Microsoft claims Surface 2 and Pro 2 are 'close to selling out'. Really?

Microsoft claims Surface 2 and Pro 2 are 'close to selling out'. Really?

Summary: Is there lots of demand for Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 or just limited supplies and good marketing?

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Microsoft didn't fare so well in its first bid to sell Surface tablets, but the company is claiming it's nearly run out of its Surface 2 and Pro 2 tablets.

Does Microsoft have a hit on its hands with the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2? If running out of supplies during a pre-order campaign is an indication of buyers' interest, Microsoft's second stab at slates could be working out better than its first attempt.

"It also looks like pre-order stock of the Surface 2 (64GB) and Surface Pro 2 (256 GB and 512GB) are close to selling out – also at Microsoft Stores," the company announced on its Surface blog last week, pointing out that it already sold out of accessories such as the Touch Cover 2.

While tales of supply constraints are possibly a good marketing strategy — and one that seems to preceed every new iPhone launch — Microsoft, wisely, could be taking a much more cautious approach to inventory levels for the next generation of Surface tablets. As we know, it took a $900m charge on Surface RT inventory as it dropped prices for the device to clear them out. 

This time, it may have been more circumspect and simply manufactured far fewer devices. Microsoft is now warning would-be buyers — anyone that would read its Surface blog, for example — that "we have limited availability" and so it's encouraging them to pre-order the device to ensure they can get them when they arrive in stores on 22 October. Again, without hard numbers from Microsoft, it's hard to tell where marketing ends and real demand begins however.

Microsoft's US and UK stores are both still indicating the devices are available for pre-order, so presumably it hasn't reached the end of its supplies just yet.

On the other side, Microsoft is taking the same story to developers, flagging that the devices are almost sold out and that "all those buyers are gonna need apps" — Microsoft's other big challenge other than building attractive hardware. At the time of its Surface RT write down, the platform had only attracted about 100,000 apps.

ZDNet has asked Microsoft how many Surface tablets have been pre-ordered and will update the story if it receives one.  

Further reading

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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Talkback

73 comments
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  • Pointless

    Pointless article without a single redeeming quality. Light on everything, includes nothing informative or insightful, why even bother. No doubt just some empty words towards the quota.
    greywolf7
    • Real big sellers are probably those ATOM-based W8 tablets

      Haswell-based Surface is a tad expensive for the typical Windows users.
      LBiege
      • That's because

        the Atom-based one is a real fully capable PC (albeit a bit slower than one with a Core processor) for about the price of a tablet.
        Jacob VanWagoner
        • Have you used an atom laptop??

          I have an atom based Asus vivo tab with windows 8 which I bought instead of the surface pro 1 only because of the poor battery life.

          The vivotab although great with battery life(12hrs +), performance is hopeless where sometimes I feel like throwing it against the wall where even for simple tasks like MS word can lag due to the atom chip. I'd rather spend a couple of hundreds extra for all in one which is mobility, performance, quality, versatility(windows 8) and battery life(let's hope) ....having said that I need something to real work not as an entertainment system so joe blow may not need all of this but there is definitely a large business market which has been crying for a solution.
          Summing up I think ms have listened to the criticism on their first generation and got it right this time round, thus far I'm excited for the release of the surface pro 2.
          Coolasice84
          • Ya, dump the atom...

            If you plan to use it as a tablet with office - take a look at the RT. It's really good.
            If you get a pro 2, get the higher SSD - 256gb or 512gb. Trust me if you use it with any regularity 128gb is just too small (and 64gb is just silly).
            Cain69
    • Liam wanted to be a

      Presstitute, and this is his cheap attempt to be one. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=presstitute

      This article lacks a lot of information from all angles.
      Ram U
      • Of they are sold-out

        MS only made 3 - one each for LD, Ram U and owlnet.
        1,2,3
        • Re: one each for LD, Ram U and owlnet

          Hm... toddbottom3 is no longer interested in the Surface? The Samsung grass is greener ;)
          danbi
  • I hate I didnt listen regarding XBox One

    Started trying to pre-order an Xbox One two weeks ago only to discover they are all gone.

    Will have to wait until November 22 and see if I can get one of the few left for stores.

    Should have known better than to procrastinate with this One...
    thekman58
    • Some local stores might still have some available

      i.e. frys electronics if theirs one near you. I know the 2 of the 3 where I live all have a few pre-orders still left.
      Free Webapps
  • Sounds like a used car salesman ploy

    I remember shopping for a big ol SUV so my ex could be the baddest mommy on the block driving the kids to school. The salesman at the Lincoln place suggested we should grab a Navigator while we could because they were in short supply and there might not be any left if we didn't buy one today. We got the heck out of there as quick as we could.

    The guy at the Caddy place sneered at us and our beat up minivan and intimated that we might not be able to afford an Escalade. Reminds me of the sales people who used to work at Comp USA. I didn't buy from them either.

    Wound up buying a Denali XL. Not the most popular SUV out there but good specs, nice features, overall a pretty good vehicle, although it looooved gas

    Moral of the story, don't pay attention to the hype. If you like the specs, software and ecosystem that Surface offers, by all means buy one. But don't think there won't be enough of them, thats just a big pile of steaming b#$%^&#t
    pssmeyers
    • Lol

      But Daaaaadddy I want it now!! ;)
      Coolasice84
  • Specs.

    Now try finding a Pro with equal or at least somewhat comparable specs. 512 GB SSD is not the same as a 750 GB HDD. Also, that Core i7 (3520M) in the MacBook is 3rd gen, not 4th gen. Intel HD 4000 is ancient. Screen resolution of 1,280 × 800 is not found in any new devices except low end 8'' tablets'.

    Compare the MacBook Pro to the original Surface Pro if you must.
    Sacr
    • Specs...

      Compare the Surface Pro 2 to the Mac Book Air. The air is $1300 with out getting the 512GB drive and 8GB of ram. When you get close to the same specs as the Pro2 you are close to $1800. I have a Surface Pro and I love it. I get all the power I need to do photo editing on the run and some light video editing as well. No tablet can do what this does and no Mac product is in a good budget range. I would rather have more camera gear and a solid product like the Surface Pro over anything by apple any day.
      David Carnahan
      • Re: Compare the Surface Pro 2 to the Mac Book Air

        Really?

        MacBook Air 11": $1599 with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD, better graphics HD5000 *and* Thunderbolt.

        So yes, there is no comparison between the MacBook Air and the Surface Pro.
        danbi
    • ??

      If my previous post doesn't make much sense that's because it was a response to another post which seems to be gone now. That post claimed the Surface is more expensive than the Macbook Pro (non-Retina) and has worse specs. Which is obviously wrong.
      Sacr
  • It's a pretty safe bet that

    MS simply built a whole lot fewer units this time around. A billion dollar loss is going to make anyone cautious the second time around.
    baggins_z
    • Very True.

      If you only built a few thousand it is easy to run out even if they are selling like ice to Eskimos. MS will likely do any trick to increase this dogs sales.

      Kevin
      KBabcock75
      • That's what I was thinking.

        It also occurred to me that they are trying to push pre-orders in order to gauge how many they should produce this time around. Perhaps they're holding up the production run to see what response they get to this ploy. I'm guessing they won't be writing off nearly a billion dollars this time around because they just won't make very many to begin with.

        The people who are planning to buy a Surface 2 were already interested in the original Surface, but just waited for the latest version to be introduced. I still don't think Microsoft has convinced many customers to switch platforms from something more established. Despite the processor upgrades, I don't see the sales jumping by much at all. They just jumped into this market far too late to catch up.

        Microsoft is fighting a difficult uphill battle. The other platforms have been around long enough that millions of tablet owners already have a lot invested in the ecosystems of the platforms they already use. Pulling these people away from something they already know, that works perfectly for them, and that they've invested heavily in, is going to be extremely difficult.

        It doesn't help that the commercials Microsoft is running are misleading and educated tablet owners know it. My first iPad was the iPad 2. I've been using a USB port on my iPads since I first got one. Apple sells it. It's called the Camera Connection Kit. Few bought it because a USB port isn't necessary for most people. Even I use it very rarely, so I don't miss the fact that it's not built-in. I also bought an add-on Bluetooth keyboard the same day I bought my first iPad (although I never use it.) Even though they're showing their tablet with a keyboard as a selling point, they display the price without the keyboard. Their advertising tactics just make them look desperate to me, much like Apple was years ago. The Mac vs PC commercials didn't increase the market share for Macs at all. Why does Microsoft think their iPad vs Surface commercials will work any better? The thought of owning a Mac was repulsive to me until Apple stopped running those reality distortion ads. Apple grew up. Microsoft needs to do the same.

        Microsoft needs to simply show people exactly what they can do with a Surface. Highlight the best and coolest of the available applications. That's what finally convinced me to try an iPad and I can't imagine life without one, now. If I were in charge, I would have fired the advertising people the moment they suggested copying the ancient failed Mac vs PC ads. It's simple psychology. You don't win people over to your new product by attacking them for choices they've already made. That just makes them hate you. Microsoft is building a lot of ill will among the many millions who have been using iPads for years.
        BillDem
        • It's not just the advertising a keyboardless Surface with a keyboard...

          It's the fact they're comparing a Tablet already missing around half of its storage against a tablet that needs maybe 2GB at the most for its OS and built-in apps. There's a reason we don't see a 16GB Surface on the marketplace, but every other tablet is available in 16GB (and "cheap" tablets are available in 8 and 4GB versions).
          Champ_Kind