The low-cost Windows tablet in India is a myth

Windows tablets

A couple of days ago India’s leading daily, Times of India, carried a report quoting a Microsoft India executive that the company is looking forward to make available Windows tablets with a price of INR 10,000 (<$175) in India by middle of this year.

While that sounds pretty darn good, like the maxim, it is too good to be true. I met the quoted executive, Amrish Goyal, Director of the Windows Business Group at Microsoft India yesterday. Goyal clarified that he was misquoted and a forward looking statement like that would be inappropriate.

The report quoted Amrish as follows:

"We will probably not sell a tablet for Rs 5,000. But yes, we will sell tablets with a price of around Rs 10,000 by middle of this year."

Microsoft has obviously been looking to launch low-cost Windows tablets, specifically for markets like India. A recent report suggested that Microsoft is slashing the Windows license fees by 70% bringing the cost per device for Windows 8.1 down to $15 for devices that will retail for less than $250.

While Amrish did not comment on the licensing terms, he did mention that Microsoft has reduced the required hardware specifications for Windows to bring the bill of materials down.

In last few months, several Windows tablets have made it to the market, but have been unable to achieve price parity with Android tablets. Most Windows tablets in the market right now are priced over INR 25,000. Even the upcoming XOLO Win tablet, touted as the maiden low-cost Indian tablet, is expected to be priced at INR 21,999.

One can expect more variants from XOLO or devices from other Indian brands like Micromax or Karbonn competing aggressively to bring down the prices, but a 10K price barrier looks like a tough bet at the moment, and clearly not by the middle of the year.


Reader comments

The low-cost Windows tablet in India is a myth


15k is even okay considering u get more frm windows tablet rather thn adroid...20k is too much if they want to compete...no one will pay double amount..this is frm MS fan and android hater..launch surface in india too..many IT people waiting for that

No, it's not. Most people in India are not tech savvy, and thus do not understand the concept which you have stated. Low cost is the highest priority here.

I agree with you. Low cost is the priority. And tablets should be be cheap because a person if he wants to spend on tablet will more spend more for buying a new pc rather than a tablet. So tablets is just for fun mostly here in India what I have seen here with ppl and experienced. But they should push few surfaces and a Microsoft store in India b4 doing that.

so where's the "myth" part? He was misquoted? Is that what we take from this article, because I don't see how the headline matches the body.

Yeah but selling windows devices without office suit is stupid and simply kills the point of buying them in the first place. I hope the makers don't do that for price reduction

While 10K INR is a stretch, I think 15K is possible, at least if 8 inch tablets are considered.

So wait, this is what he was quoted as saying: "...with a price of INR 10,000 (<$175) in India by middle of this year."  And then you quote him directly saying: "But yes, we will sell tablets with a price of around Rs 10,000". So why is it a myth? Seems to confirm it.

Is the article saying that for a Windows Tablet to be considered low-cost has to carry a price tag of Rs5,000 (approx $82), and a price tag of Rs10,000 (approx $164) is too expensive? Wow, a Windows Tablet that has an OS that can do more than iOS and Android is expensive at $164!!! Wow, and here I was thinking that $164 is already dirt cheap for what the OS can do!!! So Android tablets in India really just cost only $82!!! - wow, hope those tablets are not made from crap!!!

What most people don't realise is that India is a market of scale and not profit margins. Here your phone bill will almost never cross 20 dollars with everything you could imagine. Also, you need to consider the fact that there is no carrier subsidy/contracts present in India for tablets so you need to pay the sum upfront which compounded by the low per capita income would render any product with large profit margins ineffective, this along with market competition leads to really low cost products.

at this price, a 10" device would be sold at a loss and an 8" would be breakeven. why even bother selling in india if you can't make any profits? A billon people time zero is still zero. if there is norofit margin, why bother? the phones and tablets here aren't really subsidized. they are financed over 2 years with the cost of the devices is bundled in the monthly fees and you end up paying more than the retail price of the device. 

I can explain it better... In India, tablets even start from $70 onwards. Except that the tablets in that price range are barely functional. Like without a front cam, no sim facility, poor battery, cheap plastic cover, etc. The only thing that's considered something costlier will be the 7" screen. That too with an inferior resolution.

So you can find some profit in those as well; even for a $70 Tablet :-) and since it is dirt cheap as well, there won't be any after sales service available. No tech savvy user looks for tablets less than Rs15000.

What Sammy tried to say is that nothing is either subsidized or financed here. So people will be looking for a tablet that could be just used and they will be fine with it. Those low cost tablets are mostly bought for a child less than say 8 year olds. They can barely function and that $70 tablet saves dad and mom's $500 mobiles.

If they can make a tab for even 7-8k with decent specs (like moto g, which is cheap and good quality), the indian tablet market is theirs...

Sure you're right but moto g was the stock clearance piece by them. It was seasonal by them. If they continue to sell moto g with that price they will become bankrupt one day. Thinking as per business point of view

Isn't Dell Venue Pro 8 a low cost full windows 8 tablet?Not sure but i think u forgot abt it.I thinnk its price is near 20k but awesome tabelt just doesn't have sim card.

This is exactly the type of thing MS needs to do. Especially in India. If Microsoft wasn't already working on this then they should start

So, true. Forget the 10 k barrier, microsoft has not even tried selling it's own hardware (surface pro series) in the market, those are the premium tablets. Even the midrange market i.e is 10" is severely deficient in india. For most Indians even the desktops remain just consumption mediums. The real life in india largely remains analog. And windows is a work oriented OS but there is no real practical use of it in indian work sphere, which makes Android the specialist at consumptiom the king. For selling windows tablets you will have to make indian offices digital. You don't need a windows tablet if ur college doesn't give u free office 365 university. You don't need a windows tablet if ur office doesn’t even have an internet connection. No need selling metallurgical instruments to those who work with clay. As a result the minority of indians who want to paperless with a digitizer pen and onenote for lectures or those who want to play with the research data on a full featured excel while in the field suffer.