We’ll never know what Steve Ballmer described by “modest”: was he talking about a modest start as we thought initially or a modest demand as Microsoft was quick to point out? That being said, Microsoft has reportedly cut in half the orders for Surface RT tablets according to hear-say from the supply chain.
Four million is the number speculated in direct connection with what Microsoft had planned for but the orders are now covering only two million. Sources also say that the Surface RT will likely underperform next year too, which is something not necessarily tied to the Surface alone, but also to Windows RT-powered tablets by Asus, Samsung, and Dell.
With slow performance the sources believe that Microsoft might bring the Intel-powered Surface, the full-fledged one running Windows 8, to the market earlier than expected. How early? December seems to be the month rumored. In order to push Surface running Windows 8 sales Microsoft is also believed to lower the price tag, which would probably further upset its OEM partners.
As usual with these reports treat them with your usual dose of salt.