John Paczkowski

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Microsoft Slashes Surface RT Prices Indefinitely

Rabbit_of_SevilleHoping to purge some of its excess Surface RT inventory, Microsoft has slashed the tablet’s price by as much as 30 percent.

On Sunday, the price of the 32 gigabyte Surface RT fell to $349 from $499, while the price of its $649 64GB counterpart dropped to $499. The cuts, telegraphed last week in a report from The Verge, are the latest in a series of Microsoft efforts to speed lagging sales of the device, which hasn’t garnered much interest from consumers. And unlike prior discounts, they extend to all markets in which the Surface RT is sold. And they’re to be offered indefinitely.

Evidently, the Surface RT giveaways and the half-off educational discount the company began offering earlier this summer haven’t whittled down inventory as much as Microsoft had hoped.

And, make no mistake, Microsoft is likely sitting on a sizable pile of unsold Surface RTs. The company ordered three million units before its launch last October. By mid-March, it had managed to sell only a third of them, according to Bloomberg. An epic disappointment for the company, and a situation that sources close to it say hasn’t changed much in the ensuing months.

Not that Microsoft would ever admit it. To hear tell from the company, Surface RT owners skip through the streets of their towns playing its touch cover like a lyre while singing the device’s praises, each one a giddy proselyte.

“We’ve been seeing great success with pricing and cover promotions over the past several months on Surface RT in the U.S. and other markets,” a Microsoft spokesman told AllThingsD. “People who buy Surface love Surface, and we’re excited about all those additional people out there sharing their excitement for Surface with other people.”

Why is Microsoft slashing 30 percent from the price of a device that inspires such excitement? Good question. Perhaps Microsoft will answer it when it reports earnings later this week.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald