Microsoft Can't Sell Its Tablets To Consumers, So It's Selling Them To Schools For Cheap

Microsoft is giving out its tablets like candy. 

Last week, Microsoft announced it would give away Surface RT tablets to the 10,000 teachers attending the International Society for Technology in Education conference later this month.

Earlier this month, Microsoft offered highly discounted Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets to those who attended TechEd North America 2013. 

Now, Microsoft is launching a new program this week to sell heavily discounted Surface RT tablets to schools, Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reports.

As part of Microsoft’s new offer, schools throughout 25 countries will be able to purchase Surface RT tablets in bulk for more than 50% off per unit. Though, they will only be able to buy variations of the 32 GB Surface RT models. 

Microsoft’s program starts June 24 and goes until August 31. 

Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet debuted last year as the company’s direct competitor to Apple’s iPad. But with just 1.8% of the tablet market share, Microsoft is clearly trying to get its tablets in more hands. 

In Q1 2013, Microsoft sold a total of 900,000 tablets, most of which were the Surface Pro, according to a May report from the International Data Corporation. Compare that to 19.5 million tablets Apple sold, and the 8.8 million Samsung sold. In short, the Surface RT is Microsoft’s least popular tablet. 

To make matters worse for Microsoft, its Windows 8 and Windows RT mobile operating systems aren’t very popular, either. The combined shipments of Windows 8 and Windows RT in Q1 ’13 reached 1.8 million units. Its Windows RT operating system is also one of the least popular, making up for just 0.4% of the tablet operating market share.

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