So here’s the thing, Microsoft are late coming to the tablet market, very late. And in a desperate attempt to make an impact where others have failed (notably RIM with its Playbook and HP with the TouchPad), the geniuses at Redmond have made the upcoming desktop version of Windows 8 look and feel like a tablet. The jury are currently out on what that means in terms of sales for Windows 8. However Microsoft is also betting big on the tablet version of Windows 8 called, for unknown reasons, Windows 8 RT. To make sure that Windows 8 RT is done the way it wants, Microsoft has taken the unusual step of bypassing its normal OEM partners and has started to make its own tablet. The Microsoft Surface was unveiled by Microsoft a few months ago and the key question that everyone has been asking is, how much will it cost?

Today, it looks like someone at Microsoft hit the wrong key because the company unexpectedly published a web page that showed the pricing of the Surface. It seems that Microsoft are trying to compete with the high end tablet makers as the the entry level tablet, with 32GB of storage, will cost $499. That is the same price as a third generation iPad but with only 16GB or an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ with 4G LTE Wireless and the same 32GB. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, which comes with a 1.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor and 2 GB RAM Memory, cost the same $499. There are also cheaper large screen Android tablets with SmartQ offering the dual-core T30, with 2GB of RAM and 10.1 inch – 1280 x 800 display for just $319.

Before the erroneously published page was taken down by Microsoft, some quick thinking people managed to take some screen shots. Anyone wanting the detachable touch-sensitive keyboard (known as the Touch Cover) will need to pay an extra $100 bringing the total to $599, while the 64GB version with the same touch-sensitive keyboard costs $699. The cover with the real keys costs an extra $129.

Is it me or does that look very expensive? For $699 I could buy three Nexus 7 tablets and still have change or I could get two Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ devices plus a Kindle eBook reader and still have money for a pizza and taxi home. And of course I could easily get a whole desktop PC with monitor etc.

Microsoft, it seems, has high hopes for the Surface. According to the Wall Street Journal Microsoft has placed orders to make 3 to 5 million Surface tablets this year. If Microsoft succeeds in selling that many it will be a good start considering the competition. However, even sales of 5 million aren’t that startling when you consider that Amazon are thought to have sold over 7 million Kindle Fire devices and Apple sold 17 million iPads in the first three months after its launch!

So here is my question for you. Will you be buying a Microsoft Surface tablet to compliment your Windows 8 desktop PC. And if not, is it because you think the pricing is too high? Please leave a comment below.

Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade and specializes in open source systems. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems. He has many years of experience in system design and development as well as system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years.
  • spunker88

    Microsoft had tablet PCs back in the early XP days. What you should say is Microsoft is late to the current generation of capacitive tablets.

    Over $100 for the keyboard cover, I guess Microsoft is trying to be the next Apple, thats way too expensive. I would possibly be interested in something that uses an x86/64 processor so I can run existing Windows programs and also have a regular bootloader so I can dual boot with Android x86, Linux, etc. IIRC the ARM (RT) tablets will be locked down and they can’t run programs that only exist on x86/64.

  • Microsoft shud start thinkin about making Windows 8 more developer friendly and attract as many developers as possible. More developers..more apps..more users..!!

    considering the price tag if true, then it is disappointing as MS is not an established player in the market neither is Windows 8. They need a miracle and lotzz of strategy(specially sales) to get out of it.

  • Pat Brown

    I have been saving for this tablet, because I for some strange reason tought it would a little bit reasonable.But I would never spend $500.00 dollars on a tablet nobody knows anything about.Shame on u Microsoft .

  • simone

    Too expensive >.<

  • zark00

    complete and utter fail – MS may as well just not release the Surface – it’s DOA already with that insane pricing. Way to bow to OEM pressure MSFT! Makes me sad – I was hoping MSFT would have a hit, but this is such a complete disaster – again, may as well just not even release it.

  • cheetose4

    Seems like the whole purpose of the surface is for Microsoft to squeeze a few pennies out of their fanboys – all 5 of them.

  • Emil

    Pass. Thank you.

  • Kormakur Danielsson

    Way too expensive.
    I can pick up a factory refurbished Iconia x86 tablet for $330 with a keyboard dock included.
    Thanks but no thanks.

  • Sean M.

    The price is right… I ordered two! I’ve been running Windows 8 since the consumer preview and the other devices can’t “touch” it.

  • Pierre

    Yes. For Sure. By the way…All the 250$ Andro{id tablets around are clunky, not very responding. The 500$ price is right on for the same quality that you would get with Apple or Androïd. And like someone mentionned, Microsoft is NOT to late in the game. Come on…real next gen tablets have been around for less than 4 years! … This comment always makes me laugh. Stop only beeing only a fan, and be more objective.
    As for accesories. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the name of the game in capitalism and consummer driven markets.
    By the way, I have an iPad, I love it. I tested some Androïd phones…loved some, hated much of them (remind me of the Windows do it yourself ecosystem in the 90s and 2000s)…
    I will definitively buy one Surface. And by the way…this is 1st Gen!

    • I’m pretty sure the Kindle fire HD and Nexus 7 arent clunky. The nexus 7 also has a quad core nvida tegra 3 processor which makes it one of the most powerful 7 inch tablet, and for only 199

  • AlrightMister

    Not only are you locked into the Surface OS, you are also locked into only MS approved apps from their store. It’s as though MS forgot that they made their bones making OS for open systems that users could install any application they wanted on. They are playing follow the leader with an app store model and that is why this will die. The price is not horrible but I’m not going to pay it to be locked into their system where they have decided that there is no legit use for bittorrent, as an example.

    Yes, skilled people in the user community may find a way around these limitations but who knows how long that will take if it will happen at all. Once it does happen, then we will be waiting for the apps that we want to be ported. By then how close will we be to Surface gen 2? I, along with most of humanity, will be sitting this one out.

  • jmuscel

    If those were the prices for the pro I would have ordered mine this morning. Too much for RT. Microsoft really messed this one up.

  • I wanted one until I saw the price, I’ll wait for the Pro if its like 699 or 799. Heres my thought on the RT, it’s an iPad with 1/6 of the apps in the app store, and able to run a watered down office apps. I don’t really see a price drop though, they will be like sony with the ps vita, they’ll keep on making excuses on why the tablet is fit for the price while the sale figures are way under predictions. Kind of hope it fails big time so that they will know to price the Pro better.

  • kingkaiser

    I love how the author of this piece takes the highest spec Slate (with accessories), and then compares it to others for his “Is it me or does that look very expensive” paragraph. Thats pretty unfair. A stock 64 GB iPad is $699 – a stock Slate 64 GB is $599 (or will be once it enters stores, and is sold without the cover). Now if we really want to slam MS, compare apples to oranges, then sure we can throw in accessories that I can assure you Apple doesn’t provide for free, but otherwise it seems that MS is pricing itself below at least one other high end manufacturer. I also checked out prices for the Samsung tab 64 GB (prices were all over the place, not sure why), but again it doesn’t seem that MS is pricing itself out.

    Not a fanboy (if anything, I’m most impressed by Android), and own multiple apple, samsung, and MS products – just dislike crap comparisons.

  • Pete

    “And in a desperate attempt to make an impact where others have failed (notably RIM with its Playbook and HP with the TouchPad)” You do realize that the PlayBook outsold the vast overwhelming majority of Android tablets released by a significant margin, right? Kindle Fire, Google Nexus and Samsung Galaxy Tab have done very well, but there are dozens upon dozens of Android tablets that have fallen on their ass.