When will Microsoft get more Surface 2s and Surface Pro 2s in stock?
It's a question I'm getting increasingly regularly on Twitter and via email -- along with questions about when Microsoft will replenish supplies of its Surface docks and finally start offering its promised Surface power keyboards.
The short answer to these stocking questions is I have no real idea. The longer answer, when asking about the timetable for more Surface stock, via a Microsoft spokesperson:
"The public response to Surface has been exciting to see. It is our primary goal to get Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and new Surface accessories into the hands of all people who want the most productive tablets on the planet. We’re actively working with our manufacturing teams and retail partners to get Surface in customers’ hands as soon as possible."
On January 20, however, it seemed as though Microsoft managed to replenish stock of its second-generation, ARM-based Surface 2 devices. Both the 32 GB and 64 GB Surface 2s are now showing up as being "in stock" on the MicrosoftStore.com site, as reported today by Neowin.net. Other retailers carrying the devices, including Staples, Best Buy and Microsoft's own stores have had very limited quantities of the Surface 2s available from time-to-time, as Neowin noted recently.
I'm still seeing most of the Surface Pro 2 devices (other than the 512 GB version) still showing as "out of stock" on the MicrosoftStore.com site. There's seemingly no way to sign up to be notified when any of the Microsoft Surfaces are back in stock or to order them from Microsoft online once they are out of stock.
The Surface docking station also is listed as being out of stock on the MicrosoftStore.com site. (The docking station was briefly in stock in limited quantities before Christmas.) I can't find a listing on the MicrosoftStore.com site for the Surface power cover, but there is one on the Microsoft.com site that notes the $199.99 cover with battery is still due in "early 2014." Microsoft officials aren't sharing information beyond the statement I noted at the start of this post as to when either of these peripherals will be available.
Many believe that Microsoft is being overly cautious about making too many Surfaces after writing down nearly $1 billion worth of Surface RTs last year. Many also believe the company has been overcautious in making Surfaces available via its reseller channel, though recent reports (including this one in CRN from December) and recent job postings make it seem that Microsoft is still planning to make Surfaces available through resellers in the coming months.
This week should be an interesting one for those attempting to discern whether Microsoft made too few of its second-generation Surfaces, or if demand for them was off-the-charts (or some combination of both). While some consider product sell outs to be proof of strong demand, sell outs resulting in users losing the patience to wait, especially around the holidays, is not a plus.
Microsoft officials shared some information about its Surface sales during its last earnings call, noting that the company sold $400 million worth of Surfaces, and double the number of Surface devices it had sold the previous quarter. It will be interesting to see what the Softies say, if anything, during the company's Q2 FY 2014 earnings call on January 23, about Surface supply and demand.