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Microsoft to push Surface tablets to businesses abroad via channel

Juan Carlos Perez | Aug. 15, 2013
Microsoft will start selling its struggling Surface devices to business customers abroad via channel partners on Thursday.

In its fourth fiscal quarter, ended June 30, Microsoft took a $900 million charge for Surface RT inventory adjustments, and later said in a regulatory filing that Surface sales in the quarter had generated $853 million in revenue.

Since the Surface launch, Microsoft has cut the price of the Surface Pro and the Surface RT and run promotions to try and spur sales.

Surface RT in particular has been a tough sell to businesses because Windows RT devices can't run existing Windows 7 applications, only new applications built for the new OS and available in the Windows Store. Moreover, Windows RT ships with a version of Office, but it's not licensed for commercial use.

In addition, Windows RT lacks many IT management features and doesn't support the Outlook email client, but Microsoft is addressing those two issues in the 8.1 update of the OS, which is now in previews and slated for general availability in mid-October.

The Surface RT now starts at US$349.

The Surface Pro is more powerful and can run legacy Windows applications, but it starts at $799 and reviewers have faulted its limited battery life. It started shipping in February.


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