Editorial: Has the Surface RT Price Drop Boosted Sales?

Is the $150 price reduction on the Surface RT selling more devices? What does this mean for Windows RT? Read our investigative analysis beyond the break.

Microsoft recently dropped the price of the Surface RT by $150. And this isn’t just some special promotion for schools, students, or those attending a conference. No, this price drop is permanent and it applies to all models. Microsoft really had no choice as they are surely sitting on a large stockpile of unsold devices, and they need to make room for the successor to the Surface RT that Nvidia is eager to produce.

A lower entry point can certainly help sell devices. The now infamous HP Touchpad was largely well received, but it wasn’t until HP decided not to participate in the tablet market and dropped the price of their device to $100 that they sold out across the country. Is Microsoft having similar success, or do their devices continue to sit on shelves in stores and in warehouses?

Microsoft is probably never going to give us official sales numbers, nor are we likely to know how many devices they produced originally. For that reason, you should understand that the following data is but a small sampling, and may not represent the overall picture of sales.

Upon questioning numerous Microsoft Store employees across the West Coast, Windows RT Source asked two questions: 1) “Do you have Surface RTs in stock”, and 2) “Have you seen a dramatic increase in sales since the price drop?”

None of the store employees could answer more specific questions about sales number (no surprise there) so we’ll have to do with more non-specific answers.

Of the 20 stores we called, 100% answered in the affirmative to both questions. Upon asking if they’ve seen sales pick up since the price drop, many answered very enthusiastically. One employee in California said “Ohhhh yeah. It’s been night and day”. Another commented that sales have definitely picked up but and likened the new sales trend to when Microsoft bundled the Touch cover for free. Hearing from readers and anonymous internet beings who have been in the stores, we’ve also read reports that Microsoft’s stores have at times had lines of people purchasing the tablet.

The price drop is working. Exactly how well, we don’t yet know. The good news here is that this is a consumer win. The people are speaking with their wallets. Apple can get away with charging $500 per tablet, but virtually no one else can. Microsoft is hearing this and they’re responding. As such, they’re likely to come in at a lower entry point when the next round of devices becomes available by June of next year. Windows RT can sell, if it comes in at a value, not at a premium. Furthermore, this helps to solidify that Windows RT does in fact have a place in the market. In the past, Microsoft has struggled to turn genuine feedback into iterative improvements. We are, however, seeing this change. The #Xbox180 is perhaps the best example of the software giant changing course after complaints. Microsoft has made concessions for Windows users as well by adding a “Start tip” in Windows 8.1 where the Start button used to be. Just yesterday, Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb confirmed that Microsoft is bundling the Xbox One chat headset with every Xbox One console. This too was as a result of feedback from consumers.

I find it highly unlikely that the next Surface will come in at an entry point as high as the original for these reasons. In addition to those already mentioned, nearly all of Microsoft’s OEM partners have dropped out of the race in terms of making Windows RT devices, so Microsoft now has pricing power on their side.

How many of you have purchased a Surface RT or are now considering it since the price drop? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Alexis Avellan

    It would be foolish for Microsoft to come in at the same price with the next generation of Surface tablets.

    I personally thought that it wasn’t the price as much as it was the lack of apps and economy with the Windows 8 OS. Now I’m starting to change my stance on this and lean more towards it definitely being a pricing issue. If they can lower the cost and thus lower the price without cutting corners, there is a definitely a place for them.

    Good piece. =]

    • Lane Freeze


  • Drew

    Personally, I just recently bought my Surface RT (yesterday) and I do like it. But the thing that annoys me a little is the notifications… I don’t seem to be getting any, not sure if theres a place where notifications are stored (like an iPad) or something. I think windows should do something a little better with notifications =/

    • Lane Freeze

      That’s a really common complaint actually. Few apps support notifications in favor of live tiles,

  • Rann Xeroxx

    Used the Surface RT at work as a test device and so when I went to TechEd this year, bought the RT for $99. IMHO, the Surface RT is the more productive and useful of all the tablets on the market today. Here is a pic of using a HP mobile monitor and then RDPing into a VDI with the Surface RT. It turns the RT into a powerful mobile thin client unmatched by competitors.


    • Lane Freeze

      This is a utility that nearly every critic has missed. Android and iOS can’t hold a candle to this.

  • chris

    also saving for a Pro now!

    • Lane Freeze

      Awesome! The Nexus 10 is a cool device. Android has an even longer way to go than Windows RT in my opinion.

      • flsh

        Yeah I agree. There are a lot of really good things about android, but I can’t figure out why I don’t enjoy using it. I find it a little messy. But as I have recently tried windows phone 8 it isn’t much better IMO.. I think that Surface RT is and will be my go to device. Aside from running full blown windows apps, it just handles everything really nicely.

        • Chris Jensen

          Oncethe wow factor of the N10 with its high res screen woreoff i found myself using it just to read mags.

        • Lane Freeze

          Was switching to the Surface with its comparably low res screen jarring?

        • chris

          No not too bad, think the RT looks pretty damn good really! also enjoy the PC experience and that’s what you get with the RT. Web pages were awesome on the Nexus but can’t say I miss it.

        • chris

          Exactly how I felt about Android, also moved to windows phone, I like it.

  • chris

    yup, sold my nexus 10 so I could buy an RT, purely because of the new price and Office 365. the RT just feels and acts like a serious piece of kit and not a “toy”