I'm not sure why the Surface would need to be given away or subsidized. The Surface should be able to stand on its own two feet.
I don't buy into the excuses that Surface is a gen 1 device and so consumers should cut it some slack. Doesn't it stand to reason that if you want a device to make a splash in the market, it needs to exceed what it already out there. That's what Apple did with the original iPhone. Not just another clunky smartphone... they came up with something substantially better.
I have a Surface and keep going back to the feeling that it's on par with my Android tablets. It does not exceed that which is already out there. It feels to me like simply another alternative. Where's the serious differentiation?