Microsoft Targeting Education Market with Surface RT Giveaways, Discounts

Pulkit Chandna

Giveaway at ISTE 2013 will be followed by discount offer during the back-to-school season

After giving them away to TechED attendees for just $99 a pop, Microsoft is now getting ready to sell the Surface RT to K12 and higher education institutions at a slightly higher, yet pretty “aggressive”, price of $199. Given all the reports of a large unsold inventory and recent murmurs about a Qualcomm-powered version , it seems as if Microsoft is trying to get rid of all those unsold Surface RT tablets in a jiffy.

But Microsoft has a slightly different explanation. According to Ryan Lowdermilk, technology evangelist for Microsoft and host of the Windows developer show, the reason why Microsoft is offering such aggressive pricing to educational institutions is because it is something it has always done.

“Microsoft’s mission in education is to help schools, students and educators realize their full potential. We do this by investing in education institutions through software, hardware and services at affordable prices,” read a post on Lowdermilk’s site prior to being taken down. “We think Surface RT is a terrific tool for teaching and learning, and we want students and educators to have the best technology on the market today.”

Under the offer, K12 and higher education institutions in as many as 25 countries will be able to buy the Surface RT (32GB) for as low as $199 ($249 with the Touch Keyboard cover and $289 with the Type Keyboard cover) for a limited time. The countries where the offer will be available are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China (via Digital China), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

More details about the offer are expected to be available at the upcoming ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) event, where Microsoft plans to give away as many as 10,000 free Surface RTs to “qualified ISTE 2013 attendees and their schools” as part of its Classroom Surface Experience Project .

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