MS Surface Tablet Now Outselling the B&N Nook HD

surface-pro-100024472-large[1]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 according to IDC 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.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. cookie15 March, 2013

    Very strange that we have no 7″ surface tablets.

    1. cookie15 March, 2013

      Surface RT that is………

    2. steve15 March, 2013

      More Surface tablets are almost certainly in the works and will be coming out this year. Not that I know what they are but there are rumors.

      A seven inch Surface would make a lot of sense. A seven inch Xbox portable would make even more.

  2. Thomas15 March, 2013

    There’s really no compelling reason to buy a Surface tablet. The RT model has a small selection of apps available, almost all of them ports of Android and iOS apps. The Pro model can run legacy Windows programs, but most of them aren’t good for touchscreen use, so you need a keyboard and/or mouse. At that point, you’ve reinvented the netbook, and made it three times as expensive.

    1. fjtorres15 March, 2013

      The pro model is every bit as powerful as any ultrabook as it runs off a Core processor not a netbook grade Atom. So the touchscreen premium is more like 10% not 300%.

      1. Thomas15 March, 2013

        Which is why the battery runs down in 4 hours. Why do you need that kind of horsepower for a portable? I’d rather have an Atom processor that I can use all day, than an i5 that conks out before lunch.

        1. Nate Hoffelder15 March, 2013

          It’s not designed for portability. The Surface Pro is IMO intended to go in the same class as the workhorse laptop or desktop. That’s why it has a battery life and price tag that is comparable to a laptop.

          1. Thomas15 March, 2013

            It has a 10 inch screen and the keyboard is an optional add-on. It’s a portable.

    2. flyingtoastr15 March, 2013

      Chromebook = netbook
      Surface Pro = ultrabook

  3. Ben17 March, 2013

    The market is pretty saturated with tablets now. I think the growth in this segment will slow down and unless you are already established brands like Apple, you can’t expect good numbers. The only way for MS to chip away that market share from Apple is to keep throwing money at it and hope they appeal to the right consumers. Let’s not ignore the poor sales performance of Windows 8, surely this didn’t help.

    MS has to be careful because this is looking very much like the failed Zune. By all account, they die-hard owners all claimed Zune to be superior hardware but they simply can’t appeal to the mass consumers who wants simple usage devices.

    We already know B&N don’t have the deep pockets to keep doing this long term. Yet they are committed to the hardware (so they claimed)…if I’m B&N exec, I would find a hardware partner instead of squeezing publishers for investment money only to pissed it away in something they dont understanding. Google was smart teaming up with Asus and Samsung…they may call it Google Nexus but it’s Asus or Samsung logo on the back of each tablet for branding awareness…it’s a win-win.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top