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back to article Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Microsoft is once again slashing the price of its unwanted ARM-based Surface RT fondleslabs. The software giant has shaved 30 per cent off the price of a 32GB RT device now $349 and 25 per cent off the 64GB RT, now $449. A 32GB Surface with a black Touch cover has been cut by 25 per cent to $449 and a 64GB unit with same black …

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Meh

Hmm

Tell you what lads. I've not bought one nearly every day since it came out. No, I'm wrong. It's exactly every day. Is that a big enough clue?

How about you give me $549. and I take it away? I'd be half interested in that deal.

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Re: Hmm

I wouldn't even take it then, give me $549 plus a couple of hundred extra to make up for its complete inability to run the much of free software I depend on and I might consider it.

The product has a negative value to me because you're paying to buy into a scheme where you have to pay to gain any extra functionality, and can't develop your own solutions.

Windows RT is garbage and always will be garbage, and the license restrictions over locked bootloaders make the hardware garbage and worthless too.

Windows RT / Surface isn't alone in this, so many products these days fall into what I would consider negative value, and I wouldn't want them even if somebody was giving them away.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

Windows RT is a much better OS than IOS and Android and it comes with a proper version of Office (now including Outlook) . It's a steal at this price compared to an iPad...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

Quite simply, why do people buy appliances then expect expandability, hackability and full control?

When you buy a TV you don't expect to be able to replace the built in software with your own and a TV isn't far off being what a tablet computer is (they have a screen and computer inside).

It's obvious that the decline of the "full power" computer is down to the fact that many of the tasks people used to want computers for aren't necessarily popular these days.

Many people bought computers to get online, they weren't really interested in DTP, video and audio editing, programming, scanning etc.

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Pint

Summertime 2013, and the weather is lovely

We're now halfway through Microsofts year of hell, and it's stories like this and the other one today about them throwing in the towel when it comes to competing with Google in the cloud, that makes me want to crack open a sixpack, pull up a deckchair in the garden, relax and enjoy the show.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Summertime 2013, and the weather is lovely

cheaper shit is still shit.

RT might be able to do things and do those things quite well. Then again you can install polaris office on a £60 ebay chinapad and run office apps if you so wish. The other £300 will buy a fair bit of blow and beer.

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That's because WunRT isn't useful.

Much as I like Windows 8, the apps on WinRT are abysmal. The Microsoft-authored apps are no better than the crap in the Windows Store.

There's simply no point, if I can't run desktop stuff.

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The El Reg Editor is asleep

23GB and iPod competitor ?

Review then publish. Come on El Reg.. You're better than this..

We all know WinRT could never compete with a 1st Gen iPod ;-)

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It's too big a gamble

$549 for a tablet running a relatively unloved operating system with a sword of Damocles hanging over it. If the RT had a Touchpad firesale and the price was slashed in *half*, I would be much more interested. But a Galaxy Note would be more appealing still...

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Anonymous Coward

shave

more like "shove it", Mr Ballmer.

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Joke

Re: shave

Well "throwing the RTs at attendees" is less lethal than throwing chairs

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Childcatcher

Re: shave

Well "throwing the RTs at attendees" is less lethal than throwing chairs

So not even useful in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Ouch.

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Re: shave

At least chairs are useful. On reflection, I'd much rather have a new chair.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: shave

The Surface RT does also make a good skateboard.

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Silver badge

I came close

The copy of office bundled with each one makes the proposition actually quite marginal, the salesman assured me the only crippled aspect was VBA macros. So a near-full Office (not a 365 license but a real install) with a laptop/tablet of decent spec, I will be reviewing it again if the price cuts hit the uk.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I came close

Bear in mind however that the office install is only licensed for personal use. This might suit your needs or not, but the equivalent price for office home and student used to be £80 for 3 (or was it 5?) installs - so its worth somewhere in the region of £25.

So far as I understand it, if you want to use it for work stuff, you need another full client license.

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Re: I came close

Also bear in mind the many reports that RT devices aren't really fast enough to run it well. Every review or comment from a user inevitably mentions typing lag. Hardly surprising with the quality of hardware it's running on and the total lack of effort adapting it to low spec hardware, tweaking chrome spacing does nothing for performance.

Its still mildly astonishing they even thought throwing in a dodgy copy of Office would sell the thing. After a decade of WinCE they know the classic interface doesn't work on these devices. It seems the Office guys couldn't get the new Metro UI to work for it in time - though I doubt they even tried, it's so damn impoverished as a toolkit. The speed hit of RT over 100% native code can't have been inviting either, something it took Google several years to address with the NDK (used in a frighteningly hi proportion of apps now).

Office on Surface RT just stinks of knee jerk traditional monopoly maintenance by Microsoft, not a considered, sensible plan.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I came close

"Also bear in mind the many reports that RT devices aren't really fast enough to run it well. Every review or comment from a user inevitably mentions typing lag."

That was fixed within a week or two of it being released in the US and well before it was fixed in the UK.

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Re: I came close re. MS Office Home and Student

used to allow three installs.

The current incarnation only allows one, and is more expensive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I came close re. MS Office Home and Student

Hmm, well isn't that a load of shite. I already thought £80 was a bit pricey for home use when it's only marginally more useful than libre office or google docs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I came close

"Also bear in mind the many reports that RT devices aren't really fast enough to run it well. Every review or comment from a user inevitably mentions typing "

It's less laggy and more responsive than any Android device I ever tried, such as the Nexus, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I came close

"used in a frighteningly hi proportion of apps now"

Eh?

How could that ever be frightening? There's a pretty clear case for when to use the SDK and when to use the NDK.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I came close, aka the salesman assured me

oh boy, this brings up sweet memories, of when a "the salesman assured me", twice:

1. philips nino (does it come with "Office"?, I asked). And "the salesman assured me" it did. Well, it was a good piece of kit anyway, not least because it ran on 2 x AA, and I used it as an e-book reader and notebook in some well-remote corners of the globe :)

2. mac-toy, one of those semi-blue-transluscent monitor-cum-computers. Can I run windows software on it? I asked (palmface, in retrospect). And "the salesman assured me", it would, indeed, via some oh-so-simple feature of windows on mac or such. Unfortunately (for him), by that time, I had already been attuned to the nuances of people "speaking the King's". And the ever-so-slight quiver in his voice gave him away, so instead of an i-boy, I became a pc-user.

So, ehm... whenever a "salesman assures me", I immediately snap to attention, because this is like an "Achtung! Minen!" sign popping up across a green-grass field (yes, don't mention the war or MS background themes)

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Unified message

Are MS aware that the instant they lower the price of something in America the entire world is aware of it thru' something called 'The Internet'. They might want to get onboard, there's load of good info on it like-

Tidal wave of hatred on Windows 8 months before it went on sale, demanding a start menu but just adding the button for the .1 upgrade

Screwing consumers over first sale rights and demanding once a day online verification when releasing a new games machine

Getting into bed with NSA then releasing Cloudy office and always on kinect.

Who, in the UK, Australia etc are going to buy a full priced RT when it's For Sale in USA?

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Re: Unified message

The irony is if you used the thing called the internet you'd see that it has already been discounted in the UK and Australia, its already been reported by other sites and PC World started advertising it this morning.

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Re: Unified message

Just barely! It's now doing the £ = $ thing when you take the discount into account.

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Re: Unified message

$349 doesn't equal £279

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Mushroom

Re: Unified message

"$349 doesn't equal £279"

Yes it does - Exactly in fact. $349 / 1.50 Exchange rate + 20% VAT = £279

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Re: Unified message

When people post $=£ they generally aren't referring to exchange rates but the opposite, that price points between regions don't seem to take into account exchange rates.. Prior to the UK price cut the Tablet was £399 putting it in the $=£ ball park when compared to the US $349 + sales tax discounted price.

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To be discontinued…

Hurry while stocks last: this product will not receive updates or qualify for support. Oh, and you can't do anything useful or fun with it.

That should have the punters whipping their wallets out.

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A bit behind the ball

The UK price was cut today to £279 for the 32GB version and its been known for a couple of days before hand.

Its not often HotUKDeals breaks the news before the media.

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Re: A bit behind the ball

...it is however a very common occurrence they break the news before The (always late to the party) Register ;)

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Anonymous Coward

re: the desktop would “go away” over time

"Microsoft's cheerleader-in-chief predicted the desktop would “go away” over time"

But when it does, so does Windows. The desktop is all it has going for it. When we no longer need our legacy apps, we are no longer tied to an MS OS!

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Happy

Re: re: the desktop would “go away” over time

In fact, the desktop will not go away. It is the arena in which all productive work is done, as opposed to the consumption of someone else's output, which can mostly be done with only a browser.

It may well be true that Microsoft needs the desktop, but the desktop does not need Microsoft. OSX and Linux offer perfectly viable alternatives - including support for lots of legacy apps. I am not in the slightest troubled by the prospect of MS's demise on the desktop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: the desktop would “go away” over time

"OSX and Linux offer perfectly viable alternatives "

For you maybe, and some small percentage of home users. But not for 99% of businesses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: the desktop would “go away” over time

I personally can't see that tablet and portable machines have the power and enough user interface to be able to do programming, 3D graphics (CGI) etc.

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Microsoft Price Policy

Some Microsoft employees have decided that competing with Google on price is commercial suicide.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/15/microsoft_office365_versus_google/

I can understand Microsoft focussing on customers for whom money is no object. The problem is that Surface RT is the wrong product for that market. The version of Office does not support the features required by locked in customers, and is not licensed for commercial use. None of the legacy software runs on it either.

If you turn it around, and look for the market that could be interested in the hardware, then the potential customers are Linux hackers, Android users and the Linux on Azure users. Only the last of those is not price sensitive, and I would be surprised to hear there are more than a dozen of them.

Microsoft have to choose between Surface RT becoming a cheap Linux box without Office or landfill RT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft Price Policy

"The problem is that Surface RT is the wrong product for that market"

Hence why it is not targeted at that market - Surface RT is for consumers. That is what the surface Pro is for. And as soon as they bring out one with the new generation Intel processors i'm buying one...

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Re: Microsoft Price Policy

Microsoft have to choose between Surface RT becoming a cheap Linux box without Office or landfill RT.

Well the first is not going to happen. MS was never going to let you install another OS on this thing. Just why they thought selling a locked-down ARM tablet with no software ecosystem to speak of (having "Office" hardly counts, given the licensing terms and the fact that's it's restricted in other ways) was going to work is a mystery to me. Just who was it supposed to appeal to? Perhaps they made all those silly ads first and the various departments heads got carried away with how cool it seemed (to them) that they just had to go and build the damned thing.

There could have been a third option, and that would have been to announce a new cross-platform layer in Windows 8 and guarantee that all apps developed within the framework would work seamlessly across both ARM and x86 systems (and call it "Windows 8 Anywhere" or even use "Windows One" as an umbrella term to indicate the stuff will run on any of the MS/W8 platforms, including the new XBox) . Technically, the three main options for doing it would be (a) machine code translation like qemu (which the ARM/RT platform isn't up to doing well enough), (b) fat binaries that compile to both target platforms (like Apple did when it migrated between hardware platforms, twice), and (c) compile everything into a platform-agnostic bytecode that can be JIT-compiled into native code on the target platform at near-native speeds (eg, like Dalvik on Android). A consequence of this would have been no backwards compatibility on the RT platform, but if MS was really serious about it, they could totally have pushed everyone to adopt this "Windows One" (or whatever you want to call it) approach as part and parcel of taking the Windows 8 pill.

Unfortunately, as we can see from history (eg, .NET, Silverlight), even (or should that be "especially?") a behemoth like MS finds it very hard to do portability/interoperability. And anyway, even though it often pays lip service to these goals, in reality that's not what it wants. Rather, it wants to lock you in to its own proprietary solutions while spreading FUD about patents and whatnot to actively prevent interoperable implementations (which is why, for example, Mono on Linux is seen as such a bad idea for so many people). Besides the technical challenges, for this to be a success would require a large amount of bravery on the parts of the team tasked with developing Windows 8 all the way up to Ballmer. I simply think that there's no way they'd have to stomach to bet the farm so heavily on this sort of "Windows One" concept and risk making Windows 8 even more hated than it already is. The evidence for that is there: just look at the split personality that the Windows 8 desktop has as the prime example.

So I think I'll have to agree that landfill is probably the most likely final destination for most of these machines. In a few years time, my guess is that the App store will go away as the machine is quietly end-of-lifed so RT won't even be much use as a museum piece.

/my €0.02

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Happy

It's all about price.. and they're nearly there

I bought a Lenovo Yoga 11 when they dropped the price by half, but would have taken a Surface if it was priced to sell. I don't play games, so can't really comment on the quality/quantity of apps, but HTML5 web-apps work just fine.. and it is nice to have MS office on a tablet that runs for two days without a recharge.

The only thing stopping a proper price-cut, is the threat of "price dumping" from Apple lawyers, but that will come once it is firmly established that the market-price for WinRT is just a few dollars. There will be no walking away from Windows on ARM..

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Silver badge

Clue up

The Register doesn't understand Windows 8 or RT. For example: "Problem is, it cannot run existing Windows apps".

What does it sound like when you criticise other devices because they don't do things they're not supposed to do? The Ipad: "Problem is, it cannot run existing Macintosh apps". What about Android tablets? "Problem is, it cannot run existing Windows, Linux or Macintosh apps". To those who understand, that's what the criticism of RT is like.

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Re: Clue up

Problem is Microsoft made such a song and dance about cross-platform compatibility of the different flavours of Win8 across desktops, laptops/notebooks/ultrabooks, tablets and phones etc, but forgot to (or in any case didn't) explicitly, specifically and loudly exclude Win8RT from that.

Apple have always distinctly kept OSX and iOS separate, ditto Google for Android and Linux. This may be changing in the future as things converge and devices get more powerful (and possibly someone figures out the good way to univerally get user input on smaller devices), but for the moment the only platform that has the indistinct separation is Windows.

Had MS called Win8RT something more distinct (and made it a more stand-alone item) then things may be less muddled and Joe and Jane Public could make a more clear choice.

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WTF?

Re: Clue up

> iPad can't run Macintosh apps

But Apple have never *implied* that they could. Microsoft have been obfuscating the hell out of this attempting to get us to infer that an RT slablet is just like Windows -- even the name is "Windows" RT.

How on earth is a bog-standard person supposed to know the difference between a "Windows 8" PC, a "Windows RT" tablet and a "Windows Pro" tablet?

It restores my faith in the market that Microsoft's strategy has so obviously failed.

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Facepalm

Missing the point

Regardless of anything Microsoft has or hasn't done, should a tech journalist think that not being able to run legacy apps is a problem when the device is not designed to run legacy apps? If they thought that advertising it as something which could run legacy apps was the problem (it wasn't advertised that way), they should have written that. To be fair to the editorial team, the standard of reporting of Windows across the whole internet is generally pretty low, so they might not be able to get anyone better. But journalists shouldn't be confused by the tablet OS looking like the desktop OS (just because Apple does it differently, doesn't make MS wrong), and they shouldn't extend the confusion to their readership by calling it a problem when the tablet fails to work as a desktop.

I hope it's not "Joe and Jane Public" writing these articles.

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Re: Clue up

Microsoft made a big song and dance about Metro and Metro Apps working across all flavours of Windows 8 not desktop software.

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Re: Clue up

Nope, MS took care to not be specific so readers would jump to conclusions. If anything it's hurt them badly, when the false conclusions many reached were proven false those same people jumped to the false conclusion it was a problem across the whole Win8 line!

They just tried the same scam with XBone but botched it more badly, not enough people imagined the wonders a tightly DRMed digital distribution model might bring. Interestingly MS still haven't officially commented on what those wonders might have really been, just left it to the rumour mill and had unconfirmable employee comments seed that mill.

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WTF?

Re: Clue up

Shirley you can't be serious! It looks like you guys actually want your journalists not to understand their subject.

If people thought Surface RT could run windows legacy software then not running that software would not be a problem when it comes to generating sales - there would be returns instead. It's an Ipad competitor (on price, format and position within stores (next to the other tablets) as well as functionality), so not running non-tablet apps is not a problem. I know it's fashionable to hate Microsoft, but when you let the hatred take you outside the bounds of reality it just makes you look ignorant.

In what possible world does this make sense: "This tablet can't run legacy apps so I'll buy an Ipad instead."

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£50

I'll give you £50 for one Microsoft, wouldn't pay any more.

I'm actually thinking of buying a new, small form factor laptop but given that I can get a really nice one from PCSpecialist for ~£500 - why on earth would I buy a surface RT for only £150 less?

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Re: only £150 less

£220 less - Surface RT costs £279 in the UK, that's near half the price of your £500 laptop.

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