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Surface RT can help small businesses reduce IT costs

Microsoft caved to market pressure and sagging demand this week by slashing the price of the Surface RT tablet by 30 percent. The Surface RT is better-equipped for business than rival tablets, and at $ 350 ( $ 470 once you add a Touch or Type keyboard cover, which it requires to be truly functional) it straddles the line between tablet and PC, and could help business customers rein in IT costs.

The Surface RT isn’t for everyone. It can’t run traditional Windows software, so businesses or users that depend on specific applications or custom software can’t just toss out their PC and use a Surface RT. For a variety of use cases, however, a device with email, Web access, and Microsoft Office is sufficient.

The Surface RT can replace a Windows PC for many users.

The Surface RT includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. With Windows 8.1, the Surface RT also gets Outlook, and Microsoft just updated the OneNote MX app to allow it to connect to Office 365 accounts. Microsoft has also made many of its tools available across iOS and Android, but the integration of the Surface RT with Microsoft software and services sets it apart from other mobile devices as a business tool.

It’s true a business can supply users with standard Windows laptops—with the full Windows operating system, more internal storage, a real keyboard, and possibly a DVD or Blu-Ray drive—for roughly the same money. But when it comes to weight and battery life, no $ 500 laptop can come close to what the Surface RT has to offer.

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