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Oprah Winfrey tweets her love of Surface – from her iPad

Microsoft's fondleslab not her most favorite

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Media mogul Oprah Winfrey may have named the Microsoft Surface tablet as one of her "favorite things" of 2012, but when she took to Twitter to hype the device, she did so from an iPad.

Oprah declared her love for the device in a Twitter post on Sunday, claiming she had already bought twelve of them as Christmas presents.

But keen-eyed Winfrey watchers quickly spotted that the post had been issued from the Twitter for iPad client. Although the stock Twitter UI no longer shows which client was used to file a tweet, some third-party clients still do.

Of course, there are several possible explanations why Winfrey chose to tout Surface using the competition's kit. One might be that she's simply had an iPad for longer and she hasn't figured out how to sync all of her contacts to Windows RT yet.

Another possible explanation is that she had a staffer post the tweet for her, and the staffer used an iPad. (Heads up, Oprah staff! El Reg suspects there may be something special under the tree for you this year.)

Another possibility: Although Oprah approves of Microsoft's fondleslab in principle, it's still just not in her league. In her holiday write-up of the device, she gushed, "The Surface, Microsoft's first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people!" But maybe the fantastically wealthy Winfrey – whose net worth is estimated at $2.7bn – just happens to be a Bentley gal? Similarly, she thinks the Surface is just wonderful ... for you.

But the more likely explanation is that Oprah's so-called favorite things are really not much more than product placement. A 2011 article in Businessweek described the TV programs in which she announced her favorites as being "tantamount to infomercials, though far more effective." In some cases, the article claimed, a plug from Oprah has been enough to send product sales up more than 600 per cent.

Redmond could certainly benefit from a bump like that. Despite Microsoft having opened 32 pop-up retail stores to hawk Surface, sales so far have been described as "modest" by no less than CEO Steve Ballmer himself.

Early reports of hardware problems with the Surface – including audio that randomly mutes, logos that wear off with little provocation, and keyboards that split apart at the edges – can't be helping matters.

But then again, maybe none of these explanations is correct. Maybe Oprah is just waiting for the Scrabble HD app to arrive for her Surface before she starts using it in earnest. She named the Scrabble iPad app – along with the iPad itself – one of her "ultimate favorite things" of 2010. ®

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