Microsoft's Surface tablet has "modest" start: Ballmer

PARIS Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:05pm EST

1 of 2. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is silhouetted against a video screen during his presentation of the new Surface in Los Angeles, California, June 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/David McNew

Related Topics

PARIS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's new Surface tablet - its challenger to Apple's iPad - had a "modest" start to sales because of limited availability, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told French daily Le Parisien.

The world's largest software company put the Surface tablet center stage at its Windows 8 launch event last month in its fightback against Apple and Google in the exploding mobile computing market.

"We've had a modest start because Surface is only available on our online retail sites and a few Microsoft stores in the United States," Ballmer was quoted as saying.

The new device, which runs a limited version of Windows and Office with a thin, click-on keyboard cover, is being positioned by Microsoft as the ideal combination of PC and tablet that is good for work as well as entertainment.

Ballmer also said 4 million upgrades to Windows 8 were sold in the three days following the system's launch.


Asked what he thought of the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, Ballmer told the newspaper the $242.7 billion company would work with the president and with governments around the world on issues like data privacy, immigration of qualified engineers and patent litigation.

The launch of Windows 8 has already raised the hackles of European Union regulators, who warned Microsoft not to repeat the mistake of denying consumers a choice of rival Web browsers in its new operating system, in a dispute that has already cost the software giant more than $1.3 billion in fines.

Commenting on the outlook for the U.S. economy, Ballmer exhorted politicians to take action on the deficit, though he stopped short of saying whether more emphasis should be placed on spending cutbacks or tax increases.

"It's not about spending more or less, it's about balancing spending and income...The elections are over, it's time to get back to work," Ballmer, who took over the day-to-day running of Microsoft from its billionaire co-founder Bill Gates just over a decade ago.

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by David Cowell)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (12)
ClairGolden wrote:
We bought one and returned it after one frustrating week of trying to “get friendly” with it…possibly great for the younger set, but NOT for anyone older and new to the device game. The support is convoluted, and requires hours on the computer trying to figure out how to do simple functions like “delete”…..NOT advised fo senior set!
To get paid-for tutor help required 25 mile drive to store to pay first, set appointment later…Microsoft couldn’t seven handle our willingness to get one-on-one training!

Nov 12, 2012 11:34am EST  --  Report as abuse
texas100 wrote:
Surface will be a failure due to price and lack of Apps… MS should have learned the lesson from Amazon with the KF and Google with the Nexus 7; ‘create demand’ with initial low price for the base device and invest with key Developers on killer Apps.
Then add ‘options’ to the Surface that drive profit; memory, covers, keyboards, docks, headphones, insurance, etc…

Nov 12, 2012 11:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
ahms wrote:
The Surface is a nice idea, but, yeah…costs way too much, and Windows RT…yeah. And then tack in the add-ons to just make it look like the one you’ve seen in the commercials…

However, for business/institutions it might fare well, at least the Pro versions.

Nov 12, 2012 12:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.