Surface 'Modestly' Received, Microsoft CEO Admits

Dennis Faas's picture

In a recent interview with French publication Le Parisien, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer admitted that sales of the company's Surface tablet have proceeded only "modestly."

Ballmer was reluctant to disclose any precise sales figures. It's hard not to assume that Microsoft is therefore concerned about the public's early reception of the Surface.

At first, demand for the Surface, Microsoft's first tablet computer, was impressive. In fact, the device sold out online and in some retail outlets during its first few days of availability. (Source:

However, in the weeks that followed consumer interest in the Surface has apparently waned.

Windows RT, Windows Store Both Big Concerns for Consumers

There are a few possible explanations for that problem.

For one, the only operating system available for the Surface right now is Windows RT, a slimmed-down version of Windows 8 specially built for mobile devices.

Windows RT doesn't have all the features found in Windows 8, which is why Ballmer attempted to steer discussion towards the higher-end Surface Pro (which runs a full version of Windows 8) in his interview.

Unlike the current Surface, the Surface Pro will allow users to install applications like Adobe Photoshop and Mozilla Firefox in desktop mode.

Some critics aren't happy that the current Surface forces people to use Windows Store, the digital media distribution service that currently features far fewer applications than the Apple Store or Google Play.

The Surface Pro is also heavier and thicker than the early model Surface. The Surface Pro also features a higher-resolution display. (Soure:

Apple's iPad Mini Provides Stiff Competition

Unfortunately, the Surface Pro won't go on sale until early 2013. (Source:

Another problem for the Surface in its current form: the Apple iPad Mini. Although critics have raised concerns about the device's screen, which suffers a lower resolution than the standard iPad, the device has been selling out online and at Apple retail locations across North America.

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