Microsoft Surface sales 'modest' as 4m upgrade to Windows 8

The Surface is off to a "modest" start, according to Microsoft, as 4 million people upgrade to Windows 8 in three days.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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The Surface is off to a "modest" start, according to Microsoft. Looks like all those adverts don't signal the death of the iPad just yet.

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer admitted that the Surface is off to a relatively slow start to French newspaper Le Parisien. Although he doesn't quote numbers, it seems those pesky clicky adverts coming at you from everywhere you bloomin' look haven't translated into boffo business for the Windows 8 tablet.

Ballmer is known to be cautious about sales, admitting last year that Windows Phone was "very small". But he did reveal this week that Microsoft has sold 4 million upgrades to Windows 8 in the first three days since the new software went on sale last month.

Still, considering that upgrading only costs £25 and there are upwards of 1.25 billion Windows users in the world, that doesn't sound like very many to me. Anyway, if you do want to get in on the Windows 8 action, here's our guide to upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7.

No other tablet has yet managed to crack the magic marketing formula of the iPad, but Apple's tablet is under fire from both directions: the full-size, Office-packing Surface, and the super-cheap Google Nexus 7.

By virtue of being a superb slate and costing tuppence ha'penny the Google Nexus 7 has sold more than 3 million -- but Apple shifted the same number of new iPad with retina display and iPad mini tablets on their first weekend on sale. Admittedly, they are slightly different propositions, but it does show that for the average person, 'tablet' means 'iPad' and vice versa. Which is a shame, because both the Nexus and Surface have a lot to offer -- and for me, the new-look Windows live tile interface makes iOS look dated.

Have you bought -- or tried and decided against -- a Surface? Do the Nexus and the Surface have what it takes to topple the iPad, or does Apple have the tablet market sewn up? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.