Surface RT production cut in half as Microsoft announces ridiculously high priced Surface Pro

by: Gary SimsNovember 30, 2012

Sometimes I don’t know if to laugh or cry. Microsoft has been responsible in so many ways for shaping the way we work and play, but at the moment it really is struggling to find its feet. The Redmond company has released its ridiculously high pricing for the Intel based  Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro, while at the same time rumors are surfacing (sorry, no pun intended)  that Microsoft has ordered a cut in the production of its ARM based Surface RT tablets.

The  Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro will cost $899 for the 64GB version and $999 for the 128GB model. Other than the odd gold plated or diamond studded tablets that have been made especially for the insanely rich, these are the most expensive tablet on the market. Well done Microsoft, great way to launch a new product, make it the most expensive – ever.

With a budget of $899 it is possible to buy a 10.1 inch netbook with Windows 7 (for $250 or less), a Google Nexus 4 with a quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 4.7 inch display and an 8 megapixel camera (for $299) and buy a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (for $299) and still have change to take the whole family out for pizza. So either I buy an Intel based Surface tablet or I get a netbook, a smartphone and an Android based tablet for the same money… Hmmm… tough choice!

But the pain doesn’t stop there. According to an official tweet from Microsoft, the Surface Pro will have approximately half the batter life of Surface RT. To be fair, Microsoft are aiming the Surface Pro at the Ultrabook market and it does have a 1920×1080 full HD resolution display, a full-size USB 3.0 port and it will run your current Windows 7 desktop applications as it is a full PC.

As for the Surface RT, Microsoft’s attempt to enter the ARM based, low power consumption tablet market, the outlook (sorry, too many puns today) isn’t that good. According to sources from upstream suppliers of the Surface RT, Microsoft has cut the production in half. Microsoft wanted to sell four million Surface RT tablets by the end of 2012, but it has now changed its estimation (and therefore the production quota) to just two million.

Healthy competition is good, it spurs innovation. What would you suggest Microsoft does to get back on its feet in the tablet market.

  • xoj_21

    And they have failed, google should happy they gotta take the tablet 99 $ tablets frpm coby , aoc , and ainol are selling well in devwlooment countries

  • MasterMuffin

    people that think that the Surface PRO is too expensive don’t know what they’re talking about, it’s actually a cool ultrabook that can also work as tablet and it looks great (:D)

    • You can buy a Dell 13.3 inch XPS Ultrabook with 128GB Solid State Drive for just $799… Why would I pay $200 more? If I want a tablet I can buy the XPS and use the extra $200 to get a tablet.


      • MasterMuffin

        well true, but this is an ultra ultrabook :)

      • Mamamelo Chabruto

        But why carry two devices on my trips through 20 Chinese towns in 30 days when I could only take one? I could use it as an ultrabook to get work done and as a tablet to have a little fun on the trains between towns. I do think it should be a bit cheaper but would actually pay for what they are asking now.

  • Ban

    Come on this is just stupid. The processor alone will cost around 150$ and performance will be leaps and bounds ahead of even a15 based socs. HD 4000 compared to mali, massive gap in performance. It will probably be using a real ssd instead of eMMC based flash, again much more expensive and much better performance (look at older asus tablets lol). x3 cache. It also starts at 64GB, can’t even get a nexus 10 with that capacity. It’s obviously not cheap but it’s not priced cheekily, it’s a freakin ultra book not a normal tablet.
    Then there’s the software side, you can actually do something on it unlike android apps, both work, production and gaming.

    • Jose Hernandez

      What you said is correct, however Microsoft started making it look like this Surface Tablet is their competition to the Apple ipad and Google’s Android based tablets. The problem with that is that nobody on their right mind is going to spend all of that money to get a product they think is competing with tablets that are priced for over $500-$600 less. Now if Microsoft properly advertises the Surface for what it is (basically a full fetched computer) then everyone would understand that they have priced their offering correctly. All most people will think about is $1000.00 (give or take) for a freaking tablet?!?!?!?

      • Ban

        Yeah it’s true maybe they should make it more clear that it’s not really competing with the ipad and high end android tablets, cleary not even a tech journalist with 8 years of experience can understand that this is an ultrabook alternative and using ultrabook parts, which, as I mentioned, perform a lot better and cost a lot more.

        • I don’t think that is fair. The journalist is aware of the industry talk and Microsoft has clearly (here goes) muddied the waters, I think intentionally. They want people to look at the current tablets as cheap non-productive screens for gaming and see their own amazing MS device with similar design specs that can blow the aforementioned out of the water in productivity, gaming, and entertainment. Thing is that after netbooks started the first “race to the bottom” laptop pricing was all but decimated. The great majority of the buying public no longer wanted to spend anywhere near a grand for a laptop. We are already at the bottom with tablets, no one wants to fly up there for a convertible if it isn’t offering something new or groundbreaking. Microsoft is starting to clarify that their Surface tablet for Win 8 Pro is different than their other surface, so maybe things will change.

          I think a $1000 convertible ultra/tablet such as the Surface Win8 Pro is great. When I could afford it, I will jump on it.

          • Sorry, I didn’t see the author’s reply until after I posted. I basically said what he said.

    • Ban,

      I do point out that Microsoft are pitching this against Ultrabooks, but they are using the Surface branding and clearly it looks like and works like a tablet, so it is normal and justified to make comparisons with other tablets on the market.

      Also until you use one I would be cautious about declaring these to be a productive as Ultrabooks.


      • Ban

        Fair enough Gary. There is a good chance it won’t be as productive as ultrabooks but I think it’s safe to say it will be a good deal more productive than the tablets there are now and who knows maybe having stylus support would make it more productive in certain ways.

        • Ban, thanks for the reply. Ultimately the market will decide. But yes, the stylus seems to have been good for Samsung on the Note range… so I am sure it is a plus point for the Surface Pro.


    • Really? Last time I checked, Android has 750,000 apps available on it’s platform. Windows 8 on the RT side, It’s a barren wasteland.
      On the other side, Windows 8 does have access to Legacy apps. But to spend $899 on something that doesnt even have the keyboard INCLUDED in the price?
      Microsoft needs to get it’s head out of it’s ass and embrace reality, especially with it’s pricing.
      There are far better prices Ultrabooks with Windows 8 that provide better value, even at the more expensive end.
      To ask me to spend $900 on a device that doesn’t even include a keyboard is ridiculous, nuff said.

  • It’s expensive, but in return, I get:
    > intel i5, albeit a bit powered down, but still a freaking i5.
    > access to ALL x86 apps, like office, games, and other usefull stuffs like coding tool and etc. ( touch screen interface, with pen support. That means I can do photoshop and other activities with pen.
    > USB and keyboard support.
    > Good HD screen.
    > mobility. A netbook is mobile enough, but surface is better.

    I’m not sure there are other tablets that can offer all of these in one package, so I’m sure Surface Pro will sell well at $899. At least, from what I’ve seen, it’s not overpriced like Apple products.

    • you forgot that you get access to less than 4 hours of battery life

      • kiwi

        yepp, that’s the most important for me

        however it’s still not released yet, ms might do something about it, need some real word battery test.

      • If I need heavy CPU work, I’ll use electrical socket, just like when I use my laptop. Besides, we don’t know for sure how pro will perform at this point :)

    • A Dell 13.3 inch XPS Ultrabook with 4GB Memory & 128GB Solid State Drive costs just $799… Tell me the advantage of using a Surface Pro????


      • G Davis

        Advantage? Size, weight, Stylus for more advanced work, best of both worlds, Fll version of Windows and the Windows store, which is growing rapidly. I understand this is an Android forum, I have an Android tablet and love it, but the heavy Bias does not make good reporting

        • I think we will need to agree to disagree, please see my reply to your previous comment, I actually think you are getting the worst of both worlds, not the best.

          As for Android bias, this is actually a discussion about form factor and design, I haven’t once said anything about Android being better or more suited etc. My comments could easily be transferred to an iPad forum without any changes. That means this is actually good reporting!


      • Mainly stylus and x86 apps for me :)
        Should lift some of my graphic design weight.

        The alternative would be WACOM’s cintiq series which cost $1300++

  • fw

    You got it wrong. The Surface RT is made to be a tablet. HOWEVER, the Surface Pro is supposed to be an ultrabook/tablet hybrid. So it should be seen as a laptop/ultrabook, instead of a tablet. And it’s price is quite the norm for ultrabooks. So I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    • Fw,

      But Microsoft are using the Surface branding and clearly it looks like and works like a tablet, so it is normal and justified to make comparisons with other tablets on the market.

      Are Microsoft trying to create a new niche of expensive Ultrabook / Tablet hybrids… hmmmm, that is a risky strategy. I don’t think they will sell in the tens of millions….


  • Chris Quin

    Gary is right. If you want a tablet, buy a tablet – if you want a notebook, buy one. In fact you can have both for less money than this hideous hybrid.

    What can MS do ? Give us all a break and release Office for Android before Google does. Office is all you have to sell MS – I don’t want or need your OS or your hardware any more.

  • level380

    Another MS flop…… will go will with Windows 8!

  • fatyss

    android authority is getting stupid ,we are getting full fledged windows 8 not rt version, whole millions of old application will work on it .i think the price is write and yeah its got 4gb ram and intel processor which are more powerful than any arm on market . run benchmark of browser javascript on i3 processor it scores blows any arm browser benchmark.

    • I don’t think I am getting stupid, I actually feel quite alert at the moment, but thanks for checking!

      If I want a fully fledged Windows 8 experience I will buy a laptop or use a desktop. But as a tablet this is not going to work. Both Google and Apple use separate distinct operating systems on their tablet devices, the reason is that when you try to do a hybrid you don’t succeed at being good at either. And that is what the Surface Pro is. In my humble opinion.


  • AAisgettingworse

    What a shitty article. This is a tablet that can replace a laptop and is spec’d comparably to similar laptops. No android or iOS device can come close to matching the productivity of this thing, it has a perfect Microsoft Office. You know why it costs more than those 3 devices? Because it does more.

    • bob

      Also, people pay for the portability of an ultrabook compared to larger laptops. This is even more portable and can fulfill the same functions.

    • 4 hours of battery life? This wont replace anything. Just imagine the battery life if using cpu intensive apps? Photoshop/Premiere? ha you’d be lucky with 2 hours of battery life

    • Thanks for your comments, with all due respect I completely disagree with you. Until you actually use one I would resist declaring that a device with a 4 hour battery life is productive. It doesn’t even have a keyboard, that will cost you another $100. You can buy a Dell 13.3 inch XPS Ultrabook with 128GB Solid State Drive for just $799… Why would I pay $200 more? If I want a tablet I can buy the XPS and use the extra $200 to get a tablet.


      • G Davis

        Why would I want to carry around 2 devices?? That is the whole point of this. I want one device that will do everything I need, and the Surface Pro will do it all. Battery life? really, 4 hours is plenty considering how much more power is in this than a ‘tablet’. Yes I sacrifice battry life for power, well, you do that with any laptop/ultrabook now, so you make the choice yourself. Plus, the power adapter isn’t a huge brick either, like most laptops require, so I am lightening my load all the way around withough giving up power.

        • First you need to add a keyboard to the Surface Pro. Then you need to try to use the “desktop” mode of Windows 8 using a touch screen or a stylus. I think this will be less productive than using a real Ultrabook. If this is true, as an Ultrabook is isn’t as good.

          Then as a tablet it is heavy, has a sort battery like and is expensive. This doesn’t make it a good tablet.

          So you actually have the worst of both worlds.


          • G Davis

            Until someone gets a ‘Hands On’ review, I don’t think we can truly give an honest opinion as far as battery life and weight wise.
            I got a hold of a now dead OS ‘HP Touchpad’,(Yes, Android is installed on it) and that is bigger and heavier than the iPad and Galaxy Tab, but in all honesty, I like the Touchpad better. Holding it is easier, little thicker gives a better grip, and I wouldn’t go back.

    • It’s a terrible tablet, heavy with short battery life. It’s a terrible laptop, with a tiny keyboard that’s much less productive. If it cost as much as either it would be a consideration on a value level, but it costs MORE than buying both. Anyone who doesn’t see this product is total fail is probably being paid by MS for their online comments.

  • Simon Shaw

    Microsoft should change Windows 7 to have Windows 8 border style and W8 network engine, then sell it as Windows 9.

  • end in sight

    Microsoft…shut up and take my money! People who dismiss MS on this one may not work in corporate America where tech departments will breath a sigh of relief at now being able to tell all those byod-ers that starting today, Surface is supported…and all other tablets are officially not. GUYS, we eat, breath and sleep Office and Outlook, and that is life for most of corporate America. I love Android, but I still have to work and MS does more for me than Gooogle does, 9-5. You may not like to hear it, but that is just reality.

    I would really rather have this device be able to dual boot with Android, since I love my Android phone. But if Google can’t figure out a way to get MS to allow for dual boot on the Surface, then again, I have to ask, from 9-5, what has Google done for me lately? (And, no, Google docs is not a reasonable solution in the work place, even though it might work fine for grad students and the like.) Sadly, I might even jump to a windows phone for tighter integration with the Surface. If that happens, my Android will stay in my car and be only used as my GPS.

    By the way, many people who don’t want to pay “so much” for what they perceive to be just a “tablet” may never have to…your employer might just give the Surface to you as your next laptop solution. Then you can keep your Nexus for fun weekend stuff.

  • Ajax

    Microsoft must have seen the stupid high price of the ipad mini and said- “That is nothing, we can outdo that easy!”
    Just absurd, I can buy a new gaming notebook computer for just a few hundred dollars more.

    • Ajax, exactly my point… The cheapest netbook is like < $250 and there is a long way from there until $899 and a lot of models to choose from.


  • Anon

    I wonder if, like every Windows PC I’ve owned or used (including my current Ultrabook), the SurfacePro will slow to a crawl after only 6 months … I wouldn’t care if it was the same price as an iPad, or an Android tablet … I still wouldn’t want it

    • Good point, I can’t remember how many times I have had to re-install Windows to get some life back in it… Never done that with Android.


    • G Davis

      I am currently running Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit and have never needed to reinstall. Been installed since the first week of release in Oct 2009. I will admit, Windows of the past were horrible, needing to reinstall at least once a year, but the structure of Win 7 and Win 8 helps that out incredibly. I have not seen a decrease in performance over the last 3 years at all.

  • tBs_Battousai

    That’s going to a very hard sell at that price… I’ve no idea who will be buying one of those…

  • This was a complete mess from the moment they announced Surface RT pricing. Ballmer has got to go.

  • Jose Hernandez

    Microsoft started making it look like
    this Surface Tablet is their competition to the Apple ipad and Google’s
    Android based tablets. The problem with that is that nobody on their
    right mind is going to spend all of that money to get a product they
    think is competing with tablets that are priced for over $500-$600 less.
    Now if Microsoft properly advertises the Surface for what it is (basically a full fetched computer / ultrabook) then everyone would understand that they have priced their offering correctly. I know some people that will see the commercial for the Surface and say that they would like to replace their Android/iOS tablet with that one. They think the Surface is just that, a regular tablet. Most people will think they are spending about $1000.00 (give or take) for a freaking tablet?!?!?!?

  • QuanahHarjo

    If the active digitizer on this thing is half decent, I would snap one up. There is a dearth of tablets with digitizers, and the ones that do have them don’t have decent software support. I would grab a Note 10.1 right now (creaky build and all) if I thought there was any Android equivalent to Painter, but I know there isn’t. Being able to pull out a portable device and start to work on a sketch in full-on native Painter document format that I could expand upon later at my desktop is like dreamsville for me.

    The battery life could stand to be better though.

  • Bish Fora

    to start off, its not a tablet period. if at the end of the day you want to call it a Tablet, then it is the YACHT of the tablet segment.
    try to buy and iPad4 ==64GB wifi only costs 699……..
    ……………………………….64GB wifi+3G costs $899 << $60 more then Surface Pro
    Google have really spoiled us ALL

    • The point is that Microsoft are calling it a tablet, not us.


      • G Davis

        Yes, Microsoft is calling it a Tablet. I don’t ever remember any definition of tablet to mean low end processing power, it means the form factor. What else would you call a Tablet shaped device? It is a Tablet with the power of a desktop. Yes, Microsoft has created confusion for the average person just looking for a basic tablet as they have the RT and the Pro, but if you are someone who does not bother to research the product you intend to buy, even a little, then it is your fault.
        Yes, Microsoft is not going to bypass Apple and Google based tablets with this device, but I do not think that is their plan.
        In the company I work for (I am in the IT department) we use Apple devices (iPhone and iPad), we have tested Android tablets and only have 12 iPads, because they do not do what the corporate world needs. We have already pre ordered 15 Surface Pro units and will test them extensively and know that this device will most likely replace 90% of our sales personnel’s laptops. Why? Because it will do everything we need it to do. With the iPad and Android tablets, we have to create an RDP session into a Windows Terminal server just so we can ensure they have access to all needed applications, with Surface, we can get rid of the Terminal servers, which in the end will save us money as we will no longer need the licenses required and the actual hardware can be used on something else.

        • So you agree that…

          1) Microsoft has created confusion for the average person.
          2) Microsoft is not going to bypass Apple and Google based tablets with this device.

          Which is basically what I am trying to say… Also Apple did’t become the huge company it is today by selling to corporates, the same is also true of Samsung etc.

          But I can’t really agree with you on “but if you are someone who does not bother to research the product you intend to buy, even a little, then it is your fault.” If that is true then the company (whoever it is Microsoft, Apple, whoever) has failed miserably in their marketing.

          As for corporate usage, it will be interesting to hear what your testing reveals. The fact that your only solution for tablets was to use terminal services means that your infrastructure is already very Windows biased and the fact that you are trying to use tablets with RDP sessions means your needs are, how can I say it, unique.


          • G Davis

            Hi Gary,
            Yes, I agree for those 2 points. As for the RDP sessions we have had to create, yes, it may be a little unique. We use internal applications, but the main thing is software like SAP for example, we have tried the IOS version, no where near as productive as the Windows version, so we needed to allow the users to connect to a full version.
            Microsoft definitely needs work with their marketing people, I think we can all agree Apple has in the past had the best marketing out there, just look how many people will buy a new device, even if it is the same as before, but they market it correctly.
            I have a touch screen laptop that has Windows 8 on it for the testing we needed, and so far, besides the size of the unit, it has worked perfectly, with no need for any type of RDP or extra device at all.
            And for connectivity, we all have the iPhones for the outside working group and they use the hotspot for connection, which so far has worked flawlessly for us, so we are very confident in the outcome when the tablets are finally available.

  • Quryous

    You are absolutely correct. Take about $250.00UDS off each of their offered retail price and they might have a serious go at it. Otherwise, it is just a niche product for those with more dollars than sense.

  • dg

    So typical of the tech pundits. They just don’t get it.

    First they make comments on how the iPad and Android tablets are consumption devices, not really suited for creating content.

    Then they make stupid comments about a device that can both consume and create content; oh and it runs every windows application out there including the full version of Office.

    The Surface Pro rocks a Core I5 CPU, 4gb of memory, and a real SSD drive. This device is as powerful as many desktops being bought this year for the Christmas tree.

    You can play full PC games on this device, you can create new Android and Windows applications on this device. You can encode video on this device (rip, burn, all of it).
    This device also rocks an Active Digitizer, something that most people are clueless about but all of us Windows Tablet people just love (think OneNote, i.e. the most awesome note taking application ever created) as well as all of the artists out there (pressure sensitivity, directional spray).
    btw – Don’t act like the Surface Pro is the first Windows 8 tablet on the market like this. Oh wait, you are clueless and really thing this as evidenced by this crappy post.
    Go Google “Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro”. It costs $1200 with the keyboard docking station. I’m typing this post on one now.
    Wow, look at that, a tablet that consumes content like a pro AND has replaced my laptop. Wow, a tablet that is not a companion device.
    Imagine that.

    • dg,

      First I don’t consider myself a tech pundit, I use tablets, phones, laptops and desktops every day for real tasks (like writing this post). Also a tablet with a keyboard is just an Ultrabook, don’t try to pretend otherwise.

      Next, I am not acting like the Surface Pro is the first Windows 8 tablet on the market, I am talking about Microsoft’s tablet and its use of the Surface branding along with consumer expectations.

      Penultimately, I do actually think I have a clue, shall we play a game where we compare our education, industry experience etc and see who wins???

      We clearly differ on our opinions here but if I had $1200 to spend on new hardware I don’t think I would buy a tablet plus the extra keyboard that is pretending to be an Ultrabook, I would buy an actual Ultrabook instead.


  • Si Sabre

    I think the pricing is fine… Full powered Ultrabook in Tablet form.. Way to go Microsoft, I can now stop having to cary around my laptop and be able to do any work with a simple tablet form. Something Android, and IOS can not do. Being able to install any Windows program is a dream on a tablet, you can’t do that on anything else.

  • freedomspopular

    This is exactly like the Windows tablets that have been available for years, but with a more touch-friendly OS. I’d say it’s actually quite reasonably priced.

    • And how well have those Windows tablets been selling????

      • freedomspopular

        I’d think someone of your credentials would have a better idea of what kind of market something like this is designed for.

        • I do and that is why I asked the rhetorical question about the number of sales… Have touch enabled devices running previous versions of Windows make any significant impact in any market (consumer, government or corporate)? No.


  • So to summarize the article, “Why would I pay $900 for a high end laptop/tablet convertible when for the same amount I could get an inferior netbook and separate tablet for the same money? I would MUCH rather carry around two slow devices instead of one fast one. And by the way, a few paragraphs before I recognize that the product I’m reviewing is really a laptop, I’m going to compare its price point with tablets, thereby justifying the title of my article.”

    • Pico,

      Thanks for your comments, but I don’t think you read the article very well. First of all my thoughts about what you can get for $900 is only an example, you can get a whole plethora of devices less money, but the point is that the Surface is an expensive device and you can buy other devices for less including getting a netbook, smartphone and a tablet all for the same amount. And personally I would rather have the phone, tablet and netbook rather than the Surface Pro.

      Secondly, although Microsoft is aiming this device at the Ultrabook market, it is selling the device as a tablet using the same branding as the Surface RT, a tablet. Therefore it is perfectly justifiable to compare the device to other tablets.


  • sneer

    hey, you forgot macbook air, it’s better packed for work, has 11″ size, starts from same price ~$800, It has more complectation variations. Who need THAT?

  • Charlie Klementowich

    I’m going to have to totally agree with Ban. On my Asus ultabook with similar specs, I can play Xcom, civ 5 and left 4 dead. I love my android phone, but as a productivity tool, it has nothing on windows yet…

    • xoj_21

      actualyl both suck, but quickoffice not as pretty as metro office, its does have features.

  • kiwi

    I agree with the article, I won’t spend that much thing for a tablet alone,

    but I still have hope for surface pro. competition is nice indeed. thanks for ms to bring full-fledged os to tablet space.

    though I still hope that ms set surface pro to $600-700 price range.
    or.. wait for other win8 tablet vendor to bring cheaper alternatives.. :)


    but in the end, battery life matters the most for me