Why Schools Could Save Windows RT - InformationWeek
Why Schools Could Save Windows RT
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User Rank: Apprentice
8/10/2013 | 3:35:12 PM
re: Why Schools Could Save Windows RT
Microsoft would do well to discontinue this device. They made this device, which wasn't bad, they advertised A LOT, and sales were horrible. What are they going to improve to get people to buy this tablet? Reducing the price is a short term remedy, but what does that accomplish? Microsoft needs a reason for this tablet to be special, it needs to offer a unique feature that will entice people to buy it. Even if Microsoft does make device improvements, I doubt they can make the windows RT tablet a viable competitor in the market. It has already been throughly rejected. Let it go to focus on other battles.
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
6/20/2013 | 6:40:27 PM
re: Why Schools Could Save Windows RT
Thanks for the comment, melgross. You bring up some good points.

I think it depends on what the school prioritizes. Sure, not ALL schools are going to act on price alone. LA Unified is a case in point; the iPad - and its superior app experience - won out, despite Microsoft appealing directly to the district's decision makers. But in other cases - such as Clear Creek Independent School District in Texas, which we wrote about a few weeks back, and which was also mentioned in the "tablets at work" story we ran yesterday - schools have opted for Windows 8 devices because they offer the cheapest combination of tablet mobility, Internet access, and laptop-style word processing. So while I agree that iPads might be better educational devices for certain applications, some schools have already shown that Windows tablets offer a value proposition that fits what they're trying to achieve. The customers who will decide on price might not constitute the entire market, in other words, but they're still there, and they're still numerous.

As for the sustainability of the Windows RT pricing, I agree: prices this low are not sustainable. As I suggested in the article, Microsoft is probably dumping inventory while hopefully enticing a few people - and developers - to give RT a new look. But if some schools invest in RT during this fire sale, they might stick with RT when it comes time to refresh devices, especially since by then, Microsoft will have either gotten its app ecosystem in order or sent RT the way of Zune.

But Redmond can still take a lesson about pricing away from this sale. At its original price, virtually no one wanted the Surface RT. Now that it's a lot cheaper, interest has increased. When the next Surface RT comes around, Microsoft needs to find a middle ground-- cheap enough to sustain interest, but not so cheap that it's shooting itself in the foot. Some analysts - Dave Johnson at Forrester is one - believe that the Modern UI app economy is the real value proposition here, not the devices, and I agree. So I think it could make sense for Microsoft to accept very low margins in order to stimulate growth elsewhere in its ecosystem. Maybe a new Surface RT that maintains the original's build quality but runs $299 or so.

But we'll see. My point in the article wasn't to suggest that Windows RT will definitely succeed in schools; rather, I was pointing out that this is the OS's first clear growth opportunity in a while.
User Rank: Ninja
6/20/2013 | 5:39:57 PM
re: Why Schools Could Save Windows RT
You make a serious mistake when you assume that price is the most important issue, if it's even a major issue at all. In the LA U case, other tablets running other OS's, including RT and Win 8 were tried. The results of the trial were overwhelmingly in favor of the iPad, with both teachers and students preferring it by a wide margin.

That is much more important than the artificial low price that Microsoft is offering now. In fact, that price is below Microsoft's costs. In other words, it's just a come-on, the pricing can't be sustained.

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