Microsoft sold out the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet within minutes of kicking off an online discount Monday morning.
The tablet, which lists for $299, was priced at $99 for the first 100 online customers, then $199 for laggards.
Minutes after the 7:30 a.m. PT debut of the sale, Microsoft's website noted "Sold out." Previously, Microsoft had said that the $199 price was valid throughout the day, or while supplies lasted.
The Dell tablet runs Windows 8.1 and includes a copy of Office Home and Student 2013, offers 32GB of storage space -- less is available for user content after the operating system and productivity suite have been installed -- 2GB of system memory and an 8-in. screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels.
The Venue 8 Pro was the first of a dozen days of deals that Microsoft plans to do in the run-up to the Christmas holiday.
Microsoft's retail stores -- the company has a chain of 86 full-blown brick-and-mortar and kiosk-sized outlets in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico -- will also offer the tablet at the reduced prices today: $99 for the first 20 in-store customers, $199 for others while supplies last. Not all the Canadian stores will participate, Microsoft said in a note on its site.
The Redmond, Wash. company's stores open at 10 a.m. local time.
Today's discounted Dell tablet and the upcoming deals are designed to drive traffic into Microsoft's stores, and put a bit of public relations muscle behind the so-far-anemic tablet sales of Windows-powered devices.
According to researcher IDC, Windows tablets will account for approximately 3% of all those shipped worldwide in 2013, but gain share through 2017, when the OS is projected to reach 10%.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.