Looks like PC makers who were anxious about Microsoft's Surface tablet, like Acer, will be able to sleep a little bit better tonight as Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer officially denied rumors regarding a $199 launch price.
Speaking to The Seattle Times, Ballmer revealed that the pricing hasn't been finalized yet, but that it's probably going to be between $300 to about $700 or $800. The lower end of the range will be occupied by the Windows RT based Surface tablet, while the higher-end will be the Windows 8 based version.
We haven't announced pricing. I think we have a very competitive product from the features perspective. ...
I think most people would tell you that the iPad is not a superexpensive device. ... (When) people offer cheaper, they do less. They look less good, they're chintzier, they're cheaper.
If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle (Kindle Fire, $199) to do their homework? The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it....
If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That's the sweet spot.
Asked about how Ballmer sees Microsoft's position in five to ten years, he responds that software will remain the company's core, but that he sees Microsoft evolving to more of a devices-and-services company, thereby hinting that Surface is just the beginning of Microsoft's entry into the computer system market. However, Ballmer is quick to add that this doesn't mean Microsoft will make every device, and that they'll continue to have partners who make devices with their software and services built in.