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Microsoft and Blackberry slash device prices

BlackBerry has appointed Ron Louks as head of devices as part of its management shake up

In a move that could suggest that their efforts to disrupt the mobile device ecosystem have been met with resistance from consumers, Microsoft and Blackberry have both slashed the prices of their devices.

Microsoft’s Surface RT – Microsoft’s own-branded tablet aimed to demonstrate to OEM partners how to make the most of the Windows 8 platform – has had its price slashed by 25 per cent in the UK since the end of last year; from £479 to £359 for the 64GB version. The 32GB version has seen a 33 per cent price reduction from £399 to £279.

Meanwhile, Blackberry has slashed the price of its flagship Z10 handset in the US. The touchscreen device was announced at the same time as its BlackBerry 10 operating system, in January this year.

US customers can purchase the device from AT&T or Verizon directly for $99 , just half of the $199 price tag the smartphone had at launch. According to local reports, savvy consumers can even find a new Z10 device for just $49 at Amazon or Best Buy.

Earlier in the year, troubled BlackBerry had shown signs of stability after posting a $94m GAAP profit for 1Q13, representing an almost seven-fold increase on the $14m posted in the previous quarter, and up from the $118m loss it posted in the same quarter in 2012. However, the success was short lived and at the beginning of July, the firm posted its 2Q13 results which revealed a $169m operating loss, with financial traders wiping off a whopping $2.1bn of the firm’s value as a result.

“We are still in the early stages of this launch, but already, the BlackBerry 10 platform and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are proving themselves to customers to be very secure, flexible and dynamic mobile computing solutions,” Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry said at the time.

Heins added that the smartphone market remains highly competitive, and blamed this for the difficulty in estimating future units, revenue and levels of profitability.

Meanwhile, although the Surface RT does not come equipped with cellular connectivity, Spanish operator group Telefónica announced last month that it had established a partnership with Microsoft to “promote and foster sales” of Windows Phone 8 devices in six of the markets it operates in.

The operator said the move reinforces its commitment to encourage the operating platform landscape to become more diverse and less of a duopoly dominated by Google and Apple.

 


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