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Microsoft's Door-Buster Promo Aims To Boost Demand for Windows 8.1

Microsoft will be looking to create some consumer traction for Windows 8.1 devices with a new holiday themed sale. Its promotion, called "12 Days of Deals," kicked off this morning with a Dell Venue 8 Pro. Normally priced at $299, this door buster was listed at $99 for the first 20 customers at each store and online.

At just $99, it's a steal! Microsoft also promised after the first 20 people got their $99 tablets, it would offer more at $199 until they ran out. Even though it was a bait-and-switch, $199's not bad price so I figured I'd check it out. Since the store was scheduled to open at 10:00 a.m., I figured I'd get there at 9:30 guessing I'd face either a really long line or no crowd at all since the deal was not widely advertised.

I tried to grab one on the store's Web site right after midnight but the site was unavailable due to the demand. In person, it turned out the line had about a dozen people on it but apparently the store quietly opened at 8:00 a.m., so I was out of luck for the $99. I learned the line began forming at 3 a.m. this morning but it would take more than a deal like that to get me on any line at that hour.

I decided $199 for a tablet running Windows 8.1 Pro could be compelling if it performs reasonably well. The recently released Dell Venue 8 Pro has an 8-inch IPS HD multi-touch display (1280x800) powered by an Intel Atom processor (the Z3740D with 2 MB cache and up to 1.8 GHz quad core), 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage (with support for 64 GB of additional storage by adding a MicroSD card). It also comes with Office Home and Student 2013.

Since I have 14 days to return it, I'll report whether it's a keeper or if I decide to bring it back!  If you're thinking of trying to snag one for $199 at the online Microsoft Store, forget it.  A message on the site says it's sold out.

If you've tried out the Dell Venue 8 Pro, how do you like it?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/09/2013 at 1:09 PM


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