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Microsoft Surface tablets to hit Taiwan stores on Aug. 4

2013/07/24 18:36:53

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Microsoft Corp.'s Surface RT and Surface Pro tablet computers are scheduled to be launched in Taiwan on Aug. 4 in an attempt to boost the languishing sales of the Windows-powered devices.

The two 10.6-inch tablets will be available in Taiwan starting 12 p.m. on that date, at 100 stores of local electronics chains Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co. and Fayaque Co., Microsoft Taiwan said on Wednesday in a press release, without giving pricing details.

Microsoft has reduced the price of its Windows RT-based Surface RT tablet by as much as 30 percent to US$349, as the device struggles to lure consumers away from Apple Inc.'s iPads and other tablets running Google Inc.'s Android operating system, foreign media reported.

The Windows 8-based Surface Pro tablet now starts from US$899, with 64 gigabytes of internal memory, according to Microsoft's website.

The Windows 8 operating system is designed for devices using processors from Microsoft's long-time partner Intel Corp., while the Windows RT is designed for models using low-power chips licensed by British chip designer ARM Holding Plc.

It remains to be seen whether tablet PCs using the Windows operating system will affect the market share of Apple, which has dominated the tablet segment so far.

For the second quarter of 2013, Microsoft unexpectedly reported US$900 million in write-down charges for unsold inventory of its Surface RT tablet, forcing the U.S. software giant to miss analysts' revenue and profit expectations.

Though Microsoft has said that it is actively ramping up regional distribution of both Surface RT and Surface Pro products, the two tablets continue to struggle to gain traction in the global market.

According to data from market research firm IDC, Microsoft was ranked as the world's fifth-largest tablet vendor in the first quarter of the year, with only a 1.8 percent share of the market.

Among the nearly 900,000 Surface tablets shipped during the quarter, many were Surface Pro models, which the company started shipping to the United States and Canada in February, IDC said.

"Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 inch devices, but Microsoft's larger challenges center around consumer messaging and lower cost competition," said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's mobility tracker program.

"If these challenges are addressed, along with the desired screen- size variations, then we could see Microsoft make even further headway in 2013 and beyond," he said in a May 1 report.

(By Jeffrey Wu)