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Microsoft Surface already backordered in US, sells out in UK

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(Read caption) The Microsoft Surface tablet.

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Ordered a Microsoft Surface tablet? You may not see it for several weeks. 

Although Microsoft is expected to officially start selling its Windows 8-powered tablet later this week, demand for the device has reportedly been high in the US, and delivery of many pre-ordered Surfaces has been pushed back for several weeks. Meanwhile, according to ZDNet, in England, the 32GB Surface, which retails for £399 has sold out completely. (Other models appear to still be available.) 

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In a statement obtained by CNET, Microsoft said that consumers unable to order a Surface online could go to a brick-and-mortar Microsoft outlet, where stock would be more plentiful. 

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"Online availability adjusts based on orders and inventory," Microsoft said  "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." 

In related news, Microsoft has published a video interview with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, in which Gates talks up the new OS. "This is an absolutely critical product," Gates says in the video (hat tip to eWeek for the transcript). "It takes Windows into the world of touch, low-powered devices, really giving people the best of what you think of as a tablet-type experience and the PC experience.... It's a big step. It's key to where personal computing is going."

Microsoft said last week that it had logged $800 million in Windows 8 pre-sales, some 40 percent higher than pre-sales for Windows 7. And yet many analysts are skeptical that Windows 8 will be a smash hit for Microsoft. Writing at the Register, Lawrence Walsh notes that PC sales are slipping not just in the US, but globally. Moreover, he adds, Microsoft likely won't get any real boost from Windows 8 for more than a year. 

"The typical business adoption curve for a new Windows version is 18 months after release," Walsh writes. "Given that most businesses have either just finished or are continuing to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 (with most skipping Vista altogether), it will be as long as two to three years before the business marketplace has a definitive need for Windows 8." 

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