Microsoft, BlackBerry slash prices in struggle against Apple, Google

Less than a year after Microsoft unveiled the Surface, the software company is slashing the price of its first and long-anticipated tablet amid weak demand and competition from Apple’s iPad.

And BlackBerry, another company struggling to compete with Silicon Valley’s dominance of the smartphone and tablet industry, has also cut prices on its flagship product to try to boost sales as more consumers prefer iPhones and Android phones.

Lagging sales of Surface tablets is more bad news for Microsoft, which has struggled to recover from disappointing reviews of Windows 8, an operating system upgrade that is designed for touch-screen device and was showcased last fall on the Surface. But consumers have shunned what is widely considered the operating system’s awkward interface, and the company’s efforts to refine the system’s clunkiness have fallen short.

Bloomberg first reported that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft was trying to unload Surface tablets by cutting prices by $150 for the least-expensive Surface RT model, which now costs $349, down from $499. The same device with a keyboard included  has been reduced to $449 from $599.

The price cut follows Microsoft’s announcement last week a company-wide reorganization that in part focuses more resources on device development, such as Windows phones, tablets and Xbox game consoles. The reorganization — the company’s second in less than a decade — is a response not only to Microsoft’s struggles with Windows 8 and the Surface, but also the company’s failure to compete with Google in search and with Apple in digital music and mobile devices.

BlackBerry, of Ontario, Canada, has cut the price of the Z10 phone to as low as $49 with a contract, down from $199 four months ago, the BBC reports. The company has made repeated attempts to revive its relevance in the smartphone industry, but its latest effort with the touchscreen-only Z10 appears to be falling short. Cupertino-based Apple and, more recently, Android phones by South Korea’s Samsung have edged out the once-popular BlackBerry.

The company reported an $84 million loss for its last quarter.



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  • I have been banging on for months … (reticent to say years as that encompasses the lifetime of smartphones) … well, banging on about RIM’s lack of commercial diversity. Now christened BlackBerry it still has only the despised Playbook as an alternate revenue source.

    So I find myself chastened that the diversified Microsoft see it necessary to follow BB in fire sale fever. But they can afford it; BB cannot, despite the reported $3B cash in hand. However, Microsoft have a bigger problem; big bouncy Balmer.

    Diversity is not always a requisite for financial success, but when Samsung lead or dominate in markets as diverse as Fridge Freezers (in fact most white goods), plus technologies that directly impact smartphones; cameras and flatscreen display …. it becomes hard to believe that even Apple are safe. Samsung’s success in R&D belies the myth that WE in the West create it and the Asians make it.

  • Martin Cohen

    I love phones with physical keyboards and might have gotten the new Blackberry, except that there are no direction keys to use, in combination with the shift key, for selecting text. Sorry, no sale.

  • They can keep slashing the price of the Microsoft Surface RT. No one is going to buy it. Hopefully the new Intel Haswell tablets will provide the performance, battery life, and price combination to help the platform succeed.