Two major players in the technology world have slashed their prices in a bid to improve disappointing sales figures.
Both American multinational Microsoft and Canadian firm Blackberry have cut the cost of their flagship products to tempt consumers.
In the UK, Microsoft has cut the price of its 32GB Surface RT to £279 from £399, with the 64GB model also down by the same amount to a current price of £359.
Meanwhile, across the pond in the US, Blackberry has shaved a staggering amount from its Z10 smartphone, to as low as $49 with a contract, down from $199 just four months ago.
It comes after a similar move by Microsoft in the US, with the Surface down from $499 to $349.
Both firms have been trying to play Samsung and Apple at their own game by releasing high-end, high-quality products onto the market.
Microsoft said it was having considerable success following competitive pricing and cover promotions over the past few months in the US. A spokesman for Microsoft said the company was thrilled that more people were getting the chance to experience the Surface device.
“People who buy Surface love Surface,” he said. “And we’re excited about all those additional people out there sharing their excitement for Surface with other people.”
But, it appears Microsoft may simply be putting a brave face on the situation.
Recent statistics released by the analysts IDC indicate that Microsoft shipped only 900,000 Surface RTs and Pros during the first three months of this year, while Apple shipped a whopping 19.5m iPads.
Tom Cripps, a telecoms analyst at Ovum said BlackBerry and Microsoft were having a very tough time trying to compete with the industry big guns.
He described the price cuts as “a big deal for both companies,” adding: “Competing with the Apples and Samsungs of this world is tough, and it’s a difficult climate to put out high-end products when the market is so dominated by a couple of players.”
Recent rumours circulating the web have suggested that Microsoft may be gearing up to launch smaller screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. But analysts don’t believe this is the solution to Microsoft’s woes. Ryan Reith at IDC said: “The notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly, the market is moving toward smart seven to eight inch devices. But, Microsoft’s larger challenges centre around consumer messaging and lower cost competition.”
One thing’s for sure though, Microsoft certainly has some fans, with many tech forum users rushing to defend its products. One described the decision to buy a Surface Pro as the best they’d ever made, while another said: “It doesn’t matter what the armchair experts who have never used one say, the surface is a wonderful product. Well worth £280.”
It remains to be seen whether slashing prices has been the right decision for Microsoft and BlackBerry, or whether consumers may now see the two company brands as having been somewhat devalued.