Microsoft Surface $499 model 'out of stock' online

The $499 version of Microsoft's first branded tablet is apparently still a hot item at the company's online store.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrating the Surface tablet this week at the company's Build conference.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrating the Surface tablet this week at the company's Build conference. Microsoft

The $499 Surface model appears to be a popular item on the Microsoft store's Web site.

As of this afternoon, Pacific Time, that model (without the Touch Cover) is listed as "out of stock." Previously, it had been listed as "back-ordered", along with the $599 and $699 models.

The other two models -- both come with the Touch Cover -- are no longer listed as back-ordered.

"The store periodically will run out of certain models," a Microsoft representative told CNET in response to an e-mail query.

Calls to Microsoft stores in Century City, Calif., Newark, Del., and Scottsdale, Ariz., revealed that those stores had stock of all three models.

However, the Glendale, Calif., Holiday Day Store (a kiosk) was out of the $499 model and a representative at the Scottsdale store said stock was running low on the $499 model.

And note that Microsoft gave away thousands of the 32GB Surface models with the Touch Cover at the Build conference this week to developers. It's not clear if that has had any impact on inventory.

The Surface RT tablet is Redmond's first branded PC and sales are being monitored closely by PC makers like Acer, who are trying to gauge when -- and if -- to bring out products based on Windows RT.

Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 designed to run on power-efficient ARM chips. And that means "legacy" applications that run on Windows 7 aren't compatible with RT.

Surface is being sold only at Microsoft retail stores and at the company's online store.

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