Microsoft CEO: Surface RT sales off to a 'modest' start

Summary:Just over two weeks since the Surface RT launched -- dogged with delivery troubles, peeling accessories, and even vulnerable to early critical security flaws -- Microsoft's boss says sales are off to a "modest" start.

Let them eat cake? No, let them buy tablets. 

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer says sales of the new ARM-based Surface RT tablets are off to a "modest" start, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.

ZDNet: Surface RT Review

He also told the Parisian publication said that he expects the upcoming Windows Phone 8 sales to "ramp up quickly." Devices running the next-generation Microsoft smartphone platform were released three days after the Surface tablet in late October.

And that's all he said. Not even a hint of anything else. (Thanks for the specifics, Steve.)

The day after Windows Phone 8 device went on sale at the end of October, Ballmer boasted that four million copies of Windows 8  had been sold, the latest desktop operating system which later Surface tablets will run, in just the few days after it launched. (By comparison, in the same four days after Apple released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, the company reported that  more than three million copies of the software  had been downloaded from the Mac App Store.)

But not everything out of the Redmond, Seattle-based company has been smooth in the past few weeks.

U.K. and European buyers failed to get their shiny rectangles on time, in spite of being promised a delivery date of October 26. Many waited up to a week before they received delivery, leading to widespread anger on Twitter and an  intervention by Windows president Steven Sinofsky .

An even smaller number of users, once they had actually received the tablet, complained that the Touch Cover started to split and come away from the material that binds the touch-technology together. 

But just over a fortnight after the Surface went on sale and Windows 8 was launched, primed and ready to be used on desktop and laptops all over the world, Microsoft issued its latest Patch Tuesday advisory notice, warning that Windows 8 had three "critical" security vulnerabilities while the Surface RT device had one critical security flaw.

Patches for the vulnerabilities be dished out over Windows Update tomorrow on Tuesday.

Topics: Mobility, iPhone, PCs, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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