Microsoft's Surface tablet line falls short - Report

Company reportedly moves around 1.5 million devices since launch; new marketing plan hopes to spur sales.

Microsoft's highly touted Surface tablet line has sold around 1.5 million units since launch, coming up short of expectations, sources told Bloomberg.

Three people with knowledge of the matter said Microsoft has sold just over 1 million Surface RT units and around 400,000 Surface Pros since their debuts in October and February, respectively. Three million units were ordered in all, the sources said.

The 32GB Surface RT starts at $500, while the 64GB Surface Pro begins at $900.

By comparison, Apple sold 22.9 million iPads in the three-month period ended December 29.

In an effort to boost Surface sales, Microsoft will take steps to market the tablet line in new ways, the sources said. One source added that Microsoft has internally admitted a failure to persuade some customers to choose Surface over offerings from Apple and Samsung.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

110 comments
andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

"Three people with knowledge of the matter said Microsoft has sold just over 1 million Surface RT units and around 400,000 Surface Pros since their debuts in October and February, respectively."

Sorry but these figures are way off.  400k units?  There were reports back in May saying the Surface RT was at 1.5mil units alone, and that the Pro was approaching 800k.  I remember the figures stated in this article were quoted back in April!  Tbh that's pretty bad GS :/  http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/120779-microsoft-surface-sales-reached-900-000-in-q1-joining-top-5-tablets


That number, 900k total, was just the first 3 months of the year.  3 months preceded that, and figures from december stated 700k RTs.  It has been now 3 months since the figures in may, it's safe to assume another 400-500k units between both models will have shifted, especially since the RT price drop.

Which, at a rough country mile guess, means around ~2-2.2mil Surfaces have shifted on both models, so far.  That sounds correct to me, considering the Pros have sold quite well and are in fact, for a product of that price point, doing very well for the company.


Also people forget that despite dropping $150 to $350 for an RT tablet, MS still makes a good turnover.  Each tablet costs $280 to build, so that's $70 profit for each unit being sold direct without ANY acccessories or Touch/Type covers.  Also, MS didn't -lose- $900m on the Surface RTs, that's a complete fallacy, they had to -write down- the value of their RT stocks due to dropping the retail price.  That is not the same as a loss, it's a revaluation.


People are way too pessimistic about this business and platform.  Gen 2 Surface tablets should hopefully correct that :)

Setzera
Setzera

Lets see here.  $900 Gaming PC with 1TB of storage that can play anything that exists today. vs. $900 Tablet with 64GB of memory and apparently you can throw it like a ninja star to attach it to a detachable keyboard.

I think I know which way I went.

digitaltiger
digitaltiger

Maybe it's because you charge to much for your product Apple, oh sorry I mean Microsoft.

Aengelus
Aengelus

Maybe those god awful commercials for this thing are the problem. Who at Microsoft decided to feature their tablet in a dancing dubstep video? What does that tell me about the product? Nothing, in fact it makes me want to ignore the damn thing.

m4a5
m4a5

That's because the Surface Pro is in-between a tablet and an ultrabook (tablet form, ultrabook/real OS). People don't see that, so they think it should be a cheaper tablet -_-

Incubus420
Incubus420

Competative product but un competative priceing. Sorry guys. At $500 to enter the tablet game I would go with Samsung or Apple as they have been in the game for several years now. Also, my macbook, iphone and apple TV might also work better with an ipad. Sorry gents. 

boarwar
boarwar

"coming up short of expectations"

I got five words for you M$......only five words.

Windows 8 is a joke.

seriously.....wtf were they thinking? "apps are hot, lets make our OS like an app. durrrrrr it will sell like hotcakes

TheZeroPercent
TheZeroPercent

-- lol who saw that coming?

--M$ does 1 thing well

--and then they spend all their money, time & resources

--failing at everything else 

barleybosh
barleybosh

I'm also scared of walking around with a $1000 device on me. Price cut price cut price cut!

barleybosh
barleybosh

I wanted one so bad, but when I went to the mall to the Microsoft store, they told me they ran out. How the EFF do they have 3 million units floating around, minus 400,000 only- and not have any in stock at the dang Microsoft store?

Don't get me wrong, I think the Microsoft Surface Pro is really an awesome thing. It's just a matter of time before I try again.

Orgil220
Orgil220

Sorry for the noob question, but can surface pro handle dota 2 through steam??

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

They should call it the MS "You've Never Heard Of It," and try and appeal to the dumb hipsters who buy new Apple products because they add a feature something else already does.

JPL1982
JPL1982

Apple = iTunes, no MP3 sharing with friends
Microsoft = Torrents, MP3 sharing with friends, etc

surrealme
surrealme

It'll be 400,001 in a few weeks when I get my 128GB Surface Pro.

Zloth2
Zloth2

So it has already out-sold the Wii U? {grinning, ducking, running}

XAF1
XAF1

Most of it has come down to pricing for the Surface Tablets being too high and initially limiting it's distribution when the Surface RT came out . There were a great number of consumers that were interested in the Surface originally, myself  included.  The fact is the Surface isn't the iPad ---I like that. MS shouldn't look at the Surface as competing with the iPad on a price level initially but Android tablets.  Windows 8 tablets just don't have the apps or performance of the Android tablets or iPad yet. I own an Android tablet as well as I've owned various Apple products and I can say that there hasn't been anything to show on the Surface that says it can compete app wise to most consumers. The concept that it can do PC tasks is nice but most people don't expect that level of performance out of tablets unless one over-hypes it as MS has done. The truth is the technology isn't there just yet power consumption wise to do major task for hours on tablets and keep them slim, but light PC tasks, like web surfing, word processing, and light gaming, etc. are possible.  I haven't even seen any games on a Surface tablet that rivals the best looking ones I have on my Android tablet/phone or had on my earlier iPhone. I've tried the Surface and love it but it leaves a great deal of questions MS needs to answer to get consumers more hyped about it.  It can't let other tablet manufacturer's determine it's pricing if it wants to play with the big boys tech wise. I have a feeling if it does Windows 8 tablets will be duds just like most Windows 7 tablets were with the every day consumer.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

I hope they cut the price (by quite a bit).

obsequies
obsequies

the real market for touch pc's are in wireless touch monitors for half the price and three times the power plus probably 4 times the battery life..what a bunch of retards

obsequies
obsequies

the ONLY thing that microsoft has done better when trying to mimic something that apples done are consoles..and even then it broke half the time. lol even windows is only popular because its cheap..not because its better

obsequies
obsequies

yeah...maybe its because the RT is a worthless ARM based POS with no apps and the PRO is an overpriced touchscreen laptop that can't sit on your lap properly with that stupid kickstand..."but the pc's internals are in the monitor!!!! and the keyboard is detachable!!!" that and it runs windows 8

edant79
edant79

Yeah, for the same reason  nobodies going to go into a 5 star restaurant and order McDonald's.


MS has been making some real big mistakes as of late, as if they don't know where their at in the market.

gtsnake6
gtsnake6

I'm glad Microsoft at least sees that their marketing of this has sucked hardcore.

The Surface Pro is really incredible but the fact that I can do all my work on it, browse/watch movies/take pics/social media, download apps, and play games like WoW and StarCraft 2 simply cannot come across with another "dance-a-thon" like commercial....

I understand advertising Surface RT like that but Surface Pro is a whole other ballgame and sticking to the same kind of ad campaign really limits your message to the consumer.

It's one of the few times where I think Microsoft actually has something great but they just don't know how to tell people that...

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

As a home user PC tech... I hope this fails, it looks like a major pain to work on... Oh wait, you probably can't even work on it b/c it's all soldered on and clamped up like a tank.  So, if one bit, a single transistor of memory goes bad, your entire device just went bad.  I really hope ppl wake up and realize what a rip off tablets are compared to desktops or modular laptops that have parts that can be replaced....

Jyakotu
Jyakotu

IMHO, Windows RT shouldn't even have been an idea to begin with. Windows 8 was designed to work on desktops, laptops, and tablets to create a cohesive ecosystem in conjunction with Windows Phone 8. The Surface Pro tablets are the only tablets I would even consider purchasing, but they come with the full blown OS, where you have the choice to use the "immersive UI" as they call it now or the Windows 7 like Desktop environment. They seem more productive and feel less like giant phones and/or toys. That's how I see the iPad and Android tablets, really.

cousinmerl
cousinmerl

Sigh... so microsoft has gone out of its way to hammer windows 8 into a touch screen system to work with its windows surface, even though it runs RT, they then by doing this annoy a chunk of the desktop users and don't even sell enough systems....Slow clap (and its a mocking clap! not to be confused with a 80's build up clap.)

SavageEvil
SavageEvil

MS problem is that for one of the largest tech companies and oldest around, these guys have yet to build an OS that isn't more bloated than it's predecessor, each OS seemingly gets larger than the last. Holy smokes why is it you have only a 1/3rd of your HDD left on a windows 8 surface pro...seriously? MS needs to rebuild their portable OS to something that is lightweight and comes with useful core applications and add-on apps for everything else. Lose the weird Glee inspired commercials as well, this is not a commercial for a toy for 10 year olds.

RobertWampler
RobertWampler

they should show off that it an in fact play most pc games.  I love my pro and been playing a lot of sim city on it,

moncealyo
moncealyo

Hey ms stop trying to be like apple.  Didn't you learn from your zune experience.

brxricano
brxricano

Yea step up the marketing....more commercials with college idiots dance clicking magnets together. Dumbasses.

m4a5
m4a5

This is more geared to go against ultrabooks, that's why it's not doing so well against tablets....

namdar
namdar

Love my nexus 4 and 7 :D working on 10 :D

BuzzLiteBeer
BuzzLiteBeer

Are we really surprised? A grand for a tablet PC that doesn't excel in any department other than portability will not do well in sales. Grnnted it is a full version of Win8 as opposed to iOS on an iPad, the fact that the pricing is even more obnoxious than Apple's is enough to raise flags. Get yourself a Galaxy Tab or an iPad for a third of the price.

NeverMore0
NeverMore0

Hopefully this new marketing plan doesn't involve showing a bunch of people jumping around like assholes. God I hate those commercials.

TheGuardianX
TheGuardianX

@m4a5 Just when I thought all was lost. At least Im not the only person who sees this as well.

andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

@barleybosh They have a lot of stocks of the RT tablet version.  The Pro has sold incredibly well however, and is more restricted in stock.  Hence the slower rollout to the rest of the world and sell-outs of the 128GB edition hours after going up on sale.  After the RT MS were careful not to overproduce units of Pros.  Turned out Pros were what most people wanted in the first place!  Understandable, as the full Windows 8 software library knocks the socks off any other tablet you can shake a stick at, with decades of application back support and the de-facto largest games library around.

Danny_KickAzz
Danny_KickAzz

@obsequies eh actually windows is better...in fact far FAR better then anythhing OSX.... nuff said.  

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@gtsnake6 Great in that if you have that much money to spend but don't want a FAR BETTER Laptop!!

I don't think its the marketing, but that people ask themselves what its for and then have better things to do with the money. Sure if your a gadget person who just buys what ever gadget is out there, but for the rest of the people its just NOT Worth It.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@Jyakotu Ipads and Android are less expensive and are internet devices, Movie players, casual game consoles... They get the JOB DONE.

where a Tablet that does it all for the price I would rather get a well equipped Laptop.  

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@percuvius2 ... I have not had any problem with my android and have not see ANY problems on ipads.  It may be faster on RT but not that much faster!

just google what your saying. On CHEAP (non real) Android devices YES, but on any Samsung, or Google device .... NO. 

AlexFili
AlexFili

@cousinmerl (joins in with the mocking clap) Windows 8 isn't a roaring success apparently

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

@BuzzLiteBeer and it doesn't really excel in portability, Surface Pro is much thicker and heavier than an iPad or most android tablets

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

@NeverMore0 I'm sure, when no one else is around, you dance on the dining room table with your tablet extended above your head.  It's the secret of tablet owners that no one will talk about.

Fursnake
Fursnake

@NeverMore0 

I know,  how can they even use the thing while they are jumping around like kids in a bouncy castle?

obsequies
obsequies

@Danny_KickAzz @obsequies oh yeah, care to explain how that is? or are you joking? keep in mind that osx can be manipulated and modded to have any functions that windows has..same with windows, it can be modded to look and function similar to OS. The only difference is windows is STILL bloated and unstable, nevermind the fact that it runs on fragmented hardware and is bound to having to justify inferior api monopolies with directX. The ONLY thing that windows has going for it would be the amount of games and software which is only a result of it being cheaper..not the quality of the OS itself.