Microsoft Says CEO Called Surface Distribution ‘Modest’

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer described the company’s approach to supplying and distributing the Surface tablet as “modest,” countering reports that suggested he was referring to sales of the device.

Ballmer made the comments in an interview with French publication Le Parisien, according to a statement from Microsoft. The executive also described the reception to the device, the first computer built by Microsoft, as “fantastic,” the company said in the statement.

U.S. publications such as Pocketnow, Cnet and Gizmodo, using a translation of the Le Parisien article on the French publication’s website, reported that Ballmer had said sales were “modest.” The translation has now been altered to remove references to the executive discussing modest sales, according to Pocketnow.

“When asked about Surface, Steve’s use of the term ‘modest’ was in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface with Windows RT, which has only been available via our online store and Microsoft retail and holiday stores in the U.S. and Canada,” Microsoft said in the statement. “While our approach has been modest, Steve notes the reception to the device has been ‘fantastic’ which is why he also stated that ‘soon, it will be available in more countries and in more stores.’”

Surface went on sale on Oct. 26, at the same time as the new version of Windows, called Windows 8. Surface is currently available only with the Windows RT iteration of Windows 8, which runs on processors with ARM Holdings Plc (ARM)’s technology. A Surface with an Intel Corp. chip is set to go on sale early next year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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