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Prices high for Asus Windows 8 tablets; demand likely low

Asus' Windows 8 tablet pricing will start at $599 and run to $1,299. In other words, tablets will cost more than laptops in some cases without any enterprise heft to justify a premium.

Asus has a trio of Windows 8 tablets on deck for the holidays, but the pricing is so high -- $599 to $1,299 for a hybrid -- that it's going to be nearly impossible to compete in the marketplace.

CNET sister site ZDNet received a leaked Asus holiday roadmap, and the slide below tells the tale:

The challenges here are obvious despite Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's talk of a sweet spot.

In a nutshell:

  • Asus isn't a business brand, yet it's pricing its Windows tablet as if there were some enterprise secret sauce. Asus' roadmap only highlights upcoming products, not the big sales pitch to differentiate these tablets.
  • Also included in Asus' roadmap are details about 12- and 13-inch laptops. What's truly odd is that one laptop is $549 and the next-gen Transformer is $1,399. The Transformer Book is billed as "one device for two personalities between tablet and notebook."
  • Consumers will balk at these tablet prices and a) either opt for a laptop or b) go with a cheaper tablet such as Apple's iPad or any variety of Android.

The roadmap here is preliminary in that Asus could change its pricing before the tablets launch along with Windows 8. But if the pricing sticks, these tablets could have rough sledding ahead. Given the pricing fumbles of OEMs, it's no wonder that Microsoft has cooked up its Surface tablet. After all, Microsoft has the resources to lose money -- just look at the billions lost in the search wars -- in the name of market share.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Asus Windows 8 tablet pricing comes in high; Demand likely low."