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surfaceproMicrosoft has sold a grand total of 1.5 million Surface tablets so far — counting both the Surface RT and Surface Pro models — according to a report from Bloomberg News this afternoon, citing three sources.

The news service says the result is substantially less than Microsoft had been anticipating – a blow to Microsoft’s efforts to expand beyond the traditional PC business into the growing market for tablets.

Apple, by comparison, sold 22.9 million iPads in the fourth quarter.

Bloomberg quotes its sources saying that Microsoft had initially ordered about 3 million Surface RT tablets, the version that runs on ARM processors. The company has sold slightly more than 1 million of the Surface RTs, and 400,000 Surface Pro models, the version that runs on traditional Intel chips.

The report is consistent with IDC’s previous estimate that Microsoft shipped 900,000 Surface RT tablets in the fourth quarter.

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