No 199 dollar Surface, no success.
The Nexus 7, has been proven to be a game changer, with its 199 price tag and upper mid-range specs and robust ecosystem it was the bargain of the year and the clear winner in the content consumption tablet war.
By that time, most people pictured the upcoming Windows RT as a competitor in that arena, while x86 tablets would would compete with products like the iPad, but Microsoft failed to position products in that price range, betting on people going bananas over the bundled Office 2013 with its RT device, even when they where twice as expensive.
Perhaps, Microsoft did not see the euphoria over smaller tablets coming, but in business, been late to the party is called failure, and Microsoft has been once again late to the party, and the more time passes without Microsoft picking up the harder and more costly it gets.
The cost for Microsoft is far worse than the almost 1 billion dollar Surface program, with each passing day, Microsoft is losing market share and even worst, its loosing mind share over Apple and more importantly Google, and that means this year, Microsoft does not only have to have an affordable tablet if they want to sell it, they need to effectively undercut Google for any moderate amount of success.
That of course means that Microsoft need to sell 150-199 windows devices and with that make little if not loose money on licensing, but they should not be worried, as it has been proven that Windows RT is not really competing against laptops and will probably take an small bite from the x86 licensing. Of course, they should just remove Office RT from the equation and take those resources into making a good Metro version that should sever more as a viewer than anything else, and the desktop? It should be removed by default, perhaps giving a little more performance out of the devices.