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Microsoft's Surface tablet has 'modest' start: CEO

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Lionel Laurent

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"Modest start" ... Microsoft's Surface tablet.

"Modest start" ... Microsoft's Surface tablet.

Microsoft's new Surface tablet — its challenger to Apple's iPad — had a "modest" start to sales because of limited availability, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer told French newspaper Le Parisien.

The world's largest software company put the Surface tablet centre stage at its Windows 8 launch event last month in its fight against Apple and Google in the exploding mobile computing market.

"We've had a modest start because Surface is only available on our online retail sites and a few Microsoft stores in the United States," Ballmer was quoted as saying.

The new device, which runs a limited version of Windows and Office with a thin, click—on keyboard cover, is being positioned by Microsoft as the ideal combination of PC and tablet that is good for work as well as entertainment.

Ballmer also said 500

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