Microsoft is not making things easy for tablet manufacturers once the Windows 8 OS line launches. It was rumored earlier that a Windows RT license would be offered for as low as $35, but according to Theo Valich from vr-zone, vendors are saying different, with a hefty fee being charged to companies that want to use the OS on tablets.
According to a number of vendors surveyed at Computex Taipei, the license fee for Windows RT is being quoted in the $80 – 85 range. This premium price tag will be a hard pill to swallow for a number of companies thinking of adapting the new Windows OS for tablet production.
I’m not quite sure what Microsoft is thinking if these ranges are accurate. If they’re intent on competing against Apple’s iPad, they need to reconsider their stance. At $85, it’s estimated that tablets would retail in the $549 – 799 range, with premium devices going as high as $899. These exorbitantly high fees price them well out of range for a lot of consumers. For a new player looking to make a splash in the market, they need an entry level device with an equally friendly price tag to match.
Microsoft isn’t doing anyone any favors – save for maybe Nokia, but that has yet to be seen – with not only the price tag, but the option to even obtain early access to a license to have more tablet options at or near launch. Bloomberg reported that Microsoft denied HTC early access to Windows RT, citing their lack of experience and ability to sell enough units. While it’s true that HTC’s foray into the tablet space has been rather quiet, they’re a high-end mobile device manufacturer, which seems to fall in line with what Microsoft has in store for Windows 8.
While the new iteration of Windows looks promising, they have a tough road ahead of them with the iPad dominating and Android OEMs offering sub-$300 tablets. Since this is Microsoft’s first venture into the tablet space,they don’t have an established presence in the market to build upon. It should be interesting to see what the official prices come out to be and how companies and consumers alike react to them.