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Steve Ballmer Admits Microsoft Surface Isn’t an Instant Hit

Both Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface have been on sale for more than two weeks, and the big question is: How are they doing? Although Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already revealed the company sold 4 million downloads of Windows 8 in its first weekend, the only thing he has said about sales of the Surface is that they’re “modest.”

Ballmer made his comments to France’s Le Parisien when he was in Paris to promote the worldwide launch of Windows 8. Surface sales “are starting modestly,” he told the paper, a tacit confession that it hasn’t been a runaway hit for Microsoft. While few expected it would be, Microsoft clearly has high hopes for its home-built tablet, which is meant to showcase Windows 8 as a new platform for touch-enabled apps.

Even though sales aren’t huge, Microsoft has had difficulty keeping its supplies up. On the shortage of Surface units, Ballmer said “it’s a good sign,” and that the company was was moving to fix the problem quickly.

Ballmer also took the opportunity to plug the upcoming new version of the tablet, the Surface Pro. The “high end” Surface will have a higher-resolution screen and be equipped with an Intel processor so it will be able to run apps designed for older versions of Windows. Microsoft still hasn’t revealed the release date or price of the Surface Pro, although it has said it would be aimed to compete with Ultrabooks.

The Surface (aka Surface RT) has received generally positive reviews, including from Mashable. Most observers find a lot to like about the tablet’s design and the impressive Windows 8 interface, but so far there are few apps for the platform.

Do you think sales of the Surface will pick up? Let us know your take on Microsoft’s iPad competitor in the comments.

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