Google’s low-priced Chromebooks are adding a new wrinkle to a PC market already being undercut by tablets. Microsoft has promised to make it easier for computer makers to compete with lower-priced Windows machines. And just in case there were any doubts, a promotion launched by Microsoft today shows that price does matter.
Microsoft’s online and physical retail stores are offering the ASUS X200-MA touch-screen laptop for $199 today, for one day only. This is not a bottom-of-the-line machine. The notebook, running Windows 8.1, has an 11.6 inch display and 4GB of memory with a 500 GB hard drive, promising up to 5 hours of battery life.
Whether or not this is representative of the low-priced Windows machines to come, it has become quickly clear this morning that there’s demand for notebooks at this price point. As of 6:30 Pacific time, the ASUS is sold out in all three colors on the Microsoft Store online.
Will we see lines outside Microsoft’s retail stores today?
Microsoft in February promised that it would “enable our partners to build lower cost hardware for a great Windows experience at highly competitive price points.” The company is reducing the price of Windows 8.1 for tablet and computer manufacturers by 70 percent, to $15, for devices that sell for less than $250, according to a report by Bloomberg at the time.