Ever since the Microsoft Surface was announced several months ago, the tech world has been wondering how much it would cost. Since the Microsoft Surface clearly has the iPad in its sights, pricing could make all the difference in terms of consumer adoption of the device. Prior to a recent interview, it was unknown whether the Surface would be priced higher or lower than the iPad’s $499+ price tag.

Today, we still don’t know the definitive answer to that question. However, we are a lot closer to figuring out how much the Surface will cost.

Surface pricing rumors heated up even further a few weeks ago when it was suggested that the Surface could be priced at a measly $199. Microsoft was reportedly willing to sell the tablet at a loss to ensure that the Surface – and Windows 8 – would be adopted by the largest possible user base.

Unfortunately, dreams of a $199 Microsoft Surface tablet have all but disappeared. In an interview with The Seattle Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the Surface would sell for between $300 and $800. That’s not very specific, but it has led some people to speculate that the Surface RT would sell for $300, with the higher end Surface Pro model selling at $700 to $800.

At a $300 price tag, the lower end Surface would provide strong competition against the iPad – provided that users are willing to hop on the Windows 8 bandwagon. The Surface has a number of advantages over the iPad, including, most notably, an attached keyboard cover. Users might also want to abandon the iOS operating system in favor of something different, like Windows 8.

Ultimately, Ballmer’s interview disappointed the tech community because people were genuinely hoping for a $199 Surface tablet, despite the extreme unlikeliness that Microsoft would be willing to take such a large hit on each sale of the device. However, if the Surface RT does indeed sell for $300, look for the competition between Microsoft and Apple to heat up over the coming months.

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