Ballmer: Surface "sweet spot" $300-$800, Windows 8 biggest thing since 95

By on September 17, 2012, 4:00 PM

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sat down with technology reporter Janet Tu to discuss the company's future. Surface, Windows 8 and Microsoft's rivalry with Google and Facebook are just a few items which were touched upon. Read the entire interview here.

This year and the beginning of 2013 should prove to be an exciting span of time for Microsoft. Some of Redmond's biggest shakeups are slated to launch in the coming months, including the arrival of Surface, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Office 2013

Incidentally, Microsoft has already sent out invitations for an October 25 event in NYC, where details of Windows 8 should emerge just prior to its official launch.

The imminent onslaught of new milestones even prompted Ballmer to label 2012 as the software maker's "most epic year" yet.

Q: You've talked about this year being the most epic. Is there another year in Microsoft's history you could compare this to? Maybe the launch of Windows 95?

A: You know, Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it. It's a little hard to compare things like the founding (of the company) and the introduction of the first popular PC and the system that popularized it, but it's at that scale.

Source: seattletimes.com, Interview with Steve Ballmer

During the interview, Ballmer made it known that Windows 8 might be the biggest thing since Windows 95, praising the company for trying to "re-imagine the world from the ground up with Windows 8". He also exhibited a seemingly unflappable conviction for Windows 8, stating his firm belief that the new OS is a fantastic product and it will do great after launch.

When asked if Microsoft's Surface would compete with the iPad on a price or features basis, Ballmer stated, "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.

Admittedly, $300-$800 is a quantity which lacks precision, but there is something interesting to note: Ballmer's price range doesn't dip low enough to corroborate last month's rumor of a $200 model. Despite this, the CEO's words still indicate Surface will occupy a wide price gamut, even if Microsoft does narrowly miss the sub-$200, ultra-budget tablet niche -- an area where Amazon's $159 and $199 Kindle Fires are likely to maintain their dominance.




User Comments: 32

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Guest said:

Very Interesting.

Guest said:

If you say so.

psycros psycros said:

$300 for a low-powered laptop with a marginally upgraded Windows 7 that's been mutilated by the ribbon and a worthless, ugly launcher everyone hates and can't get rid of? Yeah, Steve, that'll be huge. /s

Guest said:

Steve Ballmer needs to go ...

put someone in his position that knows what he is doing... LOL

I'm sure he will step down him self when windows 8 fails miserably ... I'm guessing next year ... before summer...

treeski treeski said:

$300 for a low-powered laptop with a marginally upgraded Windows 7 that's been mutilated by the ribbon and a worthless, ugly launcher everyone hates and can't get rid of? Yeah, Steve, that'll be huge. /s

You're hilarious.

MAPPAquerque MAPPAquerque said:

Won't be touching Widows 8 with a 100 foot poll. I'm still running XP (thank goodness) and will be having a nice Linux box built in the next couple of months and go all the way with open source. MS and it's software is bloated and not worth half of what they ask for it. Everyone I talk to gets the open source sermon.

Guest said:

$300-800 is a large gap, which does't say anything. I'm sure he knows which price it'll be closer to, weird coming from the CEO.

If he wants this thing to sell at all, the ARM version needs to at least be 199-300, with the Intel version being at least 500-800.

Guest said:

$200-$300 = Surface win.

$300-$500 = Well, there are other alternative for the same price (or even cheaper) but let's try it this new device.

$500-$800 = No way!

Guest said:

Funny how he bashes on the Kindle fire. I've gotta say that device has one of the most readable screens I've ever seen. I was looking at one in best buy the other day and got absolutely NO eye fatigue reading a few pages of a book. That's more than I can say about an iPad or most other tablet devices.

Guest said:

Windows 8 is going to flop. Hard. Stay away if you know what's good for your PC. There is appeal here from a business standpoint for Microsoft' to centralize all OS's into one but I think this first execution, at least, is going to be a dud. With all the new stuff they're trying out with this Windows Vista springs readily to mind and we all know how that went. They'll use this release to test the waters then learn from all the loud and angry screams of consumers to fix it up and make Windows 9 what Windows 8 should have been. Hopefully the hit to their consumers confidence from this won't sink them permanently.

Guest said:

Forget it. They had a chance after XP and failed. Most company's are just

ugrading to win7 now. Win 8 will be years away.

Win phones needed to be top notch and cheap to gain needed market share.

Price point to high on unproven product and technology.

I used microsoft for 30 years but won't be first in line to get a phone or win 8

They are heading down the IBM path 20 years ago before they got beat on the desktop.

Do the numbers 500-600 million Androids, 200 million phones.

They should do a reality show for the next head of Microsoft.

Wish them the best but they have a long uphill battle.

Guest said:

Hope your new box has spellcheck...

jeneaston jeneaston said:

$200-$300 = Surface win.

$300-$500 = Well, there are other alternative for the same price (or even cheaper) but let's try it this new device.

$500-$800 = No way!

The low price will be for the RT version with an arm processor and the higher price will be for Pro model with true Win8, Intel CPU and other better specs. So they'll have it at both specs and price ranges.

jeneaston jeneaston said:

Won't be touching Widows 8 with a 100 foot poll. I'm still running XP (thank goodness) and will be having a nice Linux box built in the next couple of months and go all the way with open source. MS and it's software is bloated and not worth half of what they ask for it. Everyone I talk to gets the open source sermon.

Until the end of the year (or was that January?), upgrade prices from xp will only be $40 and from Vista or 7 they'll only be $15. Still not worth half that? I'm not incredibly interested in 8 but for $15 on my new laptop, it'll be hard to pass up.

Guest said:

This shows how out of touch Ballmer is. The days of MS steamrolling the competition are over. They have yet again arrived late to the arty and lacking innovative, creative ideas.

Bing vs google - fail

Win8 (mobile) vs IOS vs Android - fail

Hyper-V SCVMM2012 vs VMware - I'll have my opinion in about a month after I complete Hyper-V training and have more exposure.

The only thing MS has going for themselves are Office suite, Windows Server OS, and XBox - they need to narrow their focus on wat they are actually good at before they lose dominance in those markets too.

Guest said:

"surface" ... really? the same marketing person that came up with "metro" probably came up with this...

MS has been synonomous with "lack of creative innovation" for most consumers (see lack of development for windows mobile, the diff iterations of windows XP), with the exception being in the space of gaming (see success of xbox, xbox 360, etc).

a "me too" device isn't going to get people to swap over to a brand they really have no more loyalty anymore. especially not with a name like "surface."

cmh6473 cmh6473 said:

Microsoft shoots itself in the foot too often anymore. Why would anyone buy a new computer right now knowing that this new operating systems is looming over their heads? So if you were planning on buying a laptop or desktop with a MS operating system you are now in a circling pattern. Do I or don't I buy this now? So if you are a hardware manufacturer where does that leave you? Potential customers have just been told, in all reality, to wait until the new OS comes out.

Then you add to that the fact that Windows operating systems are suspect at best when introduced because of all the bloated crap that comes with it, if you do wait and buy after the new OS is available in your new PC, you may find out it's a turd or you may find out you like it. If it floats in the toilet then MS just lost another customer for life. Why do companies like MS insist on continuously introducing new software that makes no significant advances for the end user? I've never had and SP machine crash except for a virus once. XP is the most stable OS by this company and they should use that as a basis for the new software. Instead they have to be flighty and get every bell and whistle and hope for the best. The attitude that we'll fix the issues as they pop up sickens me. You see it in almost all software introduced just because there is a rush to market. And what sickens me most is the fact that there are ****** that flock to have the newest gimmick and they are the root of all this crappy software. I use XP because it came with the machine, once XP updates are no longer available I will start using linux machines. I've come to a realization that I just need to make the switch, I've put it off too long.

1 person liked this | H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Won't be touching Widows 8 with a 100 foot poll. I'm still running XP (thank goodness) and will be having a nice Linux box built in the next couple of months and go all the way with open source. MS and it's software is bloated and not worth half of what they ask for it. Everyone I talk to gets the open source sermon.

Why even would you? W7 is pretty much 10,000 times better then XP. XP has been overrated, leave the nostalgia.

R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

I was on the "Hate Windows 8 bandwagon" until it gave my laptop a new lease of life (AMD-E450 based) Windows 8 is a tablet OS, no denying, and I will purchase a tablet because of that.

The real issues with WIndows 8, seem to be drivers for me so far, alot of my windows 7 stuff doesn't work correctly. But since its no even released to public yet I cant really complain (I have MSDN account).

Guest said:

W8 is a tablet OS, so there's no reason for the Surface to fail just because of it. It's desktops and notebooks that W8 will fail at.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Won't be touching Widows 8 with a 100 foot poll. I'm still running XP (thank goodness) and will be having a nice Linux box built in the next couple of months and go all the way with open source. MS and it's software is bloated and not worth half of what they ask for it. Everyone I talk to gets the open source sermon.

Same here with the linux, I have it running on both of my computers, although my desktop dual boots with windows 7 just in case something goes wrong (I'm new to linux). Windows 8 is interesting though. I think I might try it after it comes out just to see what they settle on and how I like it all. I'm sure they'll eventually let users tweak the UI more eventually with everybody complaining about it.

Sum Guy Sum Guy said:

$300 is way to much for an over rated Netbook.

Really guys the RT has lower specs than a 2 year old atom powered 200 dollar net book.

199 is barely justifiable for the RT. 2 gig of ram and only 32gb of space.

The 1.8 mini SSDs are really cheap. Thats what in it

This unit is seriously over priced.

I have been loyal to MS, but this is disappointing.

I was gonna get one for the novolty of getting MS first tablet. But now I will wait.

The one with the i5 or i7 is a different story now.

Randomthom Randomthom said:

Bing vs google - fail

Win8 (mobile) vs IOS vs Android - fail

You come out with this & say that Ballmer is out of touch?

Bing is actually very good but you've probably never ventured away from google, I'd say they're more-or-less on a par but ofc bing doesn't have the heavy footfall google does.

Win8 mobile... how can it be fail, it isn't even released yet. Windows 7 mobile has been a commercial failure but a technical success, ask anyone (me if you like) who has a windows phone what they think of it, you'll rarely hear a negative review.

Seriously, think about what you're writing...

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

No wonder Windows 8 is lighter in the heavy side..

Guest said:

I'm very worried. It's a tablet operating system. If someone wants to buy a tablet why would they even bother with Windows 8 or Surface. Especially, if the idea is looming to learn a new operating system which do you think they are going to want to learn, iOS or Windows 8? I'm not much for bitching about one company doing the same as another. I'm on Samsung's side when it comes to the whole patent dispute. I don't find anything alluring about Windows 8. Windows 8 starts up a little faster. I feel as unenthusiastic about that as I do about the new iPhone being thinner. With every new news article, I've considered just Hackintoshing my computer. Everything I cared about in Windows 7 was destroyed. They could have focused on there desktop more than they did and could have cornered another part of the tech industry. Now, they're just running behind Apple and now, Apple is starting to rework they desktop line. I've never owned a Macintosh Computer. But I'm pretty disappointed with Windows 8.

Guest said:

Correction - "their"

Fbarnett Fbarnett said:

Won't be touching Widows 8 with a 100 foot poll. I'm still running XP (thank goodness) and will be having a nice Linux box built in the next couple of months and go all the way with open source. MS and it's software is bloated and not worth half of what they ask for it. Everyone I talk to gets the open source sermon.

What there is a group of like 4 of you using Linux saying

how bad MS sucks?. Your probably using windows to post on this forum

1 person liked this | Lionvibez said:

Microsoft shoots itself in the foot too often anymore. Why would anyone buy a new computer right now knowing that this new operating systems is looming over their heads? So if you were planning on buying a laptop or desktop with a MS operating system you are now in a circling pattern. Do I or don't I buy this now? So if you are a hardware manufacturer where does that leave you? Potential customers have just been told, in all reality, to wait until the new OS comes out.

Then you add to that the fact that Windows operating systems are suspect at best when introduced because of all the bloated crap that comes with it, if you do wait and buy after the new OS is available in your new PC, you may find out it's a turd or you may find out you like it. If it floats in the toilet then MS just lost another customer for life. Why do companies like MS insist on continuously introducing new software that makes no significant advances for the end user? I've never had and SP machine crash except for a virus once. XP is the most stable OS by this company and they should use that as a basis for the new software. Instead they have to be flighty and get every bell and whistle and hope for the best. The attitude that we'll fix the issues as they pop up sickens me. You see it in almost all software introduced just because there is a rush to market. And what sickens me most is the fact that there are ****** that flock to have the newest gimmick and they are the root of all this crappy software. I use XP because it came with the machine, once XP updates are no longer available I will start using linux machines. I've come to a realization that I just need to make the switch, I've put it off too long.

As soon as I read this I stopped reading.

" XP is the most stable OS by this company and they should use that as a basis for the new software. "

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Guest said:

[link]

Windows 8 is looking pretty nice to me...

Guest said:

Ballmer is nothing more than a suckup to Gates. He'll spew whatever nonsense he can that gushes favorable light on any MS product, no matter how useless. He loved Vista, Me, and now . . . Windows 8. The guy's a spewing baldy of a marketing sac.

Guest said:

I can answer the Hyper-V 2012 & SCVMM question. We have a license for SCVMM and downloaded Hyper-V server 2012 to test for a new VM host. Ended up purchasing Vmware vsphere. SCVMM will go unused...

Guest said:

Wow! You couldn't think of anything intelligent to say so you criticize his hairline?

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