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Microsoft Surface With Windows Pro to Go on Sale in January

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said its Surface tablet computer running the new Windows 8 Pro software will go on sale in January, the first versions of the machine that run on Intel (INTC) Corp. chips.

Surface tablets with Windows 8 Pro will cost $899 for a version with 64 gigabytes of memory, and $999 for a 128-gigabyte model. They run on Intel’s Core i5 processor, giving the machines a graphics boost, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said today in a blog post.

Microsoft hasn’t disclosed how many units it has sold of the Surface that runs on a chip with ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) technology, which went on sale last month for $499 to $699. The price for the Intel-based iteration, which doesn’t include the tablet cover with a built-in keyboard that is one of Surface’s key features, may be too high for many users.

“At that price, by the time you add the keyboard you’re at the price of an 11-inch MacBook,” said Wes Miller, an analyst at Kirkland, Washington-based Directions on Microsoft, referring to Apple Inc.’s laptop computer. “Everyone always says, ‘well, Apple is so expensive,’ but here we are in that same neighborhood looking at houses.”

Still, Miller said the price for the Surface with Windows 8 Pro is more reasonable if a user is planning to have the machine double as a tablet and a full personal computer. For example, customers could put the machine in a dock and use it alongside a larger screen to replace desktop computers, he said.

“But if you’re looking at it as just a tablet, it is pricey,” he said.

To contact the reporter 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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