There are new rumors circulating today that Microsoft has seen disappointing sales of their flagship tablet, the Microsoft Surface. Bloomberg is reporting that unnamed sources (ones you can only trust as far as you can throw) say that:
Microsoft has sold about 1.5 million Surface devices, people with knowledge of the company’s sales said, a slow start in its bid to crack the fast-growing tablet market to make up for slumping personal-computer demand.
One of the sources went on to add that MS shipped only 400,000 Surface Pro tablets. Bloomberg is citing 3 sources on this, and you can take it for what you will.
It’s been nearly 5 months since the Surface RT tablet shipped, and only a month since the Surface Pro went on the market. A million and a half tablets isn’t a whole lot of sales, is it?
It’s far less than the estimated number of sales that one analyst, Brent Thill, of UBS AG, pulled out of thin air. He had initially projected that Microsoft would sell 2 million Surface RT tablets in the first 3 months.
Well, it could be worse. Barnes & Noble almost certainly hasn’t sold that many Nook HD tablets in that time frame – their own report of poor holiday revenue and poor quarterly sales precludes that possibility. We don’t have any solid info from B&N, but Barnes & Noble sold around a million tablets in the last quarter of 2012. Given the inevitable drop in sales following the holiday season it is very likely that B&N hasn’t hit a million and a half Nook devices sold in the past 5 months.
Even so, this is still bad news for MS (assuming the rumors are correct). They’re being compared to the device maker that is widely considered a failure. That’s not good company.
But if I were MS I would not worry. This rumor places sales of Surface Pro tablets at 400k. Factor in the time frame and you will see that this tablet has only been out for a month and it has already sold 400 thousand units. That’s not a bad start for a device that costs $900 and up.
It looks to me like the Surface Pro is being bought by people who plan to use it for their main computer – something you can’t do with the iPad or Surface RT. This tablet runs a full Windows 8, making it a real replacement for an existing desktop (just add keyboard and mouse). Even the Surface RT can’t replace a desktop just yet; it’s still lacking in the software dept.