Microsoft intends to charge tablet manufacturers between $80 and $95 for each copy of Windows RT, a relatively high price that could make Windows-based tablets less competitive with devices running Google's free Android mobile operating system.
The expected cost of Windows RT for tablet makers was reported late Tuesday by the VR-Zone Web site, which based its conclusions on discussions with tablet manufacturers attending this week's Computex Taipei show in Taiwan.
Windows RT is a version of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system specifically developed to run on devices built on ARM microprocessors. With sales of mobile devices -- smart phones and tablet computers -- out-selling traditional desktop PCs, Microsoft is in danger of losing its market relevance unless it can become a major player in tablets and smartphones.
Windows RT tablets will be competing against Apple's popular iPad and tablets from a number of vendors that run on Android. Microsoft runs the risk of making Windows RT tablets less competitive if it charges manufacturers too much and tablet vendors have to charge a higher price for their products.
VR-Zone said that in meetings with "multiple" vendors at Computex, Microsoft appeared set to charge manufacturers between $80 and $95 for each copy of Windows RT with $85 being the most commonly quoted price. The site said there have been rumors that Microsoft had been considering charging as little as $35 for the operating system.
Microsoft did not immediately return a request for comment on the report.