With anecdotal evidence suggesting that many potential Surface buyers were avoiding the Surface RT version and holding out for Surface Windows 8 Pro, all that was missing was the release date. This week, Microsoft confirmed that the professional version will finally be released on February 9.
Maybe the release date was … well released… this week in light of quarterly figures that were less than brilliant and which saw a lot of analysts questioning Windows 8 and its lackluster financial performance. Whatever it was though, there seems to be little doubt that many people have held off over concerns on the lack of access to regular Windows, despite the inclusion of Office RT.
The release will be initially available at all Microsoft retail stores, as well as microsoftstore.com, Staples and Best Buy in the US, as well as a number of other unidentified retailers in Canada. There is no indication yet as to whether or not it will be available in Europe from that date, but if not, it can’t be a long time coming, with tech stores in Paris for example, already talking up a storm about it, even though they haven’t been told when it will land.
Surface Windows 8 Pro
Holding off on the RT version looks like a good move. RT will still be available in a new 64GB standalone version for an estimated retail price of US$ 599. Whether the price difference between RT and the Surface Pro will convince people to stick to the cheaper option has yet to be seen, but at US$ 899 for the 64G version and US $999 for the 128G version, it’s bound to make some people think twice.
If you’re looking for power however, then the Surface Pro is the way to go and Microsoft does appear to be pushing it in the direction of its business customers and CIO’s who are looking to replace their current stock of PC’s with something more mobile.
Surface Pro has the same basic design as the RT version but slightly thicker and about half a pound heavier, but the pay-back is that it is running an Ivy Bridge i5 processor that should enable it to run even the heaviest desktop applications.
According to Clint Boulton in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft’s other divisions are already working in conjunction with the Surface team to ensure that all of Microsoft’s business applications will be available on the new Surface. Citing Stella Chernyak, a senior director of Windows Enterprise, Boulton said Microsoft is already working on making two of the most important business packages available for Surface Pro, notably Office and Dynamics.
Meanwhile, RT will is also being made available in 13 other markets -- including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.