Microsoft Tempts Schools with $199 Surface RT Discount Price Offer


School’s out for the summer, and that means that it’s the perfect time to start thinking ahead to next year, especially if you happen to be involved with budgeting for a school district. It also just so happens to be the perfect time to make a move if you’re pushing to get your computer hardware into schools, something that Microsoft is now doing with its plan to offer its lower-end Surface RT at heavily discounted prices to educators buy them before the end of September.

The plan follows up from Microsoft’s announcement earlier this week that it’s giving away 10,000 of its Surface RT tablets to schools across the US for free. The tablets, which include a free copy of Office 2013 and the popular note-taking app OneNote, will be offered to schools at a whopping 60% discount on the hardware’s recommended retail price of $499.

According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, the ARM-based Surface RT discount will be offered to all K12 schools, colleges and universities in the US, UK, Canada and 22 other countries. There was a little confusion earlier, with ZDNet initially reporting that the offer kicked off yesterday, only for Microsoft to remove the relevant page on its site. However, the company later released a statement saying that the offer is indeed true, though the information had been put out prematurely in error.

“We will be discussing this more in greater detail on June 24, both from the ISTE showroom floor and on our Education Newsroom. Please join us then!” stated a spokesperson for the company.

We don’t know exactly when the offer will end, but the original page seen by ZDNet said it runs  until the end of August, though this may also change. Clearly though, the deal will only be on the table for a limited time, and so schools will need to move quickly if they’re going to take advantage of it. It’s not known if Microsoft will announce a similar discount for its more powerful Surface Pro tablet, which features the full version of Windows 8.

For interested schools the price of the Surface RT has been steeply discounted, with individual units going for just $199 for a 32GB Surface RT without a touch keyboard. Schools will have to pay $249 per tablet if they want them with the touch keyboards, however this is still a great deal cheaper than the usual $599. For those who want a type keyboard cover, the price will be $289 instead of the usual $629.

ZDNet posted a screenshot revealing some fairly detailed information for schools, including a large paragraph that explains the major differences between Windows RT and Windows 8. According to these screenshots, schools will not be required to buy a minimum number of tablets to take advantage of the discounts, though the offer will end when designated supplies are exhausted. Of course, the fact that Microsoft has since pulled this page suggests that some of the details may be subject to change.