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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer   (Source: Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Microsoft executive hints that Surface will be priced similar to the Apple iPad

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer isn't exactly reserved, but he tried to play coy when asked about pricing of his company's upcoming Surface tablet. Still, that didn't stop him from dropping a bit of a hint.  He commented in a new interview with Seattle Times:

We haven't announced pricing. I think we have a very competitive product from the features perspective. ...

I think most people would tell you that the iPad is not a superexpensive device. ... (When) people offer cheaper, they do less. They look less good, they're chintzier, they're cheaper.

If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle (Kindle Fire, $199) to do their homework? The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it....

If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That's the sweet spot.

The comment not-so-subtly knocks Google Inc.'s (GOOG)/ASUSTek Computer Inc.'s (TPE:2357Nexus 7 and Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZNKindle Fire HD, both of which are priced at or below $300 USD, while offering cautious praise for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad.  This isn't the first time Mr. Ballmer has shown some love for the iPad, which stands in in contrast to his general negativity on all other things Apple.

Mr. Ballmer is careful not to be too bullish on his own offering, commenting, "We'll have to see whether Surface is a success or not because we haven't shipped any yet. But it certainly has the elements of success."

Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface

But he's much less on the fence about Windows 8, the operating system that powers Surface.  Despite Microsoft's contentious decision to unroll the time-honored start menu into a second, more graphically rich touch-compatible screen (formerly known as Metro), Mr. Ballmer is convinced Windows 8 will be a hit.

He comments:

We're trying to really re-imagine the world from the ground up with Windows 8. ... And then people orient their development schedules around Windows 8 and its new properties and attributes.

You know, Windows 8 is going to do great.

I'm not paid to have doubts. (Laughs.) I don't have any. It's a fantastic product. ... It ...brings us into this world of much more mobile computing and more mobile form factors. I think it's going to be hard to tell what's a tablet and what is a PC
.

We'll have to wait and see whether both products -- Surface and Windows 8 live up to the CEO's hopes.

Source: The Seattle Times





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