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.

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