By Shira Ovide
Microsoft has cut the price of its Surface RT tablet by $150, or up to 30%, as even some Microsoft partners have called the device a sales laggard.
The software company?s websites on Sunday began showing a price of $349 for the least-expensive model of the tablet, without a cover that doubles as a keyboard for the device. That model, which launched last fall, previously cost $499 without the cover-keyboard combination.
Microsoft also cut the price on the Surface RT model with twice as much memory, to $449 from $599. That version with a type of cover-keyboard combination now costs $549, down from $699.
Websites of Best Buy and Staples also list the discounted prices for the Surface RT.
?We?ve been seeing great success with pricing and cover promotions over the past several months on Surface RT in the U.S. and other markets,? a Microsoft spokesman said. ?People who buy Surface love Surface, and we?re excited about all those additional people out sharing their excitement for Surface with other people.?
Technology-news website the Verge earlier reported Microsoft was likely to start reducing prices on the Surface RT.
The Surface RT has been a disappointment to some people at companies involved with the device. Those people have said sales of Surface RT haven?t lived up to hopes, and that Microsoft didn?t do enough to clarify the reasons people should opt for the RT version of Windows, which doesn?t run older Windows-compatible software programs, like iTunes or Quicken financial software.
The chief executive of Nvidia, which makes the computer chips that power the Surface RT, in March said sales of Windows RT devices have been ?disappointing? so far. Windows RT devices are powered by the same type of battery-conserving computer chip that is in the guts of smartphones and devices like the Apple iPad.
Microsoft has tried discounts on Surface RT before. More than a month ago, Microsoft started offering people who bought a Surface RT a free cover that doubles as the device?s keyboard. The covers typically cost $119 or $129 each.
It isn?t uncommon for companies to offer discounts on consumer electronic devices, particularly to clear out inventory before new models go on sale. Microsoft hasn?t announced new versions of the Surface.
At a conference last week, company executives showed a slide that indicated updates were coming to Surface RT and to the more powerful version, Surface Pro.
The Wall Street Journal also reported in April that Microsoft is working on a smaller version of the Surface, on the heels of popular 7? to 8? tablet computers like Apple?s iPad Mini and the Nexus 7 from Google.
This post has been corrected. Earlier, the article incorrectly said a discounted Surface RT with twice the memory of the base version costs $499.?