Windows 8 sales may continue to languish, but a lightning-fast sellout of ASUS notebooks on the Microsoft Store shows that as long as the price is right, people will flock to them.
Starting at 12 am Pacific time earlier today, [yesterday] the Microsoft Store had a one-day sale on the 11.6-inch Asus X200-MA notebook for $199, down from $299. For $199, it was a steal: a touchscreen notebook with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive that weighs under three pounds. Powered by an Intel Celeron N2815, it certainly isn't a power machine, and may not be suitable as one's primary computer. But as a second one, at that price it was a steal.
The machines sold out within hours. When I tried to buy one, seven hours after they went on sale, all were gone. Microsoft isn't releasing information on how many it sold, but it's not likely that it only had a handful of them, because this isn't the kind of machine that draws big press coverage.
What's the upshot here? That if the price is right, people want Windows 8 machines. At $200, the Asus was cheaper than a good number of Chromebooks. Microsoft has spent a good deal of time and money denigrating Chromebooks, but the best way to compete against them is simple: Beat or match their prices. Most people will buy Windows notebooks instead of Chromebooks if they are priced similarly.