Gottheil, however, remained unconvinced that Microsoft's pricing strategy was smart, or that it even had a strategy. "It's going to be very hard to explain the value proposition to consumers," he said. "The one hope they had was to show good price-performance."
So who will buy a Surface RT at these prices?
"It's not going to be bought by someone who would buy an iPad, or even an Android tablet," Gottheil argued. "I think it's for a very specific market: consumers who have a primary PC, want a tablet, and for whom Office is very important. But it's not even clear if Office will not be available on Android or iOS.
"I just don't see this a successful product concept at this point," Gottheil concluded. "It's always been a problem child. It's poorly defined and poorly positioned. It would be a mystifying product even at a considerably lower price."
Customers in eight countries -- Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the U.K. and U.S. -- can pre-order a Surface RT from Microsoft's online store, which today promised delivery by Oct. 26.
Computerworld's Matt Hamblen contributed to this report.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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