I saw an interesting Google+ post from +Robert Scoble last night. His post is in response to Bloomberg reports that Google will be announcing an Asus-made Nexus-branded tablet at their I/O conference this week, and that it will be priced at $199.
Here’s Scoble’s post:
Now we know why Microsoft rushed its tablet announcement last week
This is why Microsoft didn’t announce a price for its Surface tablet last week. Imagine if they had announced a $399 price. This week that will look incredibly lame. It is very clear that Microsoft has to get under the $200 price point with its tablets. I’ve been saying that the ballsy thing for Ballmer to do would be to price it at $99. People have been telling me I’m nuts, but that’s really what it’s going to take to get Windows RT taken seriously by anyone.
Microsoft’s shareholders aren’t gonna like that at all. Remember how it cost Microsoft about $10 billion to build the Xbox brand? I do. Microsoft is going to have to spend $20 to $30 billion to marketshare here. That means a $99 tablet. If Microsoft tries to price against iPad it’ll fail and fail horribly.
I think Scoble might be right. Not that it’s at all likely to happen, but seeing how people were all over the HP TouchPad each time it was offered at fire sale prices, I think he may well be right about that level being the only way for Microsoft to gain some real market traction – especially if the Bloomberg report proves accurate.
It looks like the low-price, non-iPad section of the tablet market may be heating up now with Nexus vs. Kindle Fire vs. whatever comes along next. And I agree with Scoble that Microsoft would be much better off competing down at this end rather than taking on the iPad with the Surface RT priced at similar or higher levels to equivalent iPad models.
What do you all think? What’s the right price point for the Surface RT to be successful at?