Microsoft Surface: Don't believe every price you see

Microsoft Surface: Don't believe every price you see

Summary: There are very few things we know about Microsoft's coming Surface PC/tablet devices. Pricing is not one of them.

TOPICS: Tablets, Microsoft, PCs

Here's what we know about the Microsoft Surface so far for sure: Microsoft has designed the product. There will be two versions: One based on ARM and one on Intel. There will be covers that double as keyboards. And the Windows RT ARM-based one will be available on or around October 26, the date when Windows 8 is generally available.


The list of what we don't know is much longer. At the top of that list is battery life and pricing. And despite the publication by a Swedish retail site of supposed list prices for Surface this week, we still do not know Microsoft's planned pricing for these devices, beyond the vague guidelines company officials provided in June (that they will be in line with comparable products in the ARM tablet and Intel ultrabook arenas).

TechieBuzz got the Swedish site, Webhallen, to admit that the 32 GB Surface price of about $1,000-plus listed on its site was just a made-up number. Here's what Webhallen told reporter Paul Paliath:

"Our customers are very interested in pre-ordering these products, so we have set a high preliminary pricing for the lineup so that they may be able to pre-order them.

"Just to clarify, we have not recieved any pricing from Microsoft regarding MRSP or purchasing net cost, and any people who have booked the Surface at this high price will of course have their order adjusted before any product is shipped. So we’re not going to overcharge anyone for being an early adopter."

All we know for a fact about Microsoft's Surface distribution plans is that Microsoft will sell the Surfaces at its two-dozen (so far) Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores, plus via select Microsoft online stores. CEO Steve Ballmer told CRN earlier this month that any resellers or others who want to offer the Surface to their customers will have to buy the products from Microsoft (at the stores or online) and then make them available to their customers.

I heard from one of my readers this week that Microsoft may be distributing a few Surfaces to a few key developers to get them excited about the product. But I heard from another reader that the Surfaces are on total lockdown and Microsoft didn't allow any non-Microsoft employees to see or use Surfaces at recent Microsoft events, including its partner show and the MGX sales conference last week.

I asked Microsoft if anyone outside the company has been supplied with demo units and/or are allowed to preorder the devices at this point and received a no comment from a spokesperson.

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Thank you Mary Jo!

    I've been telling people since that broke a few days ago that's it doesn't make any sense. I suppose it makes sense that Microsoft will allow a company to resell, but they still have to buy it from the Microsoft Store. I would reckon that might make it slightly more expensive to buy it from a non-Microsoft/Windows Store, but not $1,000 expensive.
  • I feel bad for all those who got so excited at AKH's story

    For a while, they were so excited at having "proof" that MS Surface was going to fail because of a high price. Those hopes were dashed. Let's all offer a moment of silence to the rabid MS haters who are dejected and depressed at this news.
    • yes, AKH made it sound like absolute truth

      I am not sure why AKH and SJVN end up talking about Microsoft more than their own fan areas. The product has to stand on its own, than making the other look bad. Almost all articles from AKH and SJVN lack objectivity, it is all about why Microsoft is bad, Windows 8 is fail, blah blah blah. Wish there was a filter to block everything coming from this two on the net.
    • Do you

      Often spend time fantasizing about Steve "monkeyboy" Ballmer in his tighty whiteys? Your devotion to a Mega corp, borders on religious fervor.
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • A typical ABM nonsense

        Deflecting from the original topic and resorting to name calling. I see you failing.
        Ram U
        • These people are everywhere

          First we had some guy called Jumpin Jack Flash who just went around spewing his hatred and now I see we have yet another character doing the same thing.
        • Maybe not typical

          There's partisan drivel everywhere, but people usually only object to the drivel from the opposition.

          ABMer and proud of it.
          John L. Ries
          • 2nd ABMer

            And proud of that, too.

            And since MS has the most obnoxious ones here (like todd's bottom), they get bashed more.

            Even with 90% of the market already in their hands, they are that insecure.
          • Insecure is making it a point to visit every MSFT article you can find and

            leave a trail of slime across the comments section.

            I won't umbrella statements about Apple users.
            It's just a few stray Bad Apples that are so miserable with their insignificant little lives that have to resort to this to make themselves feel better.
            milo ducillo
          • Insecure is making it a point to answer every post I make

            and leaving your own set of scaredy-cat bullshit in the wake of it.

            That 2% marketshare is the biggest marketshare known to mankind. It makes Windoze fanbuis here tremble with fear instead of treating it as an 'insignificant', non-threatening alternative to Windows

            That's why it's good to know that 'puny' 2% occupies so much space in your head. That the 2% refuse to be Borg-absorbed by the Windoze cultists. That to 2% has you so easily pwned like the little bitch that you are.
      • Jumping Jacks

        Jack, you obviously love jumping over your own flash.
        • Better to jump over

          Than go through...

  • Tech Support

    Something else we don't know: who will provide the tech support and implement warranty repairs if there are any problems?
    • Other things we don't know

      Will the Surface have spring loaded razor blades that fly out at random times to slice the person holding it? We don't know and Microsoft isn't saying. The fact that Microsoft is silent on this issue pretty much proves that the Surface WILL have spring loaded razor blades in it.
      • My favorite post ever

        This has got to be one of the best comment posts I have ever read.
      • My God, I hope so...

        ...because then I can go all ninja on my iPad-loving enemies. As in...

        "Hey check out my new tablet that kicks the iPad's @$$!"
        "No way, nothing could do that, let me see this hunk of fail!"
        **activate razors**
        "Yeah, it has a built-in douchebaggery sensor."
      • LOL!

        LOL! That was great, but I wasn't thinking of consumers, I was thinking of large IT departments that purchase, say, a couple thousand Surface tablets.

        In this case, support and warranty issues become very important for the total average cost per tablet, especially when talking about portable devices (which get banged around a lot) with SSD drives (which have a higher failure rate than spinning platter drives).
        • If they break

          And they will. You must bow and kiss Ballmers ring, and ask for the Privilege of buying replacement units at retail. You should have known to buy three times the number than you needed.
          Jumpin Jack Flash
      • LMAO!

        That was great!

        Thanks for the laugh!
        William Farrel
        • Wanna know what sad is?

          You creating multiple screen names to vote yourself up, and then responding to your self. Your big mistake was responding using the wrong name....
          Jumpin Jack Flash