Microsoft prepares to launch Rs 10,000 Windows tablets to combat Android dominance

While we’d earlier heard Microsoft’s plans to reach wider audience with low-cost Windows Phone smartphones by slashing the licensing fees, a new report claims that the company is also planning on low-cost Windows tablets. According to The Times of India, Microsoft will be launching low-cost Windows tablets that could sell for as low as Rs 10,000.


Amrish Goyal, director of Windows business told the news site , “We are reducing our required hardware specification for Windows to bare minimum that is needed for good experience. We want to be price competitive with Android. We want to get the bill of material for Windows tablets down.”


Most of the Windows tablets are for “pro” users and haven’t yet seen one targeting budget audiences.  The high-end Windows tablets lose to the reigning iPads while Android tablets dominate the budget segment. After some not-so-successful attempts at building high-end tablets, the company now plans to take on the Android-dominated budget tablet market. However, the company will not be entering the entry-level tablet segment. Goyal disclosed that Microsoft will probably not sell a tablet for Rs 5,000, but one can expect tablets to have a price tag of around Rs 10,000. These will be seen by mid-2014 in countries such as India.


Microsoft's plans come to light after Gartner reported that Android saw the biggest gains in the tablet market last year. According to its numbers, Android tablets made up 62 percent of all tablets sold last year. Microsoft would want to put the brakes on this growth with its own low-cost Windows tablets.  While there is no confirmation on Microsoft’s plans to lower the licensing fees for Windows 8.1, it is highly speculated that to create cheaper tablets the company may consider cutting down on Windows licence price by up to 70 percent. It may reportedly charge $15 instead of $50 for devices that cost less than $250.


It’s the same approach the company plans on taking to compete with Android in the budget smartphone space. It is known that the sub-$100 smartphone market - dominated by Google’s Android OS - has lower licensing costs, is more adaptable by device makers, and runs on more, and cheaper, chip sets that run radio and other functions. Microsoft has allegedly slashed the licensing fees and joined hands with local players like Karbonn and Xolo.


Vishal Tripathi, an analyst at Gartner reportedly believes that the Windows brand still resonates with people. “If people have an option to get a Windows tablet at price that is similar to an Android tablet, they will likely pick it. A low-cost Windows tablet is not going to shake the market but it will help Microsoft gain some consumers who will otherwise go to Android," he said.

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