This weekend The Seattle Times published an interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in which he discusses the future of Microsoft, especially regarding Windows 8. In the course of the interview, Ballmer gives a ball-park estimate for how much Microsoft’s highly touted Surface tablets will cost: from $300 to $700 or $800.
Ballmer justified the price by saying that the Surface, which was announced back in June, will be a “very competitive product from the features perspective…” He also critisized the Kindle Fire, saying that no one would ever use one to do their homework.
Of course, the Kindle Fire is almost entirely designed to be a content consumption device, specifically for Amazon content. It is also only $199 for the New Kindle Fire HD. While a rumored $200 price would have put the Surface in clear competition with Amazon and Google in the mini-tablet market, a $300 or more price puts it in direct competition with Apple’s iPad, which might be a harder market to jump into.
Aside from his tablet market evaluation, Ballmer also made predictions on where Microsoft is going. He stated that Windows 8 is one of the biggest things to ever happen to Microsoft. From the interview:
“You know, Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it. It’s a little hard to compare things like the founding (of the company) and the introduction of the first popular PC and the system that popularized it, but it’s at that scale.”
Of course, Ballmer isn’t known for his accurate predictions. Back in 2007 he predicted that the original iPhone would be a failure due to its high price.