Thanks to Twitter, now we have an idea for a Surface Pro debut date.

That’s a Tweet yesterday from Panos Panay, the general manager of Microsoft’s Surface division. Microsoft has not officially unveiled a release date for the Surface Pro, but given that the company said the Pro would come out 90 days after the initial Windows RT tablet debut, Panay’s Tweet makes sense.

Microsoft released details on the Surface Pro late November, announcing that pricing will start at $899 for the 64GB version, with the 128GB version going for $999. The signature keyboard covers will sell separately, which means another $120 or $130, roughly, if you want the TouchCover or TypeCover to turn the Surface into something resembling a notebook.

Microsoft’s target with the Surface Pro is the business market — aiming for CIOs who may see the benefits of a getting employees something that feels like a tablet/notebook hybrid rather than buying them a tablet and a notebook separately.

Sales of the Surface RT, Microsoft’s first tablet offering, are not looking great. UBS analyst Brent Thill cut his estimate for Surface sales in half to just 1 million units sold this holiday quarter. Earlier this month, J.P. Morgan analyst John DiFucci predicted just 700,000 units sold.

Unlike the RT, the Surface Pro will be able to run Windows legacy applications and be powered by an Intel processor.

Check out why my colleague Todd Bishop thinks the Pro will be a tough sell.

Previously on GeekWire: Is that a Surface under the tree? 6 tips for new Microsoft tablet owners

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  • Guest

    Too late, the brand is already DOA. They lost all the positive interest their media campaign had created. WindowsRT is DOA too (as Samsung appears to agree) . Looks like we have another Kin or Zune really.

  • Thomas R.

    I seriously cannot understand how a company like Microsoft spends billions on marketing every year yet still continue to get such a poor ROI. As if there wasn’t enough confusion about what Microsoft and its OEMs are offering, they come out with another Surface model.

    • guest

      Simple. You start with the same inept CEO and senior leadership team that’s been in place for more than a decade. You run it the same way you have R&D, new business investment, acquisitions, Search, and others over that same period. You treat it like an afterthought of the product planning process instead of an integral part. And you hope that if you just throw enough money at it marketing can overcome all the competitive deficiencies you failed to address during the product creation cycle. When it fails to do so, you refuse to learn the lesson and just repeat the whole process over again for the next product.

      But in this case it was actually passable and did its main job: create interest. One spot even won an advertising award. The problem was the product (see above), which for most didn’t offer compelling value for money versus an iPad or Android tablet. Marketing can put lipstick on a pig but it can’t turn it into a Victoria Secret model. The SurfacePro was announced at the same time. So, there’s no extra confusion there. Actually having the RT unit ship first and alongside W8 was the confusing and counter intuitive decision, but perhaps reflected Intel supply issues. The Pro should actually be more competitive than the RT-based unit. So maybe they’ll do twice as well and sell a whole two million units. Either way, it looks like they’re going to fall short of even their own modest goal for the product. If so, Ballmer can add another $1/2 billion+ failure to his now extensive list.

  • Is Microsoft clueless?

    For $1000+ I can buy an iPad, a Kindle and a PC. Why would I buy a Surface Pro!?

  • Scott Moore

    And the masses gathered in anticipation, and all yawned in unison. I feel badly for Steve Ballmer, in the same way I’m sure the crowd felt sorrow in their hearts as Beethoven played his last symphony with another conductor behind him that the musicians were actually watching.

    It’s so hard to watch a slow death.

    • Mark

      Judging from Intel’s report tonight, death may be faster than most think.

      • Guest

        OUCH! Well, when we look around with open eyes, we all could basically tell. Wintel is in trouble – big time!

        • M$troll

          I know! Isn’t it just GREAT! I’ve been predicting this daily for sooooo long and now it’s FINALLY happening! I was RIGHT all along! I’m so giddy I could faint.

  • Guest

    Will we have to watch lines of Redmond employees forming at the Microsoft store again?

  • Guest

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. I never thought I’d see Microsoft between a rock and a hard place one day.

    • Bill

      A decade of complacency and bad management eventually takes a toll.

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