Microsoft (MSFT) hasn’t been very forthcoming about what it plans to charge customers for its soon-to-be-released Surface tablet, but CEO Steve Ballmer told the Seattle Times that the device will be priced more to compete with Apple’s (AAPL) iPad than with low-cost tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD or the Google (GOOG) Nexus 7. Specifically, Ballmer said he expected various Surface models to sell from “probably $300 to about $700 or $800” depending on whether they’re equipped with Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro.

Ballmer also made clear that Microsoft has no interest in getting into a price war with Amazon or Google by offering low-cost 7-inch Surface tablets because he wants people to see the Surface as a professional device that can be used for work as well as media consumption.

“If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle to do their homework?” he asked rhetorically. “The answer is no; you never would. It’s just not a good enough product. It doesn’t mean you might not read a book on it.”

Microsoft’s Surface tablets will launch later this month alongside Windows 8.