Price and 'lukewarm critical reviews' put a damper on Microsoft Surface

Microsoft's decision to create an information vacuum with regards to Surface tablet sales is leaving a void that analysts are more than willing to fill with bad news.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is being tight-lipped about sales of its Surface tablets, and this is leaving an information vacuum that analysts are more than willing to fill with negative speculation.

The latest prediction that things are not all well with Surface comes from J.P. Morgan analyst John DiFucci, who predicts unit sales for the tablet of around 700,000 for December, and 2.6 million for the entire fiscal year.

Supply chain chatter suggested that Microsoft had initially ordered one million Surface units, so that 700,000 figure is certainly in the right ballpark.

As to what's wrong with Surface, DiFucci has no shortage of ideas.

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"We believe a number of factors, including price, the lack of cellular connectivity, and relatively lukewarm critical reviews will limit its broad appeal at this time," DiFucci wrote in a note to clients.

"In addition, at least some Surface sales will be cannibalistic to traditional laptop sales," he added.

So not only is the presence of the Surface tablet in the ecosystem harmful to other tablet makers, it is also having a negative effect on PC OEMs. 

The PC industry is not alone here, with analysts predicting that Apple is seeing the same thing happen with the iPad mini cannibalizing iPad sales. Biggest difference here is that either way consumers are buying a high-margin Apple product, rather than a competitor's product.

DiFucci also spreads gloom over the remainder of the PC industry, quoting Gartner figures that suggest PC unit shipments for December are down some 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Compare these estimated Surface sales to the 14 million iPads that Apple sold last quarter and you begin to see that Microsoft has a long way to go before the Surface is a serious contender in the tablet market.

Image source: Microsoft.

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