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Microsoft halves Surface RT production orders - report

Ballmer was right after all, might only 'sell a few million'

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Microsoft has slashed the number of Surface RT tablets on order with the Original Design Manufacturers in Asia, according to reports.

The supply chain was primed to build and ship four million units of the ARM-based device by year-end but Redmond has slashed this to two million on the back of weak demand, sources told Digi Times.

Those loquacious bean spillers also claimed that Redmond may bring forward the release date of the Intel-based Surface Pro from early next year to December.

Surface was designed as a reference point to showcase Windows 8 and CEO Steve Ballmer previously said it could ship just a "few million".

Unsurprisingly Microsoft's slab has attracted criticism from hardware partners that now double up as competitors too. And the product is sold direct through the firm's physical store and web shop which hasn't best pleased some channel partners.

A little more than a fortnight ago Ballmer appeared to drop another clanger when he reportedly told a French paper the Surface slab sales were off to a modest start.

But the Redmond PR machine soon rushed in to point out that what the bald eagle really meant was the ramp in the supply chain was modest. PC manufacturers were slow to come forth with Windows RT devices and others delayed their launches including Acer and Toshiba.

Sources told us earlier this month that margins on RT machines were thin - not a problem for Microsoft. It seems PC vendors forecasted modest sales and are holding out to release a raft of Intel-based machines at CES. ®

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