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Could a Windows RT Price Cut Spawn More Tablets?

Could a Windows RT Price Cut Spawn More Tablets?

Earlier in 2013, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) reportedly lowered the price of Windows 8 for manufacturers looking to install the new OS on touch screen laptops.

Now, just three months later, the company is expected to drop the price for Windows RT to inspire manufacturers to produce new tablets.

According to Bloomberg, the price cut would apply to those who wish to build a small-sized tablet, likely in the six to eight-inch range.

Unlike the Windows 8 price cut (which could allow manufacturers to charge less for new touch screen notebooks), the Windows RT price cut is primarily being employed to attract manufacturers to the platform. While Windows 8 has numerous notebook and desktop PC supporters, Windows RT has had a difficult time attracting developer support.

While Windows 8 is a full-fledged version of Windows (and is backwards compatible with older software), Windows RT is a scaled-down operating system that was more or less built for low-end tablets.

The standard version of Surface, released last October, was the first tablet to use Windows RT. While the device received mixed reviews, it is considered to be largely inferior to Surface Pro, the Windows 8 tablet that retails for $400 more.

Last Thursday Bloomberg reported that HTC (OTC: HTCKF) had abandoned its plans to develop a Windows RT tablet due to weak demand. This rumor surfaced after the company experienced low sales and an untimely price drop of its second Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) phone, which was sold exclusively through AT&T (NYSE: T).

"What it really shows is that HTC First is not selling," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry told Benzinga last month. "That's number one. When it comes to hardware devices, it seems that the leaders are Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung. HTC is probably not a tier one player. If you're a Facebook user, it seems like you're not gravitating toward HTC devices because device comes first and application comes second. It's not the other way around."

Thus, HTC's various problems with its Windows RT tablet may have had more to do with the company's other issues -- and the hardware powering it -- than the OS it planned to use.

Could this proposed Windows RT price cut bring HTC back? That remains to be seen. For the time being, it seems that most manufacturers are focused on making tablets using the much stronger and much more popular Windows 8 format.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ


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Posted-In: Bloomberg HTC Microsoft Windows RTNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga