Steve Ballmer admits "modest" Surface sales

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Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer failed to provide exact numbers on Surface tablet sales during an interview with French magazine Le Parisien, but he did call the average number of Windows 8 tablets sold "modest".

The device did sell out within the first 24 hours of its release for pre-order. However, with no exact details on how many the company had in stock to begin with its anybody's guess what that really means.

During his interview, Ballmer talked about his company's new 10in tablet but failed to give any details on a potential 7in Surface. When asked about the potential of an iPad Mini competitor Ballmer gave the old stand-by of "no comment".

The anything but modest chief executive also talked about the press reception for the new tablet. Ballmer said that the press reaction has been "phenomenal". Which may, or may not, be entirely true.

The Surface has been a landmark launch for Microsoft, representing the firm's serious forray in to hardware - not including its Xbox games console and disastrous Zune media player. It's a move that has ruffled the feathers of some of its hardware partners.

While some of those partners will shed few tears if Surface flops, others will be left asking: If Microsoft cannot succeed with a tablet running Windows 8, who can?

Of course, it's still too early to call the Surface a bust. But the pressure on Microsoft to show it can succeed just ratcheted up another notch.

13 Nov 2012

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