Apple’s iPad is Microsoft’s Only Surface Rival

Steve Ballmer has dashed all hopes of a sub-$200 price tag for Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) upcoming tablet, Surface, while hinting that the device was instead targeting a clear rivalry with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. In an interview with Seattle Times, the Microsoft chief executive gave an indication of the price range the company is planning for the new tablet, set to be released on October 29.

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“I think most people would tell you that the iPad is not a superexpensive device,” Ballmer said. “If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That’s the sweet spot.”

Ballmer also had harsh words for the comparatively cheaper, 7-inch tablets of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and (NASDAQ:AMZN), among others, calling them less capable. “[When] people offer cheaper, they do less. They look less good, they’re chintzier, they’re cheaper,” Ballmer said. “If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle (Kindle Fire, $199) to do their homework? The answer is no; you never would. It’s just not a good enough product.”

Amazon launched a new line of its Kindle Fire tablets earlier this month, with one version of the device coming in a larger 8.9-inch screen size. It’s been a season of new tablets, with Google also launching its Nexus 7 earlier in the summer.

While Microsoft has not revealed many features of the upcoming Surface, Ballmer said the tablet would be able to stand out in the crowd. “I think we have a very competitive product from the features perspective,” he said.

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