The New York Times‘ Nick Wingfield wonders if Microsoft has any hope of competing with Apple’s revolutionary iPad on price?

Apple’s acclaimed iPad 2 “starts at $399, while the third-generation iPad with a high-resolution Retina display starts at $499,” Wingfield writes. “That price proved hard for competitors to equal. When Motorola introduced its Xoom tablet, based on Google’s Android operating system, early last year, it priced the cheapest model without a wireless contract at $800. It steadily discounted the Xoom after that, but it never caught on. The cheapest PlayBook from Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, was the same price as the iPad. It, too, fizzled and is now on sale for as little as $199. Hewlett-Packard’s Touchpad couldn’t get under Apple’s pricing until after the company discontinued the product.”

Wingfield reports, “The only clue Microsoft gave about the price of the Surface was that the version of the product that ran on a class of chips call ARM would be competitive with similar tablets. It did not mention the best-known ARM-based tablet, the iPad, by name. The huge sales volumes Apple has in the tablet market give the company an enormous advantage in buying parts cheaply for the iPad, which gives the company greater flexibility in pricing the product for consumers.”

“Even if Microsoft does price Surface aggressively, it’s unclear how helpful that will be. In the smartphone market, the premier phone running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, the Lumia 900, is selling for $99 with a two-year contract, $100 less than the iPhone. The Lumia 900’s sales, so far, have fallen far short of expectations,” Wingfield reports. “In the tablet market, Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire also has not had the corrosive effect on Apple’s market share that many people predicted.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: People don’t want their iPads to be like notebooks. That’s why there are MacBook Airs and Pros. Neither do people want fake iPads with ill-considered twists, superfluous ports, and a silly kickstand, they want real iPads and the massive, vibrant ecosystem that goes with them.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dale E.” for the heads up.]

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