Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft Corp., holds a Surface tablet. (Scott Eells / Bloomberg )
Sales of the Surface tablet have gotten off to a modest start, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has told a French newspaper.
The Surface is Microsoft's flagship Windows 8 device and its only tablet offering for the holiday season. It's going up against the Apple iPad as well as tablets by Google and Amazon.
A version of the Surface running Windows RT, a slimmed-down version of Windows 8, went on sale last month starting at $499 for a 32 GB model.
Ballmer said sales have been affected by the fact that the Surface is only available online and at some U.S. Microsoft retail stores, he told Le Parisien.
The head man of the Redmond, Wash.-based company did not give out exact sales figures, but he said supply shortages of the Surface are a good sign of demand. He also reassured that Microsoft will be dealing with the shortages by increasing capacity.
Additionally, Ballmer told Le Parisien that a version of the Surface capable of running Windows 8 Pro and that also has a higher-quality screen will launch three months after the launch of the Windows RT Surface, according to Dow Jones Newswires. That would place the launch around January.
[Updated, 1:23 p.m. Nov. 12: Microsoft clarified that what Ballmer meant by a modest start was in reference to the company's approach in ramping up supply and distribution of the Surface, not how sales have been going.
"While our approach has been modest, Steve notes the reception to the device has been 'fantastic,' which is why he also stated that 'soon, it will be available in more countries and in more stores,'" the company said in a statement sent Tuesday to The Times.]
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