This seems rather obvious, but it needs to be said: Different companies have different business models. Apple manufactures physical goods, so they need to move boxes to make money. Google and Facebook charge nothing for their services, but they put ads in front of you wherever they can to recuperate their costs. Microsoft, like most software companies, makes money by selling bits either digitally or burned onto a CD. When Google announced that they were going to create Android and make it available to anyone who wanted it at no cost, that was ground breaking. Before Android you had to give money to either Nokia for Symbian or Microsoft for Windows Mobile.
Now licensing fees don’t often get talked about, but they’re critically important since they dictate how a device will be priced. Hardware manufacturers squabble over every penny of the components that go into their devices, because they know that at the end of the day they’re going to have to cough up a significant amount of money to a software vendor. According to VR-Zone, who was in Taiwan for Computex, various sources they spoke to have said that Microsoft is charging $85 for a Windows RT license.
What’s Windows RT? It’s Windows 8, but instead of supporting legacy applications written for Intel’s chips, Windows RT will run on ARM and can only use apps made in the new touch focused Metro style. Make no mistake, $85 is a lot of money. Yes, Windows RT devices will have Microsoft Office built-in, or at least a subset of Microsoft Office, but still … that figure is astronomical when you consider Android tablets don’t have that kind of overhead.
The VR-Zone report goes on to say that first generation Windows RT machines are expected to cost around $549 to $799. If that’s the case, then is Microsoft’s next operating system already dead on arrival?