Surface RT orders cut in half by Microsoft, Surface Pro may arrive in December

Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT tablets aren’t selling very well. That’s what has transpired from the company’s “upstream supply chain” in Asia. Apparently, Microsoft has halved its orders for the makers of the tablets. Initially, Microsoft thought it would ship 4 million Surface tablets by the end of this year. That estimate now stands at 2 million.

Which isn’t a bad number, mind you, but it’s nowhere near the success that Microsoft wanted the Surface devices to be. After all, Apple has sold 3 million of its new tablets in one weekend.

Infamous, anonymous “sources from the upstream supply chain” now believe that Windows RT itself may be the problem, with the new operating system not performing “as expected” in the market. This is argued because apparently demand for other RT-based tablets, made by companies such as Asus, Samsung, and Dell, is also rather weak.

Furthermore, because the Surface RT isn’t going to pick up in terms of sales in the foreseeable future, Microsoft may decide to launch the Surface with Windows 8 Pro devices early – meaning by the end of this year. Those were supposed to come next year, but that may change.

Interestingly, we get a glimpse at Microsoft’s thought process here. Turns out Windows 8 Pro (that’s the ‘full’ Windows 8 version, by the way, on which you can run all sorts of ‘legacy’ apps, the same ones that run on your computers) Surface tablets aren’t on the market not because of some technical difficulties in production or something like that, but because Microsoft decided to give Windows RT a head start.

That’s a decision that may not have worked out well for the company. Many people who would like to purchase a Windows tablet may be instantly turned off by the fact that you can’t run actual Windows apps on Windows RT. So there goes one advantage of the Surface RT. The price isn’t lower than that of an iPad, so people won’t flock to these devices because of that. What’s more, the advantage that the cheapest Surface seemed to have in terms of storage (it’s being marketed as coming with 32 GB, as opposed to the identically priced iPad’s 16 GB) went away as well as soon as it was made clear that actually usable space is around 16 GB – so in line with its competition.

Why then would anyone buy a Surface RT? That’s a good question. The appeal of Microsoft’s new touch-centric interface is there in Windows 8 Pro tablets as well, and those run ‘full’ apps too. So it’s clear which tablet the enterprise customers are waiting for. As for consumers, there’s probably not too big of an incentive to stop thinking about iPads when it comes to Surface RT or other Windows RT tablets. Had they been cheaper, then another story might have been told.

As things are though, it turns out that Microsoft’s new tablet experiment has been interesting, but not particularly successful. At least so far.

Via DigiTimes

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

Share This Post On
  • Jurgen Shestani

    The problem is you can only get a Surface at a Microsoft Store… Lame.

  • ILoveApples

    And how long did it take Apple to sell outside of their Apple stores?

  • beebs

    Or at their online store

  • Nige Bruce

    Will be very interesting when the full blown windows 8 tablets are released. RT doesn’t offer anything you can’t get from and Android or iOS device. The full blown windows experience is what would persuade me to part with my cash.

  • jim

    You obviously haven’t checked the Surface RT out, it does many things that Android and iOS don’t do.

  • Danny Arias

    Also seems that everyone is kind of waiting on Pro to come out. It’s just got more options. MS should have released the pro first and then the RT second. By then, they would have had more apps in place making RT a bit more attractive.

  • Curtis Quick

    Between a rock and a hard place. Microsoft could have priced Surface RT lower and sold even more. The only problem is that the computer manufacturers (the ONLY ones who have sold Windows in the past) would have been ticked off royal at being undercut by Microsoft and decide to not support Windows 8 (Chromebooks and Android tablets I guess). Without their support, even fantastic sales (tens of millions) of Surface would not save Windows 8.

    We are not talking one product here (Surface) but a whole platform (Windows). Microsoft is not going to cut off their nose to spite their face. They always said that Surface was their way to showcase Windows 8 (not take over the Windows PC or tablet market). That they have done this with a tablet that is awesome (I know, I have one and am enjoying my Surface RT greatly).
    We can believe this was Microsoft’s intent because Microsoft chose to make Surface available only through a relatively small number of Microsoft stores nationwide. If they wanted Surface to take on iPad in all seriousness they would have made it available at many, many more locations.
    It does not take a crystal ball to see why Surface evangelist Sinofsky was let go. He was sacrificed to placate the Windows PC makers. With him gone Surface will be quietly diminished while other Windows PCs and tablets are given center stage.

    There are nearly 700 million licensed copies of Windows 7 on the market right now. If even one quarter of them upgrade to Wndows 8, Microsoft is on easy street for years to come. Surface cannot sell that many and Microsoft knows this. If they tried, the PC makers would drop them like a hot potato.

    It is not a hard choice to make. Surface remains a showcase product with limited sales to ensure that the PC makers would build and sell Windows 8 PCs and tablets. It’s sad, but this is not the first time a child has been hobbled in order to save a family.

  • meddle0ne

    I agree. I just bought my wife an Asus Vivo RT (awesome by the way) because I don’t have any way to get a hands on with the Surface. There has been a misinformation campaign against windows 8 in general so I don’t feel like I can get an accurate assessment without using it hands-on. I got to play with the Vivo at Best Buy and could see how snappy it is and appreciate the design. It was an easy sell with the included keyboard dock and free MS Office.

  • meddle0ne

    It depends what you do on a computer. Not everyone needs non-RT applications. For a person that surfs the web, checks email and does school work in MS office Windows RT absolutely destroys Mac or Droid solutions. RT is a first rate product.

  • Droidkin

    Just in case you wondered where those 2 millions lost RT sales went…..Google increased their order of Nexus 7….by….you guessed it…2 million.

  • BLC

    One day Microsoft may wake up and realize it needs retailers. Most tech bloggers live in a fantasy world where everyone orders stuff online. Surface a failure? Disappointed with demand? …. Hmmmm …. I’ve never even seen or touched one. Do they exist?

  • Nige Bruce

    I appreciate where you are coming from with this, it may well be this tablet is excellent and I truly want this tablet to succeed, anything that gives Apple a kick in the pants is good for me. But at the end of the day it’s still just another tablet operating system with the limitations that imposes To make me want to upgrade from my current android tablet I want to be able to use the full windows 8 experience. Once I can do this it’s a case of bye bye laptop, hello Microsoft Surface for sure.