May 15, 2013, 1:58 PM — Dell drastically cut the online price of its Windows RT tablet and is now selling the device for $299.99. The price is a $200 drop from the original $499 price offered at the launch of the Dell XPS 10 last October.
The cost cut was "due to a combination of factors," Dell spokeswoman Ellen Murphy said in an emailed statement, without directly commenting on the slow early sales of Windows RT tablets in the overall market. She said Dell considered its inventory of the XPS 10 and "competitive positioning and other market factors" in making the cost reduction.
According to IDC, Windows RT tablets suffered in shipments last quarter, grabbing only 0.4% of the tablet market.
The paltry shipments led many analysts to question the future of Windows RT, although Qualcomm and Nvidia, -- both suppliers of ARM-based processors for Windows RT -- have defended the operating system and say it has a good future as a power-efficient platform.
In defense of Windows RT, Dell's Murphy said in her email to Computerworld: "We expect the Windows RT proposition to grow stronger over time...We consider Windows RT to be a mobility-optimized tablet OS that provides a compelling and productive experience for consumers who desire a device that's always on and always connected with great battery life. We expect the Windows ecosystem to grow and mature in the near future, and it's imperative that the industry work together to better educate customers on product benefit and features....We collaborate closely with Microsoft and together have strived to make technology more accessible and intuitive for our customers. Windows 8 and Windows RT are important milestones in this journey."
Microsoft this week said it will issue a free update called Windows 8.1 (code-named Windows Blue) to both Windows 8 and Windows RT. A preview is coming in June.