Microsoft: Surface Hub demand is strong; product is now in stock

Microsoft officials say they've sold Surface Hub conferencing systems to more than 2,000 customers since March, and that they've now got their supply situation under control.

Microsoft has not revealed any unit shipment numbers for any of its Surface-branded devices. But on December 12, the company did provide a few related data points around demand, especially around its Surface Hub conferencing systems.

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Credit: ZDNet

Surface Hub -- the multitouch conferencing systems available in two flavors (55 and 84 inches) -- launched in late March 2016, after months of delays and a price increase.

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In the subsequent months, demand outstripped supply for the devices, with users reporting backlogs of months, if not longer, before they could take shipment of their Surface Hubs. (Again, we don't know what the supply or the demand were, exactly, as Microsoft doesn't release those figures publicly.)

Today, officials said that Microsoft has shipped Surface Hubs to more than 2,000 customers in 24 markets, with the average deal size being approximately 50 units. One large car maker ordered 1,500 units, according to Microsoft's blog post. Update: A Microsoft spokesperson notified me that Microsoft has changed its statement, adding the words "in the pipeline" to reflect that not all of units in the average deal have been sold through/shipped yet. The company's statement now says: "The average deal size we see in the pipeline is approximately 50 units but we've seen orders as large as 1,500 units to a large car manufacturer."

Officials also told me today that the product is no longer out of stock.

"Regarding shipping, Microsoft is at scale and inventory is ready to ship Surface Hub now," said Julia Atalla, senior director, Microsoft Windows and Devices, in a statement emailed to me on December 12.

Microsoft officials said they'll be adding a Surface Hub Try-and-Buy program "this winter" in the US and Europe, and "later" in Asia Pacific. These resellers, the list of which is not yet available as far as I can tell, will be authorized to provide customers with Hubs for 30 days before they can decide whether or not to buy.

Surface Hub is Microsoft's successor to its large-screen Perceptive Pixel displays. The Surface Hub systems, which run a custom version of Windows 10, are pre-assembled, customized multi-touch, digital-ink-enabled collaboration systems. Microsoft first unveiled its Surface Hub systems in January 2015, with availability initially slated for September 1, 2015.

Google is aiming to release its own Surface Hub competitor, the Google Jamboard, in the first half of 2017.

Microsoft officials also said today that November was the company's "best month ever for consumer Surface sales."

Again, we don't know how that translates into units. Officials also said the company's trade-in program for MacBooks for Surface devices "was our best ever," citing "the disappointment of the new MacBook Pro -- especially among professionals," as the impetus.

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