Microsoft still barely scratching "Surface" with tablet sales

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.


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

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  • Need to ask?

    Of course it is doomed, it was before it came out. Same goes for Windows 8, nobody with half a brain could not see that coming.

    In any case two questions really remain, first when is Microsoft going to acknowledge the mess they are in and what can they do to get out of it.

    Ah hold on, I know…up the license prices on any software businesses do use to scare them off.
    • True

      I tried the test version of Windows 8 and made my suggestions on their offered website. I read the other suggestions, primarily about the start button and being able to boot Metro or desktop separately, and it seemed it fell on deaf ears. Obviously nothing changed. That's when I went from "Windows fanboy", to "that's it, I'm done". People are realizing there is no "secret sauce" to Windows anyway, after using Android and iOS on their phones and tablets for so long now.
      D.J. 43
      • RT is simply expensive

        It is not as well-established as iPad and yet priced at the same level. That cannot be a winning formula. 400$ each should be a far better price.
        • I wonder if it is simply just the OS?

          People either love or hate Windows 8 - but it seems that the majority hate it.
          • Surface PRO is a big mistake

            - Surface with Windows 8 is a brick ( 910 grams )

            - Very Expensive $889 or 999

            - real bad battery life

            - A tablet with no GPS, no 3G, no NFC, ...all for the low price of $889 !!

            - windows uses more than 30 GB 64 GB

            -the tablet has cooler

            desktop applications do not work perfectly on touch screen

            does not work like tablet

            Henrique Dourado
          • Yeah, touch on the Surface Pro desktop is IRRITATING

            Irritating is the word, because the desktop experience on the Surface Pro isn't BAD, but it's irritating.

            In general, you can touch and do things with your finger like you do things with a mouse. HOWEVER, if you try to work with a cursor in a text box using your finger, FORGET IT. You don't get a larger target tag underneath the cursor for you to move the cursor (like you do on Android or iPhone), so you are left trying to tab the screen trying to get the cursor in the right spot.

            I mean, really?! They couldn't add that little bit of usability improvement to the desktop?!
            Technical John
          • Then just plug in a keyboard and mouse


            Your complaining about a desktop interface not being suitable to a touch device? And how is this any different to any other touch device that would try to emulate a desktop environment?

            Hang on... they can't even emulate a desktop environment can they!

            So just plug in your keyboard and mouse and use it the way it was meant to be used. The point is you CAN do it, unlike other devices that don't even give you that option
          • Yes, Yes, Yes, Henrique Dourado

            you say that all the time.

            Who are you trying to convince? Us, or yourself?
            William Farrel
          • the numbers

            ...Don't add up, but it's still a very good tablet. The more journalists find negative things to say about it and about the entire Microsoft attempt in the hardware market, the more I enjoy my Rt for what it is and that is a very useful mobile computing device. I don't think any other tablet would allow me to do as much for the am out of money paid for it. Office, remote desktop, team viewer, movies, music, usb port,sd card, hdmi connector, connected keyboard.

            I understand that Ms does not receive much love these days and that's to bad because people are missing the point about this product.
          • The minimalistic approach is...

            the most logical and effective way to surf around an OS on the web, you can see a lot of websites leaving the icon to use flat rectangles and text as clickable content. 3D is slowing leaving the web. We leave the life-like content in the real life and use straight forward and simple designs that put the content first to leave the useless gradients that only kills the fluidity of your apps. BUT the human eye have a tendency to prefer asymmetry and we prefer the old, and ineffective way of doing things simply because we accustomed ourselves to it.
            Simon Tupper
          • ok, here is the reality all of you heaters

            the billion people who owns a computer will sooner or later upgrade to win 8, buy a new win8 or just upgrade to win8.. this will happen in a year or 2 or 3 or whatever, but the thing is, they will upgrade or buy new. you know why? because whether they accept it or not, they have no choice. what makes you think that they will choose linux, or OSx instead of win8. so keep on hating idiots.. windows operation system is IMPOSSIBLE to be doomed
            Odel Babor
          • You want to talk reality

            In a year or 2 or 3 or whatever is in the future BUT before that time comes people will try Linux or OSx and may, yes may get a taste for either of them. This could occur because of the ambitious attempts by other to bring them to the fore. This could quite well happen while Microsoft is floundering at this moment. While your prediction worked in the past, the future is still open and nobody, including yourself can set it this early, unless of course you have a time machine. If by any chance you do have one can I be your friend.
          • Here's the thing

            a lot of people have 6 years old PCs and all that matter for them when they choose a PC is that it's not that expensive. And also that he know that his desktop will last long. Because it will with Windows 8 since you can "refresh" your PC when it gets slower. (Even macs get slower, don't deny it haha)
            Simon Tupper
          • Not real enough

            Reality is that business will start to pick it up because they already have a massive investment in windows-based software and infrastructure. When that happens it will become the most used mobile device for business because it allows them to do everything they do at their desktop (and before you scream touch, you can plug in a keyboard/mouse) and more.

            Once business embeds it, people using it at work will start to say "hey this works great, I should get one for home", EXACTLY the same way that it went with the PC in the beginning, and before you know it, iPads will be in serious decline because they just don't have the same features and flexibility.

            You are forgetting that this is a tablet saturated environment where people have already invested in their choice of platform. Breaking into that market was never going to be easy and was never going to be immediate. It was always going to be a hard slog to get a foothold.

            Whats more, one of the largest sector of the programming workforce (who do .Net programming) will continue to develop software at a greater rate than those who work with iOS (objective-C is far more irritating to use and takes longer to develop), and before you know it it is starting to shine.

            Here is a glimpse of the future for you. Games are coming out now (Galactic Reign, Skulls of the Shogun) which can be played on Surface, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Not different games... the SAME game. Thats right... sit at your desktop and start playing, then move to the lounge, pick up the surface and CONTINUE PLAYING THE SAME GAME, then hop on the bus with your phone and KEEP PLAYING THE SAME GAME.

            Do you see iPads doing that? Android devices? Nope...

            But not only do these Microsoft devices do it, but they are also now integrating with the largest selling console (yes, there are more Xbox 360's out there than PS3s) and the console is becoming one of the largest entertainment devices in the home.

            If you cannot see that things like the iPad which is poorly integrated and very closed off from other devices, or android which is far too fragmented (my TV runs jelly bean, my galaxy runs ice cream, and the fridge runs honeycomb to actually make a dent, then I wonder where you are basing your idea of reality on?
          • Do you see iPads doing that? Android devices?


            My 4 years old son keeps going form one mobile to the other (we do have 3 Android devices and 1 iPhone) with his "Playmobil Pirate" game.

            This is driving his mom crazy...

            "or android which is far too fragmented"
            The 3 Android devices are running different Android version...

            And like if it wasn't enough, all Android devices are FULLY compatible with MS, Apple and Linux OS. Something that MS can't even get close to achieve (even Apple products are better on that bit compared to ANY MS products).

            Bottom line, I don't really get what you are trying to say.
          • Wrong. Win8 desktop is DOA.

            Sorry, but you are wrong. Most of those billion folks sticking with Win because they have no choice will _not_ go to Win8 on the desktop. It simply will _never_ happen.

            Win7 is the next XP. Folks will stick to Win7 and simply skip Win8. And perhaps skip Win9 too.
          • How can you know that?

            I can know for sur that if Blue brings enough new features, Windows 8 could have 6% to 10% of the market because it's a low number for Microsoft, but hey it'S freaking high for any other OS. So even if Microsoft fails, it wins enough to beat the competition.
            Simon Tupper
          • if Blue...

            You do realize, that your repeating the decades old mantra of Microsoft "wait for the bright future (wait, until we figure out which is what and what might stick)"?

            People no longer have good will for Microsoft to abuse. Not most people, that is.
            While Microsoft continues to make big promises and deliver nothing, others do not sit still and usually deliver more thanks promised.

            This all is sad, because Microsoft does indeed have some good products and designs, but - Windows is not one of these - and their greed and ignoring what users *need* will fail them.
          • If what you were saying was true...

            The trend in the world today would be droves of people selling their PCs and buying macs...

            Guess what? They aren't.
          • @danbi

            I cannot agree with you at all regarding Microsoft not delivering with Windows. It delivered big time...but made the fatal mistake of not telling people how to use it. That is the only mistake they made, in my eyes.

            Have a look at this video and tell me in "honesty" if you believe it is a failure:

            If you still think it is after watching (assuming you do) then say something constructive and state where you feel it is no good or doesn't deliver. Most people make vague statements and can't back them because they are clueless how to use Windows 8. Most people say there are too many clicks to get somewhere, but that video proves them wrong.