It seems the new turf for mobile and internet companies is playing the “affordable” card. Google has made it famous with their various value for money offerings that include devices like Nexus smartphones and Chromebooks. They have gained a large market share using this strategy.
Now, Microsoft is taking Google head-on in their own game. While speaking during Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft’s COO Kevin Turner talked about company’s new strategy to bring in ultra-affordable notebooks and Windows 8 tablets to make inroads into the market that is currently led by Chromebooks!
According to the announcement, Microsoft has partnered with HP to bring in HP “Stream” laptop that will cost consumers a mere USD 199, a price tag which is cheaper than most chromebooks currently available in the market.
While there are no details available on the specifications of $199 Stream laptop, he did speak about another $249 affordable laptop that Microsoft is bringing in partnership with Acer and Toshiba. According to The Verge report, Acer’s low cost laptop will come with 15.6 inch screen, 2.16 GHz Celeron processor with 4GB Ram and 500 GB HDD. Toshiba’s will be 11.6 inch super lightweight laptop that will have 32GB Solid State drive.
Microsoft is not only bringing super affordable laptops, but is also working with HP to launch low cost 7 inch and 8 inch Windows 8 “Stream” tablets that will be priced at $99.
The announcement did not include any further details in regards to hardware and software that will go on these devices.
Why Is This announcement Significant?
This announcement is quite significant and brings forth the new aggressive attitude that Microsoft has been showing since the new CEO Satya Nadella has taken over. Few months back, Microsoft had drastically reduced and even offered the Windows OS to tablet manufacturers free of cost (for < 9” devices) to counter rising competition.
Chromebooks has been growing steadily since it’s launch couple of years back. Some of the users swear by ultra-portability and day-long battery life that these Chromebooks offer.
Microsoft had made light of Chromebooks when it was initially launched, but this new announcement clearly shows that they are taking the Chromebook threat quite seriously. Afterall, they do not want to be left behind protect their turf in the game of PC Operating systems where they have been undisputed kings for so long.
As long as these new affordable devices from Microsoft are not under-powered (remember those netbooks), they should be able to create a lot of interest among consumers.
Unlike Chromebook, they do not need internet as always-on and they are devices that can run desktop applications and work offline. That could turn the tide in their favour.
We are keeping a close eye on these developments and will bring you more as they happen!