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Microsoft Reveals Surprisingly Expensive Surface Pricing

As October 26 approaches, more details about the Microsoft Surface are trickling out of Redmond, along with an early review of the firm's long-awaited Windows 8 OS from Walter Mossberg. The latest information concerns the tablet's pricing—and it ain't pretty, especially given that the iPad mini is expected to arrive three days before, and cost around half the price while stealing twice the thunder. From noon EST today, you'll be able to pre-order the Surface, and it'll be shipping to Canada, Australia, China, France, Germany, the U.K., and Hong Kong, as well as the U.S.

Let's just toss the yet-to-be-seen mini aside for the moment, and focus on the 10-inch tablets, the Surface's real rivals. As well as the Kindle Fire, a rumored Google-Samsung 10-inch Nexus will be jockeying for position beside the Surface—and all of them are cheaper than Microsoft's offering. A basic 32GB Surface will set you back $499, add a black Touch cover and it's $599. The 64GB version and Touch cover is $699. Colored Touch covers cost $119.99, and a Type cover with moving keys costs $129.99. And then there's the adapters, coming in at $40. So, so far, so expensive.

Anyway, let's move back to the special event that Apple is holding on October 23. Let's assume that Apple (which is better than most tech firms at keeping secrets) has chosen this date to launch the iPad mini. Then it's already game over for Microsoft. It's spent the best part of half a decade working on a tablet computer—remember the beautiful, yet-shelved-indefinitely Courier device that we all went waa-woo-wee-waa over? The Surface is nothing more than an iteration of that. And, next Tuesday we'll find that Apple has moved the goalposts once again.

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  • Brian Anderson

    I'm less interested in the device itself and more interested in how Microsoft will support it for deployment in the enterprise.  Unless an actual fist emerges from the device and punches the IT person who's deploying it in the face, there's no way it can be worse than iPad deployment.

  • Stoney Heflin

    What goalposts are Apple moving?  I think these pundits are so enamored with Apple that they don't even realize that Apple (which dont get me wrong is a GREAT company)  is the one playing catch-up this time.  The larger iPhone is in response to already existing Andriod devices that have been outselling iPhone for a year.  The smaller iPad is in response to the  success of Nook and Kindle.  Here is a shocking revelation - what if (dramatic pause) the Surface is better than the iPad?

  • Lloyd Moritz

    Ridiculous analysis, especially to say that with the iPad mini "it's already over for Microsoft". What you fail to see is that Microsoft is going for the higher end, developing tablets that can truly replace laptops. In that case, the prices for both the Surface RT and the forthcoming Surface Pro are reasonable. Microsoft is wise in not trying to copy or compete directly against the lower end iPads and Android tablets, but carve out a different niche. Android tablet makers have most to lose with the iPad Mini, not Microsoft.

  • daylebo5

    this seems a completely onside article from an apple fan boy. How does apple releasing an ipad mini mean failure for the surface? I agree the price range seems high but it's competing with the ipad which is around the same price. I think the new 'metro' interface and the touch cover will be big selling points...

  • Besplatan

    Surface is closer to iPad 2 than the new iPad in terms of processing power and screen resolution, while being way waaaaay behind in apps. Also, Microsoft's track record in mobile is essentially 100% fail.

    So yeah, $499 is too expensive for Surface but not for the new iPad.

  • Stoney Heflin

    iPad 3  - Dual-core 1.0GHz processor with 1GB RAM. Surface - Quad-core 1.4GHz processor with 2GB RAM...   so how do you figure?   I am very interested to see straight up benchmarks between the A5X and the Tegra T30 processors. As it stands with twice the cores and twice the operating memory and plenty of GPU I don't think your claim holds any water on performance. Video on the iPad 3 is much better than that of Surface but I care more about performance than resolution that is not even detectable for 95% of the content that's out there.

  • Cody Myers

     Agreed. If MS had included the cover in that price of $499...I'd be on the fence about whether this was too expensive or not.  The thing MS has going for it is that it is still the full Windows OS inside...I can use Word, Excel, etc. fully.  If only google would produce a Nexus 10, and somehow get MS Office on it, then I'd be a happy camper. All my apps, with the one thing I really need from MS...Office.

  • Ming Kang Chen

    Too bad $499 for the 32GB Suface is the same price as the 10-inch 16GB iPad.

    I suppose the iPad has failed as well.