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Microsoft Announces Pricing for Surface Tablet Computer

Microsoft Surface Steve Ballmer - P 2012
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The software giant's new touchscreen device is priced competitively with the iPad.

Microsoft announced the prices for its forthcoming Surface tablet device today that are competitive with the iPad.

The base Surface model with 32GB of storage will cost $499.

A 32GB version with keyboard smart cover will retail for $599--the same price as the base retina-display iPad.

A 64GB version with keyboard cover will sell for $699 

The Microsoft Surface features a 10.6-inch screen and an integrated kickstand. 

the software giant made the device available for pre-order on its online store today. The first tablets will ship Oct. 26.

The company demonstrated an early version of RT a few months ago, but it has not been subjected to real-world use by consumers yet 

The Surface tablet runs Microsoft Windows 8 RT, a less robust-version of the company's flagship operating system.  A full-featured version of Windows 8, which will also include Surface touch technology, will debut in a few months.

Windows 8 Surface machines will likely sell for a premium over RT machines, though exactly how much is unknown.