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Microsoft Surface tablet back-ordered as new iPad looms

Do we have a Microsoft-Apple rumble on our hands? Looks that way with the Surface tablet on back order a few days before the expected iPad Mini arrives.

Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft Surface.
Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Call it round one of a Microsoft-Apple hardware heavyweight bout.

A few days before the expected rollout of Apple's new tablets, all Microsoft Surface tablets are now officially back-ordered in the U.S.

A Microsoft representative confirmed with CNET today that delivery of three Surface RT models has been pushed back.

On Tuesday, the same day that sales were launched, the order status of the $499 model (32GB) quickly slipped to three weeks.

Now the $599 Surface with the black Touch Cover (keyboard/cover, 32GB) and the $699 Surface with the black Touch Cover (64GB) are back-ordered "one to two weeks."

Microsoft also offered this statement.

Surface is available online in eight markets across the world: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Online availability adjusts based on orders and inventory. Regardless of online availability, beginning Oct. 26, 2012, all three Surface SKUs will be available for purchase at all Microsoft Store locations in the United States and Canada, including in all 34 new holiday stores. Customers can go [here] to find the Microsoft Store nearest them.

Surface is the first Microsoft-branded PC, making it the first Microsoft computer to go head-to-head with Apple.

And Microsoft is injecting fresh competition into the PC market, too. Surface will compete with Windows 8 and Windows RT products from Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Lenovo, Asus, and others.

The novel 3mm-thick Microsoft keyboard that also acts as a cover sets Surface apart from the PC competition. But it adds $100 to the price. And if you want a keyboard that behaves more like a traditional keyboard, the slightly thicker Type Cover will cost you $129.

Surface RT models run a limited version of Windows that is not compatible with older software that currently runs on Windows 7 -- though RT does come with Microsoft Office.

The news of the Surface sell-out was reported earlier by The Verge.

See also:
• At $499, is Microsoft's Surface tablet priced to move?
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