Microsoft today announced arrival of Surface Pro tablet in January 2013. Great! What about announcing when will be Surface RT available world wide?
When I first saw announcement of Surface tablets I immediately wanted one and my choice was ARM version with Windows RT. I was very suspicious to initial expectations of "low price" but on the other hand Google showed that you can do high quality tablets with very interesting price. My determination to buy Surface RT was for a while weakened by the final announced price - $499 for bare version was little bit more than I expected for two simple reasons:
- Surface tablet without touch or type cover is just a half of the product and the price of those covers is extraordinary high. The real price of Surface RT tablet is $599 if you want just black touch cover. I want type cover so the price is $628 (+ 20% VAT for Czech Republic and probably some import tax).
- Office 2013 RT was a great value until Microsoft added Home & Student edition suffix. This suffix made it for many people just a bloatware because to use the tablet in business environment (for example as BYOD), you also need additional full license of Office 2013. The real licensing policy to use the tablet in business environment is very unclear. Does it mean that to use the tablet in business environment we also need Office 2013 Home & Business edition (additional $219) or Office 365 Small Business Premium (additional $149 per year)? Why should I pay licensing fees for version with Outlook when I cannot use it on Surface RT?
I hoped for price around $500 but with touch cover and Office 2013 RT without limited license - those two features should have been market differentiators. Even after initial price disappointment I still want the device and I want it now. I desperately try to buy one (preferably with EU continental power supply) since its official release but with no luck. I live in a country where Microsoft Store (the online version) is not available. When I tried to order the tablet from UK, they don't post it abroad. When I traveled to London for vacation, I wasn't able to find any single shop where they would offer Surface RT for sale. I guess there is none official because Microsoft simply chose strategy to release the product only through the online store and through Microsoft Retail Stores but no retail store exists in Europe!
Surface is just another product showing that global market or at least EU market doesn't exist. I can watch localized advertising in local TV broadcast showing how great Windows 8 is on tablet but there are almost no tablets available on local market and probably no RT tablets at all (Asus Vivo Tab RT will probably hit the local market soon). I'm not looking for anybody to mediate the purchase for me - we have family friends in UK so I can use their help (unfortunately that means UK power supply) in the same way I did it before when I wanted Nexus 7 prior to availability on Czech market (Nexus 7 is offered by Asus directly, not by Google) but why do I need to use such complicated way to buy a simple product?
Microsoft, Google and Amazon are great in showing how uninterested they are in small markets. One would expect that $628 has the same value regardless of the customer's address.