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Microsoft signals push to smaller, lower-priced Windows tablets

Gregg Keizer | April 1, 2013
Microsoft has relaxed a Windows 8 certification requirement to allow devices with lower resolutions, a move analysts said means Microsoft could soon join the shift to smaller, less expensive tablets.

To do that, however, Microsoft will have to lower more than just its resolution requirements.

"It's not just about relaxing the certification requirements," said Milanesi. "They also need to do something about their Windows licensing. They can't charge OEMs the same for a license to Windows RT [for a smaller, less expensive tablet] as they do for Windows on a full-sized tablet aimed at the enterprise."

Milanesi also made the case that by allowing smaller tablets at corresponding lower prices, Microsoft could more easily differentiate Windows RT -- its limited-function, all-app tablet OS -- from the better known, legacy-software-compatible Windows 8.

"Windows RT is in a tough spot," Milanesi observed, citing high hardware prices, trouble buyers have in understanding the differences between it and Windows 8, and form factors not conducive to content consumption tasks, like reading.

"What's the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8?" she asked, then answered by urging Microsoft to dedicate the former to smaller, cheaper tablets.

"Microsoft wants to be in this market," said O'Donnell, referring to the 7-in. and 8-in. tablet segment. "They have to be where things are hot, where the action is."


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