Microsoft Surface Tablet Sales Total Only 1.5 Million Units - Report

Sales of Microsoft Surface Media and Business Tablets Considerably Below Expectations

by Anton Shilov
03/14/2013 | 11:50 PM

Microsoft Corp. has only sold about 1.5 million Surface devices, including those based on Windows 8 Pro operating system as well as Windows RT OS, according to a media report. The slow start of Microsoft’s own-brand tablets emphasizes slow start of the new Windows on slates in general because of limited amount of apps as well as rather high prices.


The world’s largest software company only sold about 1.1 million Surface RT media tablets as well as 400 thousand Surface Pro business-oriented slates, according to a report from Bloomberg news-agency, which cites people with knowledge of Microsoft's sales. Microsoft started to sell its Surface RT tablet in late October, 2012, whereas the Surface Pro only hit the market in February, 2012. Despite of higher price, it looks like the latter is in much higher demand than the former.

Still, there are fundamental reasons in the weakness of tablets based on Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms: the number of apps is lower compared to the number of apps for Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems, the prices for Microsoft Surface family of tablets are rather high and the metro user interface is still too unfamiliar for the majority of end-users.

“Some of the reason is Windows 8’s awkwardness and compromise in trying to bridge the two platforms and some is that it will take time to deliver more compelling form factors and lower prices and a richer ecosystem of developers and apps for the Microsoft store. There is room for skepticism after the sluggish start so far with Windows 8, but there is also reason for optimism about the second half of calendar 2013 when several improvements converge,”  Rick Sherlund, an analyst with Nomura Equity Research.

While Microsoft may be unhappy with the progress made by Surface in general and Surface RT in particular, there are companies that feel even bitter. Last week Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies as well as a leading maker of personal computers, said it would stop selling its Ativ Tab media tablet powered by Microsoft Windows RT operating system because of weak sales forecasts and low demand. Moreover, the majority of hardware makers even have not released anything based on Windows RT in general.

In fact, aside from Microsoft’s Surface RT, there are only three media tablets from major brands running Windows RT available on the market: Asus VivoTab RT, Dell XPS 10 and Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11.