Microsoft still barely scratching "Surface" with tablet sales

Summary:A new Bloomberg report says approximately 1.5 million Surface RT and Surface Pro models have been sold, but Microsoft had ordered 3 million of the devices.

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Despite a massive push into the surging tablet market, Microsoft does not appear to have a runaway success on its hands with its Surface devices. Previous sales figures have been lackluster , and now a new Bloomberg story suggests that things haven't improved much with the launch of the Surface Pro. 

According to the report, Microsoft has sold about 1.5 million Surface tablets since the launch of the Surface RT last fall. That includes roughly 400,000 sales of the pricier Surface Pro model that debuted in February. Unfortunately for the company, Bloomberg's sources say Microsoft ordered 3 million Surface units, and the amount it has sold pales in comparison to sales of Apple's iPad models in the same period.

Analysts are now lowering sales expectations for the Surface, with Pacific Crest Securities now projecting sales in this quarter of 600,000 units instead of 1.4 million. Meanwhile, Microsoft's partners are showing a reluctance to offer their own tablets based on Windows RT and Windows 8, with Samsung having already announced that   it would not bring its Ativ Tab to the U.S.  (It has since stopped selling it in Europe.)

The Bloomberg report also says that Microsoft is working to reboot marketing for the Surface line, and some discounting has emerged that makes the tablets more price competitive. Microsoft may still have an opportunity to make some headway with enterprise clients , though that may be thanks to Windows 8 tablets from other vendors and not necessarily due to the Surface Pro.

The Pro does have the benefit of the full Windows 8 OS, giving it enterprise-friendly security options as well as full versions of Microsoft Office apps. The Surface RT, however, may have a tougher time, given its iPad-like price, and the fact that smaller, cheaper tablets are in vogue . It also doesn't help that analysts are finding that consumers aren't warming up to the new Windows 8 experience, which Windows RT is based on.

Do these latest sales numbers suggest that Microsoft's tablet hardware experiment is doomed? Or is it just a tough launch that will be forgotten as Microsoft continues to push the Surface into new markets and the corporate world? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Windows 8

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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