Don't price Surface at $199, pleads Acer

Acer wants Microsoft to create a price gap that PC makers can drive a truck through.

Acer's chairman doesn't want Microsoft to price Surface at $199, claiming significant harm to PC makers.
Acer's chairman doesn't want Microsoft to price Surface at $199, claiming significant harm to PC makers. Microsoft

Microsoft may consider maintaining a price gap for its Surface products to give hardware partners some competitive breathing room, according to an Asia-based report.

Acer chairman JT Wang commented publicly on Thursday that Microsoft is seeking ways to create a price chasm between its Surface tablet and competing products from PC makers, according to a Friday report in Taipei-based Digitimes.

"Microsoft is currently looking for solutions such as creating a price gap to minimize the negative impact on other vendors' product lineups," according to the report.

Wang said that a Surface tablet priced at $199 would have a big impact (presumably negative). But one priced at $499 to $599 would have "a lot smaller" impact, the report said.

Indeed, Surface pricing is a mystery. "Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC," Microsoft has stated publicly. But at the low end, the question becomes, what is a "comparable ARM tablet" these days? $399? $299?

PC makers like Acer may have abandoned hope to get Microsoft to drop Surface and are therefore resorting to alternative ways to pressure Microsoft.

In his comments, Wang noted that Microsoft has no intention of dropping its plans to launch Surface products.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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