Microsoft plans to introduce its Surface RT tablet for a loss-leading $199, according to a published report. If accurate, it means Redmond's entry into the hardware market could cause big headaches for rivals.
The impact could be felt most by Amazon, whose Kindle Fire tablet also sells for $199. As popular as it is, Kindle Fire doesn't compare to Surface RT, based on what Microsoft has revealed. For starters, Surface RT offers a more generous 10.6-inch screen, compared to Kindle Fire's 7-inch display.
That's just the beginning. Surface RT runs a version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. Windows RT only runs on ARM chips, and it won't run legacy Windows apps. But it's still a Microsoft platform, and that means it will--out of the box or eventually--run a new, touch-optimized version of Office 15, Skype, Explorer, and Xbox Live content. Users will also be able to acquire third-party apps from the Windows Store.