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Microsoft said to charge up to $95 for Windows RT
Microsoft has finally launched new operating systems which are winning real acclaim, but the firm still has to live with its biggest disadvantage in the OS wars, its hefty licensing fees. While Android and other Linux-based options are free, the upcoming ARM version of Windows 8 costs between $80 and $95 per device, according to reports.
Windows RT brings Microsoft's fully blown system to ARM-based devices for the first time, potentially making it a key player in the tablet and 'post-PC' sectors. But technology site VR-Zone conducted a survey of tablet vendors attending the recent Computex trade show in Taiwan, and most said they were being charged an $85 fee for RT.
In a mobile device world where bill of materials cost is critical and price competition is intense, this could be a major stumbling block, especially if Microsoft tries to woo new converts to Windows from the handset space, where vendors have different cost norms to those of the traditional PC base. Apple has established the iPad as the premium tablet, and any challenger will have to compete at least partially on price.
Microsoft has tried to offset the allure of the free OS by asserting patent rights in Linux, especially Android, and charging Android phonemakers hefty royalties. However, it may not have the same hold over other emerging tablet and cloudbook platforms from the open source world, such as those promised by Mozilla and Ubuntu, not to mention Google's own evolving Chrome OS.
At Computex, Asus was the only company actually showing off a Windows RT-based tablet, which should come to market early next year.
[ ] 2012-06-13