Windows 8 ARM licenses, worth the price hike?

Speculation has been rife that OEM  licenses for the shiny new edition of Windows would cost astronomical amounts, as much as 100$ per license.

Luckily for those among us who will be falling  over themselves to implement windows 8 it has been confirmed  that the price will be only a paltry $85-$90!    So while early adopters with money in the bank breathe a sigh of relief and buy themselves something nice with that $15 the rest of us are left to collectively roll our eyes wondering what the astronomical cost to the end-user will be.

All of this really is doing very little to dispel the lingering uncertainty that the jump to windows 8 might not even be worth it for the majority of workstation and laptop users.   This should be a concern for Microsoft, as it traditionally represents much of their market in terms of consumer computing.

With competitors like Ubuntu, making significant inroads into the market such as their partnerships with major players such as Dell, IBM, Lenovo and, ASUS- Microsoft should rightly be looking over their shoulder.

To be fair there has been a lot of speculation on  Windows 8, and all of us trashing it online and in the real world might be forced to eat a slice of humble pie upon launch should it be worth the price tag.    Should this not happen however, it is possible that we might be seeing a different strategy being employed by the Microsoft marketing team to grab a slice of another competitor’s market.

By pricing Windows 8 licenses in a high bracket, it is possible that Microsoft sees itself wresting the high end tablet and touch screen device market from Apple.  Costing licensing for OEMs three times more than Windows 7 might be a strategy to keep the market from being flooded by cheap Windows 8 devices and devaluing the new OS’s brand image.

Yet Microsoft’s wish to push the brand in the direction of Apple’s traditional market could backfire on them severely, by vacating the low end affordable device spectrum they abandon many of their traditional customers who realistically could not afford hyper-expensive iOS devices, and in large found that they retained all the functionality and more with their Windows devices in terms of integration and software.

All the negative press generated by this aside, it is possible that Microsoft’s exec’s came to the decision that individuals likely to purchase a tablet or a touch screen device would likely already find themselves in a higher income bracket,  thereby already excluding their “traditional” demographic from the market.   Combined with the presence of inexpensive Android devices on the market, this may be a very intentional move to try and fill a void that Microsoft perceives in the market.  Interestingly enough, the valuable and successful marketing of the XBOX360 versus the PS3 was based exactly on the reverse of this principle, with few people willing to initially shell out the astronomical amounts required for a PS3 around launch Sony was forced to keep bringing the price down so that it could compete with the XBOX360.

Why Microsoft would swap their time honoured and successful marketing strategy is beyond me, but it isn’t altogether out of character for the company to have such blundering missteps in terms of product launch and marketing, lest we forget another flashy much touted Vista which unfortunately still haunts the recent memory of many Windows users.

That being said, it would perhaps be prudent then not to make two out of the last three OS launches be a total disaster.

Let’s hope they prove me wrong in a big way, or not, either way yours truly will probably be holding onto my W7 for the foreseeable future.

Stefan Avlijas @ XiiTec in Vancouver