Ballmer: $1,500 can buy "some" Microsoft Surface units

As we reported on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance in San Francisco to attend a presentation at RocketSpace, a startup accelerator program. At the event, he brought out a Surface tablet, using Windows RT.

Microsoft has been keeping the Surface tablet mostly to itself since it first announced and showed off the hardware at a press event in June. Wired, who attended the event, reports that no one but Ballmer actually got to check the Surface out for themselves, although Ballmer did throw out the Surface's Touch Cover keyboard to a developer in the audience.

Another person inquired about pricing for the Surface in an interesting way. He asked Ballmer, "I’m not going to ask you on the price, but how many can I get for $1,500?" Ballmer's response was simply, "Some". He quickly added that Microsoft had not yet announced pricing for the tablet but would do so before the tablet ships.

Ballmer has previously said that Surface pricing will be between $300 and $800. Microsoft plans to release the Windows RT version of Surface, with an NVIDIA Tegra processor, on October 26th alongside the launch of Windows 8. The Windows 8 Pro version of Surface, with an Intel processor inside, is scheduled to launch in late January.

Source: Wired | Image via Wired

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It could cost $750 or $800 or any other number. For example $800:

$1500 / $800 = 1.875 "some" or a unit + part of one.

So, Ballmer said nothing usable again.

Wired, who attended the event, reports that no one but Ballmer actually got to check the Surface out for themselves

Has anyone actually got to put their hands on a working tablet yet?

I think you are reading too much into Ballmer's answer, "Some" sounds like a plain cop out.

Obviously you'll be able to buy at the very least 1 tablet for under $1500 (Surface would be DOA if you couldn't) and more than likely 2 or 3 RTs, but that's it.

I'm willing to spend $600 for a 64GB RT Tablet. If you have to spend over a $1,000 for the pro you might as well get a notebook that has touch and some tablet functionality. For $1,000 you can get a bigger screen,more ram,processing power and hard drive space.

Edited by wetworker, Sep 26 2012, 6:11pm :

If Samsung launches their Smart PC Pro and costs over $1000 guess Samsung is better than so called *Surface* in terms of price. =D

Just compare *Surface* to Ativ Smart PC in specs and you will see why. =D

Ballmer's original pricing statement:

"If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That's the sweet spot."

This demonstrates what he sees as the "sweet spot" for the PC market, the market he wants to position both the RT and the PRO tablets.

That said, the question was, "How many "how many [Surface tablets] can I get for $1,500?" The response in this case was "some." In normal language, that means "more than one" and often "more than two." So, if we look at a PRO pricing of between $650-$800 (as I expect, given other manufacturer pricing announcements) and the RT as being $400-$500, then the statement of "some" applies to both.

$1500 would get you three Surface RTs or two Surface Pros. So, Ballmer's statement confirms that the pricing on the Pro won't be at a $1000 price point, unless you don't think he was talking Surface Pro at all, and that doesn't seem likely to me.

WalterEgo404 said,
If it is $299, it will be a no brainer for me. If it is $399, I will pass.
Then it's not going to be a surface for you..

RT will be in the 499/599 range, pro 999/1199

I believe the price will be near 499$ or less and the Pro under 799$ thats my guess... Ill wait for the Pro version next February

I think some people are under the illusion that they're going to be able to buy a Surface Pro with an i5 processor for under 1k.

From the looks of things, the only x86 RT devices under 1k are atom based. And you only have to look at the current netbook lineups to realise that they'll be just as underpowered. Sure you'll be able to run the start screen and some simple apps, but don't expect to play Crisis on one any time soon unless you're willing to fork out 1.5k.

simplezz said,
I think some people are under the illusion that they're going to be able to buy a Surface Pro with an i5 processor for under 1k.

From the looks of things, the only x86 RT devices under 1k are atom based. And you only have to look at the current netbook lineups to realise that they'll be just as underpowered. Sure you'll be able to run the start screen and some simple apps, but don't expect to play Crisis on one any time soon unless you're willing to fork out 1.5k.

People should just get used to the base Surface RT price being $599 and base Surface Pro price being $999. If you think that is too expensive, then these devices aren't for you (and there will be plenty of others out there for you to buy).

dagamer34 said,

People should just get used to the base Surface RT price being $599 and base Surface Pro price being $999. If you think that is too expensive, then these devices aren't for you (and there will be plenty of others out there for you to buy).

$600 sounds about right for the RT version, but I think the Pro will be higher than $999. Probably 1.5 - 2k.

With Ballmer already saying a few days ago that the sweet spot for tablet pricing is from $300 to $800 how anyone still questions what the price for the surface will be is odd. Don't we already have a Windows 8 tablet priced at $799 from another OEM?

It's also clear that the touch and type covers are extra, that's the question here. How much will those cost? I think it's safe to say, specially with the price of other devices from Amazon and now even B&N, that $299 will be the starting price for the Surface in my mind. The touch cover could be an added $50 to that probably.

Just to have SOME fun.... Some to me, generally means more than 2. I have never in my life used the word SOME to describe 2 or less.
So I am going in with the sub 500 mark.

MikadoWU said,
Just to have SOME fun.... Some to me, generally means more than 2. I have never in my life used the word SOME to describe 2 or less.
So I am going in with the sub 500 mark.

so If you have one apple and give me some you have given me two apples I like your maths just teasing I couldn't resist

Just tell us the ****ing price already. Ridiculous.

Also the average intelligence of the Neowin member is really shining in this article. "Some" in this context equals multiple. One surface tablet isn't going to cost 1500.

shockz said,
Just tell us the ****ing price already. Ridiculous.

Also the average intelligence of the Neowin member is really shining in this article. "Some" in this context equals multiple. One surface tablet isn't going to cost 1500.

Agreed. How many neowinians have an IQ that is equal to or less than the total number of fingers and toes they have? Some.

A340600 said,
"Some" means multiple...

Dictionary .com

of a certain unspecified number, amount, degree, etc.: to some extent.

Mirriam - Webster

1 : being an unknown, undetermined, or unspecified unit or thing <some person knocked>

2 a : being one, a part, or an unspecified number of something (as a class or group) named or implied <some gems are hard>
b : being of an unspecified amount or number <give me some water> <have some apples>
4 : being at least one

Mirriam #4 itself says it can be one. Most of the others make no mention whether the unknown or unspecified number or amount is plural or singular. It could be -2, 0, 1, or infinity. Some sub-definitions do allude to "some" meaning plural, but NOT ALL.

"Some" means multiple, as in you can probably buy a few Surfaces with $1,500. Well, at least I hope that's what Ballmer meant.

When that can buy, say 8-10 of them, then I might be interested in the new toy. Since I already own a perfectly good laptop and desktop, running Windows-8, I fail to see how the Surface will become a major part of my computer life any time soon.

Kind of a pointless article that doesn't really say anything new.. what's next, how many can I buy with ten thousand dollars? "A bunch." Or a million? "A lot."

Max Norris said,
Kind of a pointless article that doesn't really say anything new.. what's next, how many can I buy with ten thousand dollars? "A bunch." Or a million? "A lot."

"Some" seems to imply multiple. So long as this isn't another one of Ballmer's verbal farts, it would imply an upper price of $750

The article headline is poorly phrased. Ballmer meant "some" as in, $1,500 / surface > 1. In the headline it reads that $1,500 would be enough to buy "some" surfaces, as in some would be less than $1500, and some would be more.

That said, it's a non-story, since that narrows down the price not-at-all, and a $1500 number is pretty useless.

threetonesun said,
The article headline is poorly phrased. Ballmer meant "some" as in, $1,500 / surface > 1. In the headline it reads that $1,500 would be enough to buy "some" surfaces, as in some would be less than $1500, and some would be more.

That said, it's a non-story, since that narrows down the price not-at-all, and a $1500 number is pretty useless.

The phrasing seems to imply that multiple units could be bought for $1500. The question asked was "... how many can I get for $1,500?" with the answer being "Some". In this context, it seems pretty clear that some means more than one. The only other meaning for the word is equivalent to "partial" or "part of one" but that makes no sense for something that is meant to compete with the iPad. Further context would imply that this is the Surface RT that he is talking about, as it was the unit that Ballmer was holding and demoing during the event.

Sraf said,

The phrasing seems to imply that multiple units could be bought for $1500. The question asked was "... how many can I get for $1,500?" with the answer being "Some". In this context, it seems pretty clear that some means more than one. The only other meaning for the word is equivalent to "partial" or "part of one" but that makes no sense for something that is meant to compete with the iPad. Further context would imply that this is the Surface RT that he is talking about, as it was the unit that Ballmer was holding and demoing during the event.

It makes sense in the article, it doesn't make sense in the headline. You could rewrite the headline $15,000 can buy "some" new cars. I don't think that anyone would assume that means you could buy multiple new cars for $15,000.

Agreed, when I first spotted the headline I was making the assumption that he meant that for $1500 you might be able to by a few select models. I was not reading it as you might be able to buy a quantity or multiple tablets for your $1500. You have to read the article to get to were the point is clarified.

Either way its all pretty pointless until they actually release hard pricing details.

Hahaha, did Microsoft not learn anything about its past failure with tablets?!?!? You know what, screw them! If they are unwilling to figure out their customers then maybe they deserve to land up in the lost and forgotten pile.

Microsoft has never released a tablet before...or a pc of any kind for that matter.

Iridium said,
Hahaha, did Microsoft not learn anything about its past failure with tablets?!?!? You know what, screw them! If they are unwilling to figure out their customers then maybe they deserve to land up in the lost and forgotten pile.

Umm... what tablet!!!

Iridium said,
Hahaha, did Microsoft not learn anything about its past failure with tablets?!?!? You know what, screw them! If they are unwilling to figure out their customers then maybe they deserve to land up in the lost and forgotten pile.

Iridium said,
Hahaha, did Microsoft not learn anything about its past failure with tablets?!?!? You know what, screw them! If they are unwilling to figure out their customers then maybe they deserve to land up in the lost and forgotten pile.

I'm not aware of Microsoft making tablets previously? Perhaps you could enlighten us.

Iridium said,
Hahaha, did Microsoft not learn anything about its past failure with tablets?!?!? You know what, screw them! If they are unwilling to figure out their customers then maybe they deserve to land up in the lost and forgotten pile.

What makes you think they are "unwilling to figure out their customers?" Microsoft has done a lot of research, which shows they are willing and have probably done a pretty good job at it. Just because you don't like it does not mean Microsoft hasn't created something the vast majority of their target market will enjoy.

Iridium said,
Hahaha, did Microsoft not learn anything about its past failure with tablets?!?!? You know what, screw them! If they are unwilling to figure out their customers then maybe they deserve to land up in the lost and forgotten pile.

Hahaha on U!

StandingInAlley said,
I don't see myself paying $1500 for MS Surface I really hope this is not true.

Did you read the article? balmer replied you buy some with $1500.
MEANING: Some X price = $1500
meaning price is under $750

StandingInAlley said,
I don't see myself paying $1500 for MS Surface I really hope this is not true.

Before we continue asking if standinginAlley is retarded how about we consider that some people may take $1500 to mean *some* units could be purchased for that price, *some* others may be higher/lower.

Whilst I would expect he may have meant some in terms of quantity we are all just guessing to be honest I would expect $1500 in Aus to provide me access to only SOME Pro versions, the ones with Full HD screens and all the bells and whistles may well be higher if we go off high end ultrabook prices.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Well somebody asked how many they could buy for that price, and Ballmer said "some". He obviously didn't say "sum" since that makes no sense. In this context, it means more than one. No exceptions to the rules of English.

balmer could have taken the question the same as i thought it was, as in how many can i buy for 1500 ( how many are under 1500 ) the English language is awesome that a person can say the exact same thing and mean different things each time, either way its not clear if it was meant can a person buy multiple devices for 1500, or are there multiple devices for 1500

Osiris said,

Before we continue asking if standinginAlley is retarded how about we consider that some people may take $1500 to mean *some* units could be purchased for that price, *some* others may be higher/lower.

Whilst I would expect he may have meant some in terms of quantity we are all just guessing to be honest I would expect $1500 in Aus to provide me access to only SOME Pro versions, the ones with Full HD screens and all the bells and whistles may well be higher if we go off high end ultrabook prices.

This is irrelevant. besides, Ballmer already mentioned the price range is $300 to $800

S3P€hR said,

This is irrelevant. besides, Ballmer already mentioned the price range is $300 to $800

Yes it is because we know nothing and are all just guessing
1. The same article also says "Microsoft had not yet announced pricing for the tablet"
2. is that for RT or Pro version
etc.

StandingInAlley said,
I don't see myself paying $1500 for MS Surface I really hope this is not true.

Trolling just a bit, but looking up the definition of "some" on all of the online dictionaries, they all seem to agree that it is "an unspecified number or amount".

So technically, a Surface tablet could cost more than $1500 as 0 is a number.

EDIT: And before I do get jumped on, who hasn't done this:

The significant other goes out and leaves you with a list of things to do. Instead you spent all that time they are gone doing <insert activity (ie; playing XBox). They come home and see nothing done. You state they you did spend SOME time working on one of the tasks, but something else got in the way (ie: repairs too difficult, missing part/piece, etc) or it started to take too long and you took a break doing previously mentioned activity.

If any of you have done this, then you have successfully (or perhaps not so successfully) applied the value of 0 to the word SOME.

Edited by Condere, Sep 26 2012, 3:56pm :

Osiris said,

Yes it is because we know nothing and are all just guessing
1. The same article also says "Microsoft had not yet announced pricing for the tablet"
2. is that for RT or Pro version
etc.

not really balmer said the RT would be priced in regards to competitive tablets, average competitive tablets are over 500, the kindle, nook everything under 300 are marketed as e-readers. the Pro versions balmer also said the Pro version would be priced in regards to competitive Ultrabooks. one of the problems is that even the RT is above most Android tablets as it runs the same Windows Apps that the desktop can run (Win8 App Store). with the Pro being a full fledged Win8 Device that can fun full fledged programs as well as Apps. untill recently Ultrabooks were over 1K each, i just checked newegg and saw that aprently since then the ultrabook prices have droped since that announcement, but at the time of balmer announcing the price the ultrabooks were over 1K each.

another problem is we dont know what tablet they are comparing it to, is it the top of the line iPad, the top of the Line Android Tablet, or the Bottom of the barrel Android tablet you find in mall kiosks for 100. he is avoiding pricing as much as he can to not kill hype, as once he announces definate pricing, thats when people will become uninterested.

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,

balmer could have taken the question the same as i thought it was, as in how many can i buy for 1500 ( how many are under 1500 ) the English language is awesome that a person can say the exact same thing and mean different things each time, either way its not clear if it was meant can a person buy multiple devices for 1500, or are there multiple devices for 1500

It was very clear, there's no ambiguity about it. They are talking about the Surface device, not other competitor's devices. Therefore, they want to know how many Surface tablets you can buy for $1,500. This was implied by the summary on Neowin, and spelt out in the actual article, you only had to read it.

Please don't confuse your inability to comprehend the English language as a "failing" of the English language, because no other meanings can be extracted from it.

I suggest you actually read the article next time.

Ideas Man said,

i did read it, so i suggest you read the previous articles about what balmer said about the surface.

and apparently you are unable to comprehend the English language as i said nothing about competitive tablets in what you quoted, what i said about competitive tablets was a direct quote from the Windows Surface announce by balmer himself

so apparently you need to read and comprehend the English language.

see i can bold stuff also, your not a special little snowflake

Ideas Man said,

ok i was wrong it wasn't balmer it was whoever was int he blue shirt speaking, but it was still part of the announcement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwrDMYtELAM start @ 43:00 minute mark.

priced with competitive Arm Tablets, and Ultrabooks for the Pro , 32 and 64 GB versions

competitive Arm tablets with those storage spaces are in the range for $400-600, ultrabooks @ the time of this announce was over 1K

so not only do you need to read, you need to listen also

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,

are you retarded did he mean Sum, or Some, as in 1 of the multiple models. i doubt Balmer spelled it out, and he definatly was not specific.

he could have meant you could only buy specific models for less then 1500

Why the hell would he say, "Sum?" That makes no sense.

TIL English is vague and prone to debate about what people mean when they say even simple things.

Then I wonder why so many retards sit around acting like their stupid version of English is legitimate because it's a "dynamic" language and as long as people "get the gist" it's "correct".

Guess what--PEOPLE AREN'T GETTING THE GIST.

/I don't even want to get started on how people in England can get so uppity about American English when they allowed chavs to happen

StandingInAlley said,
I don't see myself paying $1500 for MS Surface I really hope this is not true.

-yoink- read the the title at least. you don't even have to read the article.. jeez, you don't deserve that top spot.