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8/5/2013
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Microsoft Surface Pro Price Drops $100

Microsoft tries to boost Surface Pro tablet sales by cutting prices $100 during important back-to-school shopping period.

10 Ways Microsoft Could Improve Surface Tablets
10 Ways Microsoft Could Improve Surface Tablets
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Microsoft on Sunday slashed $100 off the price of the Surface Pro tablet. The 64-GB model is currently available for $799, either directly from Microsoft or several big box retailers. The 128-GB model is now $899.

The device's Touch Cover and Type Cover keyboard accessories are still being sold separately, at $119.99 and $129.99 respectively.

Microsoft confirmed to the Verge website that the discount will run until August 29. The price cut arrives in time to take advantage of the back-to-school rush, which is traditionally a heavy period for device sales. It could also persuade on-the-fence business users to finally take the plunge, and might also indicate that an updated Surface Pro is imminent.

[ While Microsoft tries to save the Surface Pro, IT pros want the company to save something important to them. Read IT Pros To Microsoft: Save TechNet. ]

Still, Microsoft's tablet hasn't sold well. With competitors also pushing their back-to-school wares, the Surface Pro's outlook isn't necessarily optimistic, even with the discounted price.

The $100 reduction follows a steeper $150 price cut to Microsoft's Surface RT. The RT's drop was widely interpreted as evidence of the device's failure in the market. To cover the losses, Microsoft reported a $900 million write-down in its most recent quarterly report, and CEO Steve Ballmer later admitted the company overestimated Surface RT demand.

It's been clear that the Surface Pro hasn't set any sales records, but it's been better received the Surface RT, and there had been speculation that its sales were somewhat healthier. This proved not to be the case, which became clear when Microsoft filed its annual 10-K report with the SEC. The filing revealed that the Surface Pro and Surface RT earned only $853 million combined, confirming that both tablets have fared poorly.

With students shopping for school supplies, the discounts might help Surface Pro sales, however. More business-oriented than the Surface RT, Microsoft's Pro tablet can run desktop software and features the same Intel i5 processor found in many laptops. For college students that want to travel light while remaining productive, and who aren't dissuaded by the relatively weak selection of apps in the Windows Store, the Surface Pro could be a nice option, especially with Windows 8.1 on the way.

Still, the $100 price cut saves customers less than if Microsoft had simply offered keyboards for free. Productivity is a big part of the tablet's appeal, and to be productive, one of the keyboards -- probably the more expensive Type Cover -- is a prerequisite.

With either keyboard, the 128-GB model is still more expensive than the base 128-GB MacBook Air, a device popular with both students and BYOD workers. Apple's sleek laptop weighs slightly more than the Surface Pro but boasts a 9-hour battery life, thanks to Intel's new Haswell chip. The Surface Pro uses an older, less power-efficient processor, and is thus subject to a number of design compromises -- including poor battery life that caps out around four hours.

Haswell, though, could be one of the reasons for the price reduction. Ballmer has already confirmed that new Surface models are coming, and among the probable upgrades to the Surface Pro, a cutting-edge processor is the most obvious. The price discount could have as much to do with eliminating Surface inventory as with capitalizing on the back-to-school frenzy.

By later this fall, Haswell chips will be found in a number of devices, including a variety of Windows 8 tablets. To keep pace, it's likely that Microsoft will refresh the Surface Pro sooner rather than later. In the meantime, it remains to be seen if the Surface Pro's new price will drive sales.

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User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2013 | 6:00:20 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro Price Drops $100
An Airbook is cheaper, better specs and can run both OS-X and Windows via Bootcamp. Or you could get a touchscreen convertible ultrabook for about the same price. MS just isn't competitive. That shouldn't have been any surprise to them with the way they priced the Surfaces. And the Surface RT did more harm than good by causing a lot of consumer confusion. They should have done what Apple does/has done which is release one easy to understand product first and then later the variants.
anon5831355883
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anon5831355883,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 5:31:30 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro Price Drops $100
I hope they refresh soon. I like the Pro but can't live with a 4 hour battery life. Although ChristopherW393 has good point that there are still lots of alternatives at even this (reduced) price.
ANON1238709573295
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ANON1238709573295,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 3:37:46 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro Price Drops $100
When oh when is M$ board going to wake up and realize a new model of Ballmer needs to come instead! Balmer has to be one of the most useless CEO's ever, talk about the fall of Microsoft ever since he took over!!!
Christopher R Weiss
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Christopher R Weiss,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 3:22:43 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro Price Drops $100
There is nothing distinctive about Microsoft's offerings to appeal to consumers. Since an ultra book or small laptop is actually more useful and significantly cheaper than a Surface Pro, and a Surface RT is effectively crippled, Microsoft is a victim of its own operating system success. When I have to refresh my laptop, I will be getting a laptop and not a surface pro. Dell has a decent laptop with a touch screen for $400 and it runs the full version of all MS software. A surface pro runs about $1000 or so. It is no mystery why MS tablets have struggled.

It seems like everything Microsoft and the net has been late in arrival. They were late with their browser, late accepting common standards, late moving products in general to the net, late with a music player, late with phones, late in getting cloud offerings, and late with a functional tablet. It seems they have forgotten one of the keys to success - be early!

Many of Microsoft's products are very good, but since they are playing catch up rather than leading they cannot steal enough market to make a difference. Rather than being just "very good," they would have to revolutionary. Nothing Microsoft has produced recently could be called revolutionary. Fortunately for them their OS still dominates the enterprise.
Vitalyg149
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Vitalyg149,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 2:58:06 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro Price Drops $100
no one cares
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