'Tis the season for short-lived deals. Today's is brought to you by Microsoft and Dell, which have teamed up to offer the Dell Venue Pro 8 for $99, down from its usual $299.
It's a striking deal for an 8-inch tablet that is powered by a Intel Atom processor and has the full version of Windows 8.1, but it's limited at that price. Only the first 20 people who get to the Microsoft Store today can get the $99 doorbuster price. After that you can get it for $199, which is still a great deal.
The tablet sold out online for the $99 price early on Monday morning; Microsoft only had 100 devices at that doorbuster price. It will remain online for $199 until the end of the day. You can buy it here.
The promotion is the first planned for the next 12 days at Microsoft Stores. But the sale also calls attention to the demand for affordably priced Windows 8 devices. Most Windows 8 tablets are priced competitively for the laptop market since they are hybrid devices -- a tablet with a keyboard dock -- but few of them fall below $350. A large part of that is how Microsoft prices its Windows licenses, which tablet makers have to pay to load on the software.
"I think Microsoft has missed a big opportunity with the low need, but that is in line with them missing the boat on almost every major trend for the last few years," Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst of Moorhead Insights, told ABC News. "They missed the boat on touch, they missed the boat on the 7-inch form factor -- which they finally do have -- and now they have been late with a low-priced offering."
Moorhead also points out that Windows devices -- tablets, laptops and phones -- have lost their higher-end luster because Microsoft fell behind Apple and Google in the mobile market. And that is ultimately what today's deal is about, he says.
"This is to get excitement going about not only Windows 8 tablet but also about the Microsoft Store before the holidays," Moorhead said.