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.