If Microsoft hopes to make inroads in the tablet market, it's going about it in a very odd way: Pricing its products too high to gain much market share. The latest instance is the just-announced prices for the Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet, at $899 for a 64 GB version and $999 for the 128 GB version.
Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface, announced the pricing on the Official Microsoft Blog. He also announced that the Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available in January.
Those Surface prices, by the way, don't tell the true cost of the Surface models. Prices don't include a Touch Cover or Type Cover, which cost at least $120. So that puts the prices at $1019 for the 64 GB version and $1119 for the 128 GB version.
You can buy an iPad for $499 (with 16 GB only; it costs $599 for the 32 GB model, and $699 for the 64 GB model.) So why would you want to pay more than $1,000 for a Surface tablet?
The answer is that you wouldn't. At these prices, Surface Windows 8 Pro tablets are clearly aimed at enterprises, not the consumer market. And some analysts believe that Microsoft set the prices so high not in order to sell a lot of them, but to allow its competitor's prices to seem like bargains, and so help them sell plenty of those.
"The Surface Pro pricing leaves room for device makers to come down in price without compromising margins too much. This is an enterprise play, not a consumer play, at least for now."
One benefit of the Surface Windows 8 Pro over the RT-based Surface is that because it runs Window 8 rather than RT, it will run desktop apps, which the RT-based Surface won't do. But at more than $1,000 that's a steep price to pay. Enterprises can an buy Windows 8 notebooks or even ultrabooks for less money.
There's another problem with aiming the Surface Pro at the enterprise market: Enterprises aren't particularly keen on Windows 8 at the moment because it breaks so significantly with past versions of Windows. And in a BYOD world, there's no reason to choose a Windows-based tablet over an iPad.
The upshot? Because of its pricing, I don't expect the Surface Pro to be a winner.