet costs $382 at Amazon and $549 at Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot, reports IDG News Service. Dell XPS 10 32GB used to be priced at $499, today its costs $449. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 was originally priced at $799, but today it is available for $599 from Lenovo and TigerDirect, whereas Amazon is selling the product for $499.

“Prices usually drop if products are made in volume, or if there is poor demand. I think you are seeing discounting based on user demand. I never thought RT was going to be that successful,” said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates.

Even Microsoft itself sold only 1.1 million Surface RT in about four months of availability, despite its starting price of $499. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that other companies, who were selling higher-priced WinRT-based devices, were disappointed with actual sales.

The question main question now is whether Asus, Dell and Lenovo are experimenting with demand flexibility and want to find out whether sales will get significantly higher with lower prices, or they just want to get rid of the inventory and quietly discontinue their Windows RT-based products.

Microsoft, Asus, Dell and Lenovo did not comment on the news-story.