Ballmer fuels Microsoft Surface price rumours


Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has dropped the biggest hint yet about how much consumers can expect to pay for the company's soon-to-be launched Surface tablet.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Ballmer said he did not consider the Apple iPad to be a "super-expensive device", and that cheaper tablets tend to look less good.Would somebody ever use a Kindle Fire to do their homework? The answer is no."If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, $300 to about $700 or $800. That's the sweet spot," said Ballmer.

He also picked on the limited range of uses there are for some of the tablet industry's other players.

"Would somebody ever use a [Kindle Fire] to do their homework? The answer is no. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it," he said.

Taken together, his comments will no doubt fuel speculation that the 10-inch Surface will be priced to compete with the Apple iPad when it finally goes on general release on 26 October.

Sticking with the mobile device theme, Ballmer said his firm is a "very small player" in the phone space, but is confident about growing its share of the market.

"We've got a big challenge in front of us...but we have a different point of view in terms of user experience," said Ballmer.

"We've got great cloud integration with the rest of the Microsoft world, which a lot of people participate in...and the integration with Windows should help ratchet us up."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.