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Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

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Microsoft is once again slashing the price of its unwanted ARM-based Surface RT fondleslabs.

The software giant has shaved 30 per cent off the price of a 32GB RT device now $349 and 25 per cent off the 64GB RT, now $449.

A 32GB Surface with a black Touch cover has been cut by 25 per cent to $449 and a 64GB unit with same black Touch cover is reduced by 21 per cent to $549.

Reductions are available through the Microsoft store in the US and through US retailers, Best Buy and Staples. The cuts do not seem to have made it to the UK, however. Intel-based Surface Pros are not being cut.

The price cut marks the second chop in the price of an RT, following June's whopping 60 per cent off for students buying the 32GB version, and cuts of 58 per cent and 54 per cent respectively given off the 32GB machine with Touch cover and RT with Type cover. That offer runs until 31 August in more than 10 countries including the US and UK.

Microsoft has also been throwing the RTs at attendees of its conferences.

Redmond has never said how many RTs were manufactured, but however many it made, it was too many. According to the most reliable and recent figures from market-trackers at IDC, Microsoft shipped just 900,000 Surface RTs and Pros in the first three months of 2013. Apple, by contrast, shifted 19.5 million iPads.

Windows RT was supposed to be Microsoft’s thin and lightweight alternative to the iPad. Problem is, it cannot run existing Windows apps - and there's an obvious lack of new apps.

The RT runs a version of Windows 8 that has been built for the ARM architecture.

The unloved slablet and the Windows 8.0 OS have become emblematic of Microsoft’s struggle to transition into tablets and touch: it is struggling to keep existing desktop and laptop users who need to be convinced to adapt to Microsoft’s tablets and touch operating system as well as to win over a whole new segment of customer which will also need to be convinced of its merits.

Windows 8 was supposed to be a no-compromise operating system that pushed everybody into this new way of working, only it backfired. Windows 8.1 represents a bit of a backpedal with the return of the Start button.

The disconnect between what Microsoft wants to do and is being forced to do has been articulated by chief evangelist Steven Guggenheimer. In an interview here, Microsoft's cheerleader-in-chief predicted the desktop would “go away” over time but added quickly “it will never go away completely.” ®

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