It’s interesting to note that Microsoft priced its Windows RT Surface tablet at £399, which is probably about what you’d expect the RRP of 32GB Android-based tablets to reach.
One might have expected Microsoft to offer the Surface at a much lower entry point to rapidly capture market share but that was always a non-possibility because unlike ill-fated Zune or the Xbox, Microsoft appears to be willing to spread the love around and rely on its partners to succeed, just like Google did at the beginning.
By enriching the Surface with some “premium” features like 2GB of RAM and pricing the tablet accordingly, Microsoft gives some leeway to its partners, allowing them, if they want to, to offer cheaper models and with more or less features.
After all, this is what Microsoft did with Windows Phone at the beginning, with Nokia and Qualcomm procuring partners with a blueprint and then allowing them to muck around within reason.
Should Surface rapidly become popular, one can expect Microsoft to faithfully follow the footsteps of Google and Apple and brashly take control of the OS and the hardware by delivering its own integrated platform - a la Xbox and not unlike the poker coup from Google and Asus with the Nexus 7 that wreaked havoc in the 7in Android tablet category.
But this will only happen if, and only if, Surface becomes popular. Until then, Microsoft will have to rely on and share (slimmer) profits with partners. The overwhelming majority of which, ironically, already have Linux-based Android tablets in their portfolios.