Only 1.5M Surface Devices Sold Since October 2012

There certainly seems to be no question that Windows 8 isn't performing as Microsoft expected. Even its own branded Surface tablets are experiencing a slow adoption rate – so slow that Microsoft isn't releasing actual numbers. OEMs, retailers and market watchers generally see what's going on, hoping that some magical marketing formula will finally ignite some interest in the consumer market.

That spark in Windows 8 may rely on many factors. For one, cheaper prices enabled by possible lower licensing fees from Microsoft. A larger portfolio of touch-based solutions that won't break the consumer bank is another. Even more, consumers understanding that the desktop still exists may also boost adoption.

Sources claim that Microsoft has only sold around 1.5 million Surface units total since the Windows RT version launched in late October. They break down the numbers even further, explaining to Bloomberg that Microsoft has only sold just over 1 million Surface RT units – those based on the ARM architecture and Windows RT – since its debut. Microsoft originally ordered 3 million Surface RT units, and even expected to sell 2 million units in the December quarter alone.

But Microsoft's move to only offer the device through its Microsoft stores, which numbers just over 60, likely hampered sales in 4Q12 -- the company didn't open up sales to additional retail outlets until December. Market confusion could also play a part in poor sales, as consumers may simply not see a need to purchase a Windows-based tablet if it doesn't run their software. As for Surface Pro, the x86-based Windows 8 Pro tablet went on sale in early February, and has since only sold 400,000 units – a starting price of $900 for a tablet isn't exactly consumer friendly.

There's speculation that a lack of applications in the Windows Store is hurting Surface sales as well, especially the Windows RT model. The Redmond company claims that more than 47,000 are currently available, yet there are more than 300,000 apps for iPad. Microsoft's storefront also lacks a number of heavy-hitting apps including Facebook although just this week Twitter launched its own standalone app for the new platform.

Overall this is not good news for Microsoft given it's the company's first direct attempt to tackle Apple and Google on the tablet front. "It’s pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they’re getting worse," said Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC in San Francisco. "The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now."

CNET claims that the number of Surface Pro units sold thus far is not a bad start. But in the quarter that ended in December, Apple sold 22.9 million iPads, and worldwide shipments reached 128.3 million units in 2012 alone. Facing a declining PC market which converts into lost revenue, Microsoft needs better Surface unit sales, plain and simple.

"The tide continues to go out on PC sales as consumers and emerging market users prefer tablets and smartphones to Windows based PCs," said Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Rick Sherlund. "Windows 8 has failed to ebb the receding tide."

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

  • greghome
    Maybe......maybe......they should allow all retail stores to sell the Surfacem Tabs cause so far the main problem is people who wants it, can't get it because Microsoft stores aren't available outside of AMERICA............
  • de5_Roy
    surface is winning!
  • icepick314
    you don't market Surface Pro as a tablet...

    you market Surface Pro as a ultrabook that can turn into a tablet form...

    I want to get Surface Pro but I'll wait till at least 2nd gen with hopefully better and faster processor and RAM...
  • masterasia
    It's too damn expensive. The stupid keyboard thing is an additional $100. That's BS. It needs to be in the $500 with the keyboard. Hopefully it will last longer than the Zune.
  • Azn Cracker
    Their pricing is probably the biggest problem here... $400 for RT version and $800 for Pro version maybe?
  • therogerwilco
    I'm digging mine, I'll agree a little cheaper would be good. But the thing people don't realize is the PC market is slowing down because there's really nothing new out there that screams WOW!!!!

    And don't talk about Apple products, the only people who buy those are not tech-smart. I mean cmon, the iphone has 1 button. Though they sold 128 million units of ipad's, look at their stocks! They make about 75% profit from every sale, yet the company is having money problems? Mhmm.

    I'm just tired of all the Apple talk, I mean seriously, I hope Microsoft only releases one every other year if that, following suit to Apple is just moronic. I would love to see some legislation about 'companies can only release a new 'upgrade' to a product line once every 2 years. Then THAT would be a worthwhile purchase instead of burning through the cash like cell companies are doing and the sheeple who buy Apple crap.
  • mitchellvii
    I can solve MS whole problem right here. Put back the Start Button and give Desktop users a way to completely turn off Metro - problem solved. Now you can send my $1 million Consulting Fee to my PO Box.
  • Ragnar-Kon
    therogerwilcoAnd don't talk about Apple products, the only people who buy those are not tech-smart. I mean cmon, the iphone has 1 button.You clearly have not spent much time in the Apple world. I am a huge tech person, and I own three Apple products. Many of employees here at Tom's own Apple products. The broadcast television industry runs primarily off of Apple, and that entire industry is tech based. So your theory that Apple people are non-tech people is completely wrong. I'm sure there are many non-tech people using Apple products as well, but I'd be willing to bet there are many more non-tech people using Microsoft products.

    Yes, there are "sheeple" out there that buy each and every upgrade Apple releases, but who are we to call them idiots? They can do whatever they want with their money.

    Anyway, I like the Surface Pro a LOT, but I can't justify spending that kind of money on it unless it gives me something I don't already have. This in combination with my general distaste for Windows 8 has pretty much stopped me from buying it. And why would Microsoft prevent the sale of the Surface in any store but their own?? Just seems dumb considering that there aren't many Microsoft stores around the country (or the world). The nearest Microsoft store is 2 hours away from my house... if I drove there I would pass four Apple stores on the way.

    Props to the Microsoft engineers that worked on the Surface though, because it is a good product--just a shame management is doing everything possible to ensure it doesn't succeed.
  • jcurry23
    who wants an RT where you can't install anything other then MS apps, which there isn't much of a selection.
  • thermopyle
    therogerwilcoI would love to see some legislation about 'companies can only release a new 'upgrade' to a product line once every 2 years. Then THAT would be a worthwhile purchase instead of burning through the cash like cell companies are doing and the sheeple who buy Apple crap....I imagine Ford, GM, Intel, AMD, nVidia, ATI, etc., would have issues with this.