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Microsoft's Surface slates get permanent price drops, cheaper Touch Covers

Not that Microsoft was fooling anyone before, but the Surface tablet discounts that the company previously advertised as “limited time” are now permanent.

The Surface RT will remain priced at $349 for 32 GB, and $449 for 64 GB, a discount of $150 in both cases. Microsoft is also offering a black Touch Cover bundle with both Surface RT models for an additional $50.

The Surface Pro retains its $100 discount on all models, bringing the price to $799 for 64 GB and $899 for 128 GB. No Touch Cover or Type Cover bundles are available with the Surface Pro.

Microsoft has also slashed the price of its standalone Touch Cover accessories by $40. Regular covers now cost $80, and Limited Edition covers are $90. Pricing for the Type Cover, which has actual mechanical keys compared to the Touch Cover's pressure-sensitive sensors, remains at $130.

Microsoft's struggles to sell the Surface are no secret. Last month, the company revealed that it would take a $900 million writedown on the Surface RT, as the company slashed prices in hopes of unloading excess inventory. It's unlikely that Surface Pro sales are much better, given that Microsoft spent more to advertise the tablet and Windows 8 than it actually earned in Surface revenue.

On the plus side, the price cuts have sent Surface RT usage skyrocketing over the past months.

Tech-savvy consumers, however, might want to stay away from these permanent price cuts, with the possibility of new Surface models around the corner. The Surface Pro, in particular, would greatly benefit from Intel's Haswell processors , which offer big improvements to battery life. It's unclear when Microsoft will launch new Surface tablets, but something timed around the October 18 launch of Windows 8.1 would make sense.

According to ZDNet, Microsoft will be rolling out the price adjustments in phases, “in order to meet customer demand and retailer expectations.” Check Microsoft's Surface Website for details.

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