Last month, it was the Surface RT, now its more-powerful sibling has the price trimmed, as Microsoft push the first-generation models hard, ahead of a likely refresh for new designs and beefed-up components.
Surface Looks to the Enterprise?
The new price cut of $100 announced for the Surface Pro tablet might not stir the loins of home users, but it could offer some incentive to business users looking for full Windows computing in a sleek format with those Type Cover keyboards. Mobile enterprise users are rich with choice from thoroughbred notebooks to Ultrabooks, and while Surface has been an option, the cost to power ratio hasn't really been in its favor.
This could change the balance of that slightly, and get a raft of enthusiasts and the uncertain moving to a Microsoft store, but it still seems to mark the end of the first-generation Surface devices, as Microsoft prepares for something new to reinvigorate its designs.
This comes after last month's $150 cut for Surface RT tablets, now down to US$799 for the 64GB model. In the original version of that story I was convinced the cuts were coming for the Pro too, but after some ambiguity and negative comments, the article was changed. In the end, they were inevitable, but had Microsoft run them both at the same time, I guess RT sales would have seen a lot less of a kick (if, indeed, they managed to rise).
The New Surface
While bargain hunters of the U.S. variety, no sign of price reductions elsewhere, might be interested in the old models, those on the cutting edge of Windows computing might be looking more to the new ones. With the likelihood of Intel Haswell processors (faster, and more power-efficient) replacing the old Core i5 CPU.
However, these devices will be competing against second-generation Windows 8 machines from Microsoft's partners as well as a rash of new and improved Android tablets, plus whatever Apple comes up with for the fifth-generation iPad. Having Windows 8.1 installed might be an incentive for enterprise users.
Still, the evel of competition has only intensified since the launch of Surface, and since the novelty has warn off, Microsoft's new range of devices will need a new level of selling points and features to make an impact. Since the company is having to rebrand its SkyDrive service, perhaps the two could tie-in in some clever marketing way.